I've had a lot of changes during my lifetime...some good...some bad. I guess that's the way life goes for most of us.
The biggest change was coming to live in this country 13 years ago. And there have been so many changes since. Far too many to mention here.
We've moved house 15 times in 13 years, eventually ending up in this village two and a half years ago, living in the house given to us by my father-in-law. Something that has surprised me recently is the change in FIL's attitude towards me. At last he seems to like and respect me. It's been a long time coming, but I think it was worth the wait. He and MIL arrived on Monday in time for Şeker Bayram. Many of you will recall how I used to dread their visits. FIL's constant criticism of everything I did...how I tended the garden, my cooking, the food I bought...well practically everything really.
I used to just wait it out until they eventually left..and of course I never knew how long they were likely to stay, and it's considered rude to ask. Turkish families "share" their homes. Everyone is welcome to come and stay as long as they like. I never really had a problem with this in principal. Goodness knows I need the company, but FIL always made me feel uncomfortable so I could never relax and be myself.
The last couple of visits have seen a gradual shift in our relationship. He still criticises some things, but I have realised that he is actually like this with everyone, so it's not just me. These days he is much nicer to me, he now takes an interest in what I have to say and this week we have spent many pleasant hours together. I don't cook for them anymore. I stopped this over a year ago when I was criticised for my cooking. They take their food down to the land and prepare it while they work. It's fine..one less chore for me. However, two days ago he came home with 4 beautiful fish which he handed to me, saying they were for our supper. One each for them, Mr A and I. I thanked him and said I had already eaten earlier and wasn't sure Mr A would be home that evening, and would he like me to put them in the freezer for them. He said, please put them in the freezer for you and Mr A, and would you be so kind as to cook two fish for mother and I? Good grief...I nearly fainted! He was trusting me with cooking their fish for them? I said I'd be happy to.
I cooked and served up the fish and he complimented me on how well I had cooked them!
MIL has been wearing a really nice long-sleeved, full length kaftan in the evenings when we've been out on the balcony, perfect for protection against the mosquitoes. I told her how nice it looked. FIL immediately asked me if I would like one, what size I wanted, and they would get me one when they returned to Ankara.
I'm overwhelmed with all this niceness!
Something clicked this week. Mr A and I have been having a few problems recently and after many arguments he said something which made me stop and think. He says I try to change him. He thinks I've always done this. I think he is right. I am a control freak and I don't even realise when I'm doing it. But what really stood out was when he said "You are doing exactly what my father used to do, many years ago. He tried to change me, to make me into something I'm not. I couldn't stand it, so that's why I left Ankara for good". And to be fair Mr A doesn't try to change me...unlike a lot of Turkish men and their wives.
Maybe FIL and I have more in common than I thought. I think he and I both know we can't change Mr A, but FIL has gradually backed off and stopped trying so hard. As a result his and Mr A's relationship has vastly improved. I am attempting to follow his example. However, we both seem to be finding a way of getting Mr A to make small changes, sensible ones, without him feeling he is being controlled. I call it subtle manipulation. So far so good.
And talking about change on a more practical level. We no longer have a rubbish bin. In fact there are now NO rubbish bins dotted about the village. Ours hadn't been emptied again for weeks. Mr A spoke to the Muhtar last week. The same day the Muhtar arrived at our house with two men, who took away the bin containing the rubbish, and the bin wasn't returned. He explained that after Bayram the rubbish would in future be collected by Milas belediye (council) with the usual large dustcart, which be unable to come up the winding lanes leading to the top of the hill. So from Monday onwards it will be a trek down into the village to dispose of our rubbish.
Mr A's recent job change is going reasonably well, although he isn't terribly happy there, and is uncertain about committing himself to the boss for winter in Istanbul. There are other possibilities in the pipeline...aren't there always? Mr A changes jobs as often as he changes his socks...well most of you already know that. I'd be happier if he settled down a bit more, but I've said before he's a nomad at heart. He was like this when I met him. I doubt he will ever be any different. I guess I have to learn to live with it.
I'm attempting to stop my controlling ways. There are some things we shouldn't try to change and others that we should make an effort to do so.
ETA. I take it all back... I was wrong! FIL has just spent the past hour having a go at me for not being a good daughter-in-law. I have just been criticised for everything I do or say. He is a very devious man. He's good at this. Having spent the past few days being extremely nice and lulling me into a false sense of security, he then throws all this at me when I am completely unprepared and unable to give any sensible responses. Ah well...all change again.