Friday, 3 September 2010
In all the other areas where we have lived in Turkey I have made friends with other British people living here. I've always avoided the "ex-pat cliques"...those of you living abroad will know what I mean. Those groups of foreigners who stick together and who don't make any attempt to integrate. I can't stand the way they attempt to make a little Britain out of their part of Turkey. They lead their lives in their British ghettos as if they are still on holiday, and moan about everything Turkish. But I've always managed to find like-minded people to get together with for a coffee and a chat.
The last 18 months of living in this village has been quite lonely at times, with Mr Ayak away and no other foreigners for miles around. It's just as well I enjoy my own company most of the time.
Last week at the hotel I met an English couple and their daughter from Suffolk. There have only been a handful of British people staying there this season, so to hear an English voice is quite rare. We hit it off immediately. We all had so much in common....and chatted happily for hours.
My good friend Pauline, who was one of the first people I met when I moved to Turkey, had at that time lived here for 10 years. Due to personal circumstances she had to sell up and move back to England. That was six years ago. However we kept in touch and I visited her occasionally on my trips to England. I discovered a few weeks ago that she was coming over for a short holiday to stay in Turgutreis where we lived at the time, her first visit since she left. So we arranged to meet up in Bodrum on Wednesday. She insisted on treating me to lunch which was lovely. We sat down in the restaurant at 12 noon, and were still chatting at 5pm. Doesn't time fly when you have so much to talk about!
Yesterday was the last day of the holiday for the people from Suffolk, and they told Mr A that they would love it if I could get over again to see them before they left. So I went over yesterday, and again we spent hours chatting. We said our goodbyes, swapped email addresses, and promised to keep in touch. And I think we will...they are just so nice.
So this week has satisfied my hunger for English conversation.
I have another friend who lives in England but also has a home in Selçuk. She is due over here next week. She always comes to visit me in the village for a day or two, so I have that to look forward to.
We take our daily interactions with people of the same nationality very much for granted. It's not until you lose this that you realise how important it is. Having hours of wonderful conversation has really lifted my spirits in what has, in all other respects, been quite a difficult week.