Fethiye Fountains..

Feeling a bit ‘homesick‘ lately, so was looking through some old photos and thought I’d share some from my last night in Fethiye back in September which we spent watching the fountains in Fethiye.
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They’ve been here for a year now, but because Berkay works nights we hadn’t had a chance to see them as he was always working.

The fountain show’s happen two times a day and are accompanied by music, very loud music! They are so pretty and I love them, even if they  a little cheesy. They’re in the new park built opposite McDonalds in Fethiye town and look fab, brightly coloured and very cheerful. (: What do you think?
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Why am I moving back to England?

Lot of people have commented and messaged me asking why I’m going back to England, so I thought I’d explain.

The main reason is money. We live off one pretty poor Turkish  wage. I cant find work here legally, I don’t have any qualifications or experience in teaching or in the travel/holiday rep area, I can’t speak Turkish and I bring nothing to the country that they don’t already have, businesses generally are not allowed to employ an English person to do a job a Turkish person could do. Living off Berkay’s wage is not so bad in the summer, but in the winter it’s nearly impossible. Each winter we get into debt and spend the summer paying it back, meaning we cant save for the following winter, its a vicious cycle. Coming back to the UK means we can both work and save for the future, albeit in different countries.

If we want to settle together in the UK one day, I need to be settled there with a good job earning £18.600 a year before we even apply for a visa for Berkay. Despite what everyone thinks, the UK makes it very difficult for non-European citizens to come to the UK, the new income requirement is a major set back, it has made things a lot more difficult for us. I’m not sure how many 21 year old’s earn 18.6k a year, but all people keep telling me is if I do not come back to the UK now, I will never earn enough as I will have been out of work for too long.

Berkay also hasn’t done his national service yet. All Turkish men are required by law to serve in the military at some point, Berkay is 22 and has not done it yet as he is studying at university. He hopes by completing his uni he will be able to find a better job later. If we can’t live together in the UK, I will be able to come back here with any money I have saved and live here so long as Berkay has a better job. I don’t know when he will go to the army, should he go now and get it out of the way, or should he wait, finish school and improve his chances of getting a better job later on?

Another question people ask is what is going to happen to our dog? Berkay is keeping her here in Turkey and will look after her, of course we wouldn’t just abandon her. I’m hoping one day to get her to the UK, if that is where we decide to and are able to settle, but it won’t be easy, none of my family want a dog so I will need to be living on my own first, then there is the fee to fly her to England and all the paperwork involved. I cannot see me ever earning enough for Berkay’s visa, saving enough for a place of my own and saving the £700+ to bring her to the UK. But that is all in the future, at least a year or two away, for now Berkay and Boncuk are staying together in Turkey and I’m returning to the UK alone, for how long I have no idea.

Perhaps I will be in England for 2 years saving money and then return to Turkey, perhaps I will find a job earning the required amount to get Berkay a visa and we shall live in the UK, perhaps we shall look into the European route and save to move to Ireland together. Friends and family ask our plans and pull nasty faces when we cannot answer, we do not have a crystal ball, hell I wish we did. There is no solid plan, I can’t say what is going to happen or what we hope to do, it is just impossible to plan ahead when visas are involved, the whole process is very long, very expensive and very uncertain. 

All I am sure of right now, is that in less than 24 hours I shall be landing back in the UK. Alone. All I can think is how am I going to walk out of my front door for the last time and not look back knowing I will never step foot inside again? How am I going to say goodbye to my dog not knowing when I’ll see her again? How am I going to walk through security and leave Berkay behind at the airport? How am I going to get on that plane and leave my home, my dog and my boyfriend behind, sit on that plane and watch as I soar 30,000 feet in the air, leaving the past 2.5 years of my life and everything I’ve known down on the ground? How am I going to sit in a room full of people back in the UK, friends and family who are excited to see me, and all the time feel guilty for wishing I was somewhere else? It’s not that I don’t miss them, or that i’m not grateful that I have their support, it’s just that really, England is not my home anymore, it hasn’t been for 2.5 years, that’s a long time for someone who is only 21.

That plane is taking me away from my home tomorrow, not back to it.

Holiday fling or the real thing? Can relationships with Turkish men really last?

During a relaxing, carefree holiday In Turkey, it’s all so easy to fall in love with a handsome stranger with a sexy accent, romantic walks on the beach, watching sunsets together and a lot of fun in the sun, but what happens when you return home, can the relationship continue or will he forget about you as soon as you board the plane?

We’ve all seen the typical ‘Take a Break’ magazine stories about Turkish men being love rats, cheating on British women, manipulating them for their money or using them for a visa, but are they all like that? The answer is no, they’re not, and some (and only someholiday romances can go the distance and turn into loving, long lasting relationships and marriages.

A lot of things really depend on what circumstances you met in. If you met him while he was working in a bar one night and the only communication you had was while either one or both of you were drunk, the chances are it’s not going to turn into a real meaningful relationship. Drunken conversation and sex does not make a good foundation. What is more important is spending real quality time together and getting to know each other properly before moving forward, although admittedly that is difficult whilst on a short holiday. The normal rules of dating are put on fast forward, it’s easy to get carried away and fall head over heels when everything is moving quickly, you know your time together is limited and that you’ll soon be returning home so everything is rushed. First date, second date, first kiss,sex…It all happens in a blur and it’s difficult to know what is going to happen next and what it all means.

I suppose it’s important to figure out if it is love, or lust. Is it really possible to fall in love with someone in a country thousands of miles away from home where there are so many obstacles to overcome? The language barrier  is an important one. Is it really possible to ‘love’ someone you can hardly communicate with? Communication is key. Getting to know each other from 4000 miles away is never easy, but nowadays with Skype, Facebook, FaceTime, email and text, there really is no excuse not to keep in touch, if that’s what you want.

An important thing to be sure of is that you are both wanting the same thing, are you both looking for a quick fling, or is one of you more serious than the other? While on holiday, a lot of us let our guards down, we are physically and emotionally relaxed and free from all the stresses of home, this makes it oh so easy to get carried away, but in reality, when you’re 4000 miles away back at home and have work to do and bills to pay, are you still going to be as interested in your Turkish ‘lover’? If you are serious about the relationship, be certain he is too. A lot of Turkish men working in resorts see a lot of women come and go, as soon as one flight leaves, another arrives. Some men see women, British in particular, as easy and fun loving.  They assume, rightly or wrongly, that these women want nothing more than 2 weeks of fun, and the reality is he probably won’t be interested in keeping in touch until you’re back next year.

Turkish men have a reputation as being love-rats, only interested in money and a visa. Sure, some of these men are really clever, scheming, con artists who cover their tracks well, however, in most circumstances there are some clear signs that your ‘relationship’ is doomed. Don’t ignore the signs and leave your brains at the airport. If you’re old enough to be his grandmother, or great-grandmother, he’s probably not genuine. If he runs to the toilet when his phone rings, he’s probably talking to one of his many other holiday flings, or a Turkish wife. If he tells you he loves you in broken English after having known you 5 mintues, he’s probably not genuine. Once you’re home, is he constantly making excuses and too busy to talk to you? Did you do a bit of Facebook stalking and find out he actually has 5 different profiles with photos of him and a different girl on each one? These are all huge red flags, don’t fall for his charm or excuses, it’s not worth the heartbreak in the end.

A lot of women  who have experienced the above sell their stories to magazines or newspapers or create online groups and blogs ‘warning’ everyone about the dangers of Turkish men. There seems to be an assumption that all Turkish men will try their luck and manipulate British women for money. If your fella gives you a list of duty free alcohol, trainers and the latest iPhone he wants you to bring out the next time you visit, realise he is not genuinely in love with you, he is more interested in your bank balance. If every time you speak to him he mentions how his mother, father or sister’s friend’s dog-sitter etc.. is ill and he needs money to pay the hospital bill,  end the conversation and delete him from your life. He’s lying.

Turkish men are not all scheming, money grabbing rats, far from it. Generally, Turkish men are very proud; they work to provide for their families and would never ask someone for money, especially a woman. Using my relationship as an example, I don’t have a penny to my name, Berkay works hard everyday to provide for us both. When family come to visit, the most he’s ever asked them for is a bottle of Nando’s sauce.

If people try to tell you that your guy isn’t genuine, that he’s cheating on you or using you for money, most of the time they are probably right. Don’t dismiss their concern as ‘jealousy’. Take their concerns on board and be wary. If the signs are there, pay attention and take notice, if not, stay on guard but don’t turn into a bunny boiling stalker.

Trust is important. When you’re living 4000 miles away from someone, it’s going to be impossible to know what they’re doing and who they are with every minute of the day. Gut instinct will be the key, if you think he doesn’t deserve your trust or he’s acting suspiciously, move on, there is no way a long distance relationship will ever work if you cannot trust each other.

The most important thing for me is can you really make the long distance relationship work? Are you patient enough to understand that while friends and people around you may be settling down and moving on with their lives, you’re going to be back and forth only seeing each other for a limited number of days per year until you come to a decision as to where your future is? You can only visit each other so much as your job, and your bank balance permits. At some point, one of you is going to have to give up your life in your own country and move away from your friends, family , job and everything you’ve ever known, it’s inevitable and is the only way forward, eventually.

This brings us to the issue of visas. Depsite what everyone thinks, visas to the UK are not easy to obtain, if you are unwilling to try to settle in Turkey, be prepared for a long battle to get your Turkish partner to the UK, it’s not something to take lightly, it’s a long, hard process and the stress can be enough to split couples up.

There are also cultural differences, and religion pays a large part in some circumstances too.  Is he Muslim? Will he expect you to give up certain things? Will he expect you to be a stay at home mum/housewife? Is he willing to let go of some of his more traditional Turkish cultural values, and are you willing to give up some of yours? Can you come to a compromise?

If both of you are willing to make it work and put in the effort as well as having the patience, trust, understanding and communication, your relationship may well turn into something wonderful. If not, enjoy it for what it is and move on, either way you’ll have great memories.