Monday, 14 May 2012
It takes an awful lot of understanding and compromise to make such a marriage work.
For the most part, I think I have adjusted well to life in Turkey for almost 14 years. I embrace a lot of the differences. I like the way the Turkish people are so welcoming, so willing to go the extra mile to help you if you have a problem, so unlike the indifference I often experienced when living in the UK.
I like the neighbourliness..not just in villages where it's almost expected, but in every area where we have lived. They welcome you to their community. They bring you produce from their gardens, food they have cooked, and I enjoy returning the favours.
There are some things though which I find difficult to live with. If you marry a Turk, you marry his family. Of course there are positives to this but some foreign women find it suffocating and often this can be the cause of the marriage breaking down.
I consider myself fortunate that we have never lived close to Mr A's family, so there has been no interference. We have just lived our own lives without being controlled by his family.
Things changed when we moved to this village, to the house "given" to us by my FIL. As much as he insists that this is our home, it doesn't actually feel like it. His name is still on the deeds, as it also is on the houses he has given to his two other children. It really means that he can come and go as he pleases.
In theory I don't have a problem with welcoming Mr A's family to stay in our home (even thought FIL and I dislike each other), but I do find it difficult to come to terms with the way in which Turkish families can turn up whenever they feel like it, often without prior warning, and stay as long as they like. It is really not the done thing to ask them when they are coming or how long they will stay. According to Mr A to do so would cause offence, and would show lack of respect.
Last week Mr A mentioned that FIL would be bringing Mr A's grandfather here for a visit. Seeing how distraught Mr A was, and still is, over the recent death of his elderly grandmother, I certainly felt that this was a good idea, and of course will make him welcome. The fact that I have to also put up with the spitefulness of FIL at the same time, isn't a pleasant prospect, but I will rise above it.
The problem lies with the fact that we have no idea when they are coming. I have a couple of friends who would like to come and stay, at different times, but I can't make plans to accommodate them because I don't know when FIL and GFIL will be here.
I have tried to get Mr A to ask his father to give some idea when they will be coming, but he won't ask, because he feels, like most Turks, that families are entitled to come and go to each others homes as and when they like. I suggested that I ring his father to ask, tactfully of course, but Mr A insists that this is rude, that his father will take offence and not come. Which means of course that grandfather won't be coming either...and for Mr A's sake, I don't want that to happen.
Mr A says family are more important than friends. Of course I agree up to a point, but my friends are important to me, particularly those living in different parts of this country. They make up in many ways for the lack of time spent with my own family.
So I asked Mr A what would happen if I invited friends to stay and his family turn up while they are here. He can't see that it's a problem. He says they can all stay. We only have one spare bedroom, so where would they all sleep? You see, the Turks have no problem at all with filling a room full of people, happy to sleep on the floor. I admire the way they are so adaptable, but I can't live like this, and I can't expect my friends to be squashed into a room to sleep with people they don't know. They, like me, would expect more privacy.
So...it's a problem. One I can't seem to overcome, however hard I try.
Am I being unreasonable? I'm beginning to think I haven't adapted so well to this life as I thought I had.
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