Let me tell you a bit about Mr Ayak. We have known each other for 11 years and been married for 10. I have been married before (twice) and Mr Ayak has also...just once. I have adult children from my first marriage and Mr Ayak has a son.
As far as our respective sons are concerned we have a great deal in common, and a large amount of empathy. Neither of us have contact with them anymore. Their choice...not ours. My son can't or won't forgive me for coming to live in Turkey, and Mr Ayak's son won't forgive him for choices he made many years ago. We have both made many many attempts to build bridges with our sons but it doesn't work.
Mr Ayak is a hard worker but jobs in the tourist industry are scarce. In fact at the present time he has been out of work for seven months. This is the longest ever. We normally expect him to be out of work for 3 or 4 months during the winter because there is no work out of season. But the credit crunch is hitting Turkey too. Work normally starts at the beginning of March, but there's nothing. No sign of tourists...but lots of unemployed men to be found sitting aimlessly in the tea-houses. However, you won't find Mr Ayak sitting around aimlessly waiting for a job to fall in his lap. He is out from dawn to dusk searching for work. In recent weeks he has tried to set up a selling/delivery business with a friend but things keep going wrong. Mr Ayak is a bit of a walking disaster. He won't mind my saying this, because he agrees with me. He is clumsy and accident prone, and most things that he attempts in life have a knack of going wrong. But he tries so hard. I often lose patience but then I think "what's the point?" I can't change how he is and would I really want to?
No I wouldn't...because the man beneath this clumsy exterior has a heart of gold. He is one of the kindest people I know. He will give his last lira to someone who needs it more than him. He would give the shirt off his back...in fact he did once. A guy he knew who was really poor, was getting married and Mr Ayak gave him his beautiful linen shirt that I had bought for his birthday, so that this man would have something nice to get married in.
And it's not just people, he feeds stray dogs and if he had his way would bring home every stray puppy he comes across.
He's an intelligent man but because he hasn't had the benefit of a good education his choices are limited. I blame Mr Ayak's father for his predicament. Mr Ayak was the only child of Mr Ayak Snr's first marriage. Mr Ayak's mother left when he was two weeks old and he was wet-nursed by his aunt, who he is still very close to to this day. At the age of seven he was sent out to Sivas in the east of Turkey to live with his paternal grandparents, where he walked 7 km to school every day, and at night slept out in the stables with the animals. He was very happy though and adored his grandparents. At the age of 14 his father brought him back to Ankara and put him to work in a restaurant, so his education ceased at that time. Therefore everything that Mr Ayak has done in life from that point in time has been down to sheer hard work and being willing to do whatever he had to do to earn money.
Compare his upbringing with that of his half-sister and half-brother, the offspring of Mr Ayak Snr's second marriage. They have had every opportunity that a good education provides. The sister is now an orthopaedic surgeon in private practise with a house bought by her father. The brother...I'm not sure about his actual job..but I do know he achieved the equivalent of a Masters in quantum physics. He also lives in a house bought by his father.
Now, if I were Mr Ayak I would be quite bitter and resentful....and I can never understand why he isn't. In fact he is quite the opposite. He doesn't expect anything from his father, and he is enormously proud of his siblings' achievements.
He makes me laugh and he can laugh at himself. He gets himself into some ridiculous (and very funny) situations at times. He also makes me cry with frustration and anger sometimes....and we've spent a few periods apart because of it. But we always end up back together, because I make a point of reminding myself what it was that made me fall in love with him....and whatever life throws at us...that doesn't change.