There’s Something Quirky About Turkey… Fact #2

Turkey switches to Daylight Saving Time or DST, whenever it wants to. Seriously.

For the past few days, Turkish expat forums on Facebook have been flooded with one and only one question: “What time is it, really?” An easy enough question to an easier enough answer. A quick look at your wrist watch (if you still wear one!), a sneak peek at your smart phone home screen (sorry about having to leave “Candy Crush” for a moment) or even a top-right eyeball glimpse at your computer screen should give you the answer. Well, not so easy a question to answer in Turkey, it seems. All thanks to this man – Tayyip Erdogan (May you get the absolute majority you seek!)

Cool Dude Erdogan

Cool Dude Erdogan

Erdogan is seeking an absolutely majority for his AK Party in only Turkey’s 2nd election in the space of a couple of months. You see, in the last election (held on 5th of June 2015), the results didn’t come in quite as Erdogan had expected. He was President, he wanted/needed the mandate to expand his Presidential powers. The people of this great land didn’t give it to him. Instead, Turkey got a hung parliament (basically a situation where none of the parties want to work with the other on anything, even though they need each other  – votes in the house mainly, to pass any new law or legislation, and no work gets done.) so a snap election was called for the 1st of November 2015.

To make sure everything runs smoothly and nothing upsets the apple cart this time – everything needs to be constant, unchanged. So the schools that got the longest ever 2015 summer holidays in the history of any country, are closed again for a week, Republic Day celebrations (29th October) are muted and DST will finally kick in on the 8th of November 2015.

This is when the new government is declared and every thing is back to normal and chaos can take hold once again. Schools will reopen and grapple with catching up on this year’s curriculum, the hour that was robbed from us will be restored and even the whining and winging questions and comments of expats about their miserable lives in this beautiful country will begin once more.

 

There’s Something Quirky About Turkey… Fact #1

Tuvalet Nerede?

Tuvalet Nerede?

So here we are in glorious Istanbul… roaming the streets, scouring the market etc etc

Then something really weird happens. At first, I thought it was just me/us but then I realised (and it’s something I didn’t quite notice, the few times I have been here before) the Turks have a weird way to announce themselves while they wait outside…. the TOILET!

The toilets are always, always on the highest floor or in the lowest hole in the ground. Most of them are pretty clean (except for the toilet at the Cafe Nero off Istikaal Caddesi – yuck!). Ok, so I’ve just gone in… what feels like seconds ago (and probably was too!) and I hear a huge “RAT-A-TAT-A-TAT” on the door.

I jumped and now my heart is beating slightly faster. I shout, “Yes!?” in reply, almost by instinct. I’m not happy but I’m hurrying up, in the best possible way I can hurry up… but thinking to myself – “What? I’ve just gone in!” This person probably SAW me going in, it felt that close! I don’t get a reply – there’s total silence outside.

ARRGGH! I’m not happy! I wash my hands, fix my headscarf – as best as I can in 2 seconds and then rush out of the door.

I’m pretty rattled and I want to tell someone about it. There’s a lady outside the door. Her face is stony. She’s standing there non-plussed, no apology to offer… even though, I’m looking at her like, “What the heck?!”..

I walk away thinking… “She’s so rude!” I almost said it aloud too.

This has happened to me so so so many times here in Istanbul in the one week I’ve been here – I’m starting to think, it’s the norm!

All my annoyance aside, let’s analyse this weird practise for what it is:

  1. It’s rubbish. Have some patience. I will wait and you will wait too!
  2. I’m at a stinky public toilet and not at a spa. I have the innate sense of decency NOT to take my own sweet time in the toilet – so stop the crazy knocking and give me some space!
  3. Ok fine, so you’re announcing yourself. That’s great. Good for you!
  4. I might try it back one of these days – just cause ha ha ha!
  5. UPDATE: I’ve been here too long. I do it too!

Imagine in a moment of forgetfulness, I do this in the UK, or Canada or even Malaysia? (horror face smiley goes here!) I might get punched!

Sad… and it’s hit me like a brick!

I found out today that my lovely, sweet, generous father-on-law has cancer. We don’t know what kind of cancer, how long he has had it for or how far it has spread in his body… but we are praying that this is just the early stages and he can still be saved, in sha Allah.

But I have to be positive, because, my amazing husband, mashaAllah is being positive.

When the words first, came tumbling out of his mouth – as he just woke up, continents away from me – I cried. I cried a lot. My heart is still crying. I can’t even imagine what he is going through.

i lost my father 10 years ago. My world, as I knew it was flipped upside down and life has never been the same again. My life is essentially divided into 2 very distinct phases – the one before my dad and the one after my dad.

I love him. There is a big void where he should have been. I wanted my daughter to know her grandpa… know of what a wonderful, generous, loving and selfless man he was. What a forward thinker he was, but all within the bounds of Islam. i wanted her to play with him, for him to tease her endlessly, to laugh with her and tell her amazing stories of his youth and mine. Zayna missed out on all of that – and that’s a world in its own.

Now if the prognosis is worse than our positivity – I’m afraid she’s going to miss out of knowing her other grandpa too.

I pray, in sha Allah that Zayna has much more time with her grandpa.

UPDATE: Phew! We found out that it was little tumor in an awkward place and he’s going to be starting chemo soon followed by radiotherapy. The cancer has not spread and we are all happy! ALHAMDULILLAH!

8 Years in 2 months

petronas towers

The Jewels of the KL Skyline – The Petronas Towers

I’ve lived in the shadow of these magnificent towers for 8 years and I have nothing to show for it… well, except for this perhaps – http://gourmetgal.blogspot.com/

Some 5 entries in though, I got lazy, slacked off and lost my appetite – although you can’t tell be looking at me!

We came here, 2 adults, with great big plans to open a swanky game studio. Neither of us had ever thought that we’d live in Malaysia. Back in 2007, my better half came to Kuala Lumpur, alone, stayed here a week and then returned to Dubai (which had kind of turned into our “go-to” destination) with a Malaysian cook book and a Lonely Planet guide on Malaysia. I was sold!

We were supposed to stay here for 9-months, but here we are — 8 years later!

And now we’re leaving this beautiful country and friends we’ve made for life… and going on our next best adventure.

I have 2 months to squeeze in 8 years of my life here. 2 adults + 1 kid + 1 cat!

The next few posts are really my ode to Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia. This city has brought me a multitude of joys and some heartaches too. But I am thankful to the All-Mighty for the experiences, good friends and great food! Keep reading…