We have been living in Turkey for about four and a half months now. It seems a long time since quitting the NHS in July of this year and yet our arrival in the blazing heat of August seems far more recent. In the time we have been here we have achieved most of the many tasks we set ourselves and learned a good deal of how things work here.
We have Residence Permits and all that goes with them.
We have bought a house.
We have sorted out most of the finances.
In achieving these there have been many trips to officials to have documents translated, to have documents notarised, to have copies made of many other documents, forms to sign, solicitors to deal with, translators, and so on. There has been hand holding at times by others who have better command of the language and / or the bureaucracy, and times when we have managed on our own. We have encountered many officials, all of who have been helpful and polite. Everyone who has helped us has been great, has smiled, been polite.
On top of these big tasks we have phone, internet, mobile phone in our names, registered a UK mobile phone, and many other smaller tasks completed. We have also started to make some changes to our new home, moved the washing machine, freed up space in the kitchen, had the damp course and drainage done at the back, started to make alterations to the roof terrace. The house we bought is feeling like home now.
There are still some bits to do. We are in the process of sorting out health insurance. Our stuff will arrive in Izmir at some point and need getting through customs – just heard about this, arriving next week. So we’re hoping to have our 15 boxes either before the end of this year or fairly early next. It takes stuff time to clear through customs.
Then there are two large tasks. The concrete steps up to the house and the concrete in the courtyard needs to be replaced, the surface has suffered in the weather and the steps need to be changed to a ramp. Once this is done and the gate altered slightly we have somewhere safe and off road to store a motorcycle. Hopefully by early spring we will have a motorcycle and dealt with the mass of paperwork and bureaucracy which goes with motor vehicles.
Looking back, things have not always gone to plan, but have been achieved in the generally anticipated time frame. Many familiar things are done differently here, partly familiar and then all of a sudden different. It is easy to trip when suddenly hit with the difference, and even easier without command of a common language. It is all too easy to fear, to suspect, to question motives. It is hard to go with the flow, with “this is Turkey”, to accept the differences, to trust the unfamiliar. It has been hard, it has been very rewarding.
We have done well, will do even better. And soon we’ll have the bike.