We always did eat well, even when living a stressful lifestyle, both working full time (and often over full time) we would cook from scratch every night (when eating at home). But here it takes longer – often much of the afternoon and evening are spent pottering in the kitchen. This can create difficulties – our neighbours invited us over to share the harvest from the fig tree in their garden, tell us that we should invite them back to ours and give us a chance to practice our Turkish – we were just relaxing into this when Hilary remembered the beans boiling on the stove. She was able to explain this in Turkish but, we guess, if our guests leave any of the barbunya tomorrow, a couple of portions will be handed over the wall in a bowl. Here we are able to cook with fresh produce in season without having to break the bank. Best not even to ask if it conforms to soil association standards. Here we can change our plans according to what is available and looking good on the market (the peaches, regrettably, are almost finished). Here there is no need to rush. And we can discuss what to eat for dinner tonight without all those frantic phone calls.
Here there is no Abel and Cole box half of which goes to waste and no need to worry about air miles. We try to use the most local produce to reduce tractor miles. No nibble boxes from Graze, a comforting luxury at the time. No Waitrose. No Internet orders for beer delivery, no Majestic for wine supplies.
We eat less meat than we did. To be honest, we don’t find meat expensive out here. In London we used to eat organic Aberdeen Angus from named herds and organic Welsh lamb etc etc. We didn’t eat huge amounts of this but it makes Turkish meat look cheap. And we do eat quite a lot of chicken (best not to ask if it’s farmed on a factory – though it tastes too good for battery chicken). The eggs are incredibly fresh and frequently fertilised.
We are definitely sleeping better. Oh, Turkey is noisy – we are often woken by the call to prayer, a tractor driving past, crows, cockerels, dogs barking, donkey braying, but we manage to get back to sleep. The nature of our sleep is changing now that we are not bound by alarm clocks and the pressures of work in the NHS. We have both started to dream again – not just fret and worry about situations. There are anxieties of course. It’s not all together easy settling into a new way of life and things can get very confusing. We still get moments of blind panic but they are moments and they go away.
We have both lost weight. Weight that was almost certainly due to eating on the run at work, to indulging in cakes, chocolate or a packet of crisps because that is all we had time to grab between meetings (or because someone decided to share their comfort food by bringing it to a meeting or into our office). We do still snack, especially in the afternoons, but we can get sun dried figs that taste of honey. Crisps and chocolate are a lot less tempting. We do, occasionally, buy baklava. We’ve found a place that does really nice baklava and we sometimes need to get some to share with guests, or hosts if we are out visiting. We’ve not been very good about regular exercise – this was largely due to the heat – but now it’s autumn we’ve taken to walking again. And, we think, the amount of housework that is needed to keep out the dust and the limescale contributes to fitness.
There are still quite a few bits and pieces to sort out – work we want to do on the house, bureaucracy, sorting out the finances etc, Right now we’re in the middle of arranging the shipping of our goods. We’re not bringing a lot. Books, photos, pictures, more clothes, some bits for the kitchen. No furniture, just personal stuff. This is expensive, but cheaper than keeping it in storage indefinitely. But we’re approaching this at a slower, more relaxed pace.
We don’t have the sort of cash we had to throw around back in the UK, and we have resigned ourselves to the impossibility of bringing the Harley over. But back in the UK we spent a lot of money to relieve the stresses resulting from work. We do not have to do that here. We have both noticed that each other looks younger, healthier, less stressed. Hilary no longer gets into a state of blind panic when the telephone rings, Ashley is more laid back about phones and Hilary’s reaction to them. We no longer have feelings of catastrophe when the internet goes down, the electricity is cut or the water stops. Having technology is nice, it no longer rules out lives.
The wealth may have gone down, but the quality of life has increased.