I was warned before I contacted Linda that she might be hard to get hold of, that she was one of those people who “does stuff.” I found out later that “stuff” includes two walking groups, Turkish classes, an art club, Stitch ‘n’ Bitch (all the explanation you need is in the name,) that she volunteers for the Calis Children’s Charity and is on the committee organising Fethiye’s first ever Race For Life. In actual fact she wasn’t hard to get hold of. I think perhaps busy people are more efficient, she agreed to be interviewed and within three days I was back in Eyna, drinking coffee and enjoying hearing her tell me about her life in Turkey.
Discovering Turkey: not quite as foreign as expected.
“I first came to Turkey in 1994, I didn’t know anything about it – I thought I was coming to a desert, I went to the doctor and had all my injections done! While I was here I went to Kaya Koy and as soon as I got there I just knew this was somewhere I’d want to stay. I came back for holidays once or twice a year with my children and we always stayed at the same place in Kaya. In 2011 I moved over with my partner John and we got married here last April. We decided to live in Calis – there were just so many things we wanted to be involved in and the cost of petrol going back and forth from Kaya would’ve been a fortune.
“In England I was a manager for a company providing domiciliary care for people with learning disabilities. It was a lovely job, it was a non-profit organisation so it was never about making money just about the quality of the care. Then Social Service’s budgets started getting cut and cut and I didn’t want to be in charge of something that just wasn’t a good service any more. So I started working all the hours I could, overpaying my mortgage where I could, until we could afford to come here.”
A different way of life.
“It’s so beautiful here, and the people are so lovely. I really love how close families are, how there’s still respect for your elders. They still have a lot of values here that are missing in England.
“Things aren’t the same once you’re here though, just little things but we have ways of doing stuff in England that aren’t the same here – we’re very overly polite, we stand in queues. And the driving I just hate it, someone drove into me last week. I don’t enjoy driving, but I don’t like being a passenger either. It’s just a cultural thing – we’re very inclined to wait whether it’s in a supermarket or a car but people here aren’t – it’s not personal they do it to everyone.
“At the same time people are so generous. When we do the school visits with the 3C’s, the people really have nothing, but they won’t let us leave empty handed. And my neighbour, when I had a cough recently she went all round to load of different pharmacies and kept bringing me different potions to try. It just wouldn’t happen back home.”