I may have mentioned some time ago in one of my posts, a little about Mr Ayak's childhood. He has happy memories but some sad ones too. He was the first child born to his father and his father's first wife. When he was just two weeks old, his mother left, leaving him behind. He has never been told why. Of course there must be members of the family who know the reasons, but no-one ever talks about it. Around the same time, his cousin was born...the son of my FIL's sister, and she wet-nursed Mr Ayak for a while. Because of this, he has always been very close to his aunt and also his cousin.
When Mr Ayak was seven years old he was sent out to Sivas in the east of Turkey to live with his grandparents. He slept in the outbuildings with the animals. Not something that he considers cruel...although most of us would think so...in fact quite the opposite. It was his choice and he loved it! He used to walk 5 km to school every day and then back again in the afternoon. I don't imagine it was an easy life for a young boy but he has very fond memories, and says it was one the happiest times of his life. He absolutely adores his grandparents. When he was 14 years old, his father brought him back to Ankara and put him to work in a restaurant kitchen, so he didn't have chance to finish his education. In spite of this, he is a very clever man, and although he has had to take on a number of different types of job over the years, he adapts very quickly and is a fast learner. But it's not easy in this country...or anywhere for that matter...if you haven't had a good education.
His father married again, and Mr Ayak has a stepbrother (the quantum physics whiz kid) and a stepsister..the orthopaedic surgeon. These two siblings clearly had the best education available to them. Something that I feel very angry about. In the past when my FIL criticised Mr Ayak to me about him being unable to keep a steady job, I clearly expressed my feelings to his father about how unfairly Mr A had been treated compared to his other two children. I would imagine this was the start of the animosity my FIL feels towards me, but I don't regret one word I said at the time.
You would think that Mr Ayak might feel some resentment towards his brother and sister wouldn't you? Not a bit...he loves them dearly and is immensely proud of them. He also has a very good relationship with his stepmother.
So back to the grandparents. They are still alive and now in their 90s. I have come to realise since we moved here, that people in these isolated villages tend to live to a ripe old age. It must be the country air and the simple way of life that keeps them going I guess.
Over recent years Mr A's grandparents have been regularly brought to Ankara to spend the winter. Sivas is just too cold for them at this time of year. At the moment, grandmother is in hospital in Ankara and she is very frail and poorly. Although it was with some reluctance that Mr Ayak set off for Ankara yesterday to hand over the property tax money to his father, it was also a chance for him to see his grandmother for what may turn out to be the last time.
He arrived in Ankara late last night and went straight to the hospital, and he has been there ever since. There has been no change in her condition, and this afternoon Mr Ayak's aunt and uncle are taking her out of hospital to their home. Mr Ayak will return home tomorrow evening. I'm so glad he has had this opportunity. I only had the pleasure of meeting them once, about 6 or 7 years ago, when they were staying with an aunt in Izmir. We were only there for a couple of days, but grandmother spent the entire time cuddling me on the sofa, and cried when I left. She is just such a sweet old lady.
I don't know what has happened between Mr Ayak and his father during this visit, but when he phoned me today he told me he was not going to pay his father the money, and that he would just have to wait for it. No doubt I'll hear the full story when he returns.