Sunday, 29 May 2016

How to make life as difficult as possible.

I'm afraid many British immigrants here (sorry I hate the term expats so won't use it) are starting to believe that there is a concerted effort to make living here as difficult as possible.

There are residents permits to contend with.  There is a system of sorts but it seems dependent on the area in which you live as to whether you can sail through the process without problems.

You can't work without a work permit and they are not easy to obtain.  You cannot do a job that can be done by a Turk.  I actually agree with this up to a point.  It seems that teaching English is one of the few options open to foreigners.

It's always been possible to open a business here as a foreigner as long as you employ a certain number of Turkish nationals.  As far as I was aware if you met this criteria you could work in your business, but I think I may be wrong on that point.  Certainly in recent weeks it has come about that foreigners are now being fined and deported for not being aware of a change in the law in 2014 which apparently wasn't publicly announced (except as it seems in a newspaper called Resmi which covers such things, and which I frankly had never heard of before now).

One such lady in Didim bought a business a few years ago from another foreigner, has done everything by the book as she understood it, paid her taxes etc and employed Turks.  She wasn't even working herself but was quite suddenly told that she would have to leave the country in 30 days as she didn't have a work well as having to pay a hefty fine.  One could say that she should have made herself aware of the changes, but frankly it's impossible to keep up.  Laws are made or revised constantly, goalposts are moved, and even those in authority who are there to implement and uphold the laws don't always understand them.  Sadly, this lady has four young children, and has also during her time here done a lot for her local community.  She is very much appreciated by those who know her, and who are trying to raise funds to help her.

I am fortunate to have been married at a time when things were a lot simpler.  I automatically obtained dual nationality upon marriage, which allows me to live here without a residents permit, to work, to fact everything that a Turkish national is entitled to.  If this wasn't the case, and I had to jump through all these hoops, I very much doubt I would still be living here.

Kaya has now traded the motorbike in for a car.  We realised that it was going to be impossible to manage without one.  I haven't driven for a number of years.  The photo on my UK license expired a couple of years ago and I didn't renew it because I no longer have an address in the UK.  However, I showed this, along with the paper license to the traffic police in Bodrum in November and they assured me that I could have my license translated and noterised and as long as I had exit and entrance stamps on my passport every 6 months I could drive here.  I was a bit wary of this advice but got the translation and had it noterised.

The law then changed again in January and UK licenses now have to be exchanged for Turkish ones unless the 6 month date stamps can be shown on passports.  This isn't helpful for those immigrants who don't leave the country on a regular basis who will now have to do so, or change their licenses. I recently learned that as a dual national I could have exchanged my license years ago.  I wish I had known before it expired because if I want a Turkish license now I will have to take a driving test.  This is something that fills me with horror and it also costs money that we cannot afford.

So I have this car parked in front of the house which I can't  drive.

 So I will have to make a decision at some point about taking a test.   I'm reluctant to rush into doing this as I have no doubt the law will change again.

It's not easy here for foreigners these days and it's no wonder many are deciding to up and leave.

NOTE:  There is a wonderful page on Facebook to help foreigners through all the red tape.  It's called Doc Martin's Surgery for Expats in Turkey and you can find it by clicking this LINK

Monday, 16 May 2016


I saw this on someone's timeline on Facebook yesterday and it prompted me to do a blog post.

I've never really taken too much notice of the books, articles etc that interpret dreams.  I'm not sure I really want to know what they mean.  How does anyone know how to interpret them anyway?

We all have dreams don't we?  Or maybe some people don't.  They can stir up all sorts of emotions:  happiness, sadness, anxiety, and especially if they are so vivid that when we wake up we believe that they are real.

When I was a child I had a recurring dream about being able to fly.  In my dream I would come out of the house, to the end of the road, turn left until I came across a road which was a steep hill.  I would stand at the top of the road...jump...and fly to the bottom.

A common dream seems to be about falling.  I've had this one many times.  Another is trying to reach a destination but finding it impossible because of so many obstacles in my way.  I tend to get this last one if I am due to go on a journey, or if I am anxious about the dogs.

A rather more pleasant one that I had when I was a child was when I would be walking along a road and every few steps I found money on the ground.  I picked it up, continued walking and finding more.   If this was a sign that I might win the lottery, it never happened!

Occasionally I have a dream which, on waking and realising it's not true, upsets me dreadfully.   I have been estranged from my son for 18 years.  His choice, even though I still make attempts to contact him.   In my dream we have reconciled and my son is part of my life now.  It all seems so vivid and real.  Initially on awakening I still believe it and feel really happy.  After a short while the truth hits me and the sadness overwhelms me.

What do you dream about?   Are your dreams happy or sad?  Interesting or disturbing?  Have you actually tried to find out what they mean?  I'd like to know.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Scaling back

This time last year the tourist season was well under way and Kaya was doing well in his job.  He gets a small basic wage but his earnings rely on selling excursions to customers when he does his welcome meetings at the many hotels he is responsible for.

So far this year, he is still working long hours.  There are fewer reps employed by the company which means those who are working have more hotels to cover.  But there are not as many customers so it's proving difficult to earn money.  I think most of us suspected that this would be a bad season but we tried to live in hope.  Businesses will close because rents won't be covered.  There will undoubtedly be many out of work this year.  We are lucky that Kaya still has a job.

I am pretty good at economising when I need to.  I've had times in my life when I could afford to buy whatever I wanted, but times when money was in very short supply.  I can adapt easily and the habit I have had for years of checking prices in supermarkets for the best deals, has never left me.

Kaya has sold the car.  He has replaced it with a motorbike which is almost brand new.  This means that the debt on the car has now been cleared.  He has a company car with his job but if he wants to use it to come home the company make him pay highly for the privilege.  The idea was to leave our car at home for me to use throughout the summer but because of the changes in law on driving licences, I am not able to drive here now, unless I take a Turkish driving test at great expense.  Now he can come home sometimes on the motorbike and the cost of petrol will be a fraction of what it costs to use the car.

It will be difficult if we need to take dogs to the vet, and collect sacks of food, but we will have to borrow a car if necessary.   I think some of you may remember just how much Kaya can manage to carry on a we'll manage!

I am used to using the dolmuş to go into Milas or further afield, and my good friend David usually takes me shopping in Milas once a week, which helps enormously.

We may also have to cut back on what we provide to the dogs in the area.  Even though we have donations coming in, it's never enough.  My fund is still in the red.  When I see dogfood on offer I buy it anyway because I can't afford to miss good deals, and then hope money will eventually come in to cover it.  Sometimes it does, but sometimes it doesn't.  Feeding and providing vet care for my 12 rescues costs a great deal, so I rely on donations to pay for all the other dogs (and cats) out there that we are trying to help.   We will continue to feed those we are committed to, but we know our limitations and it will be difficult to take on responsibility for any more.

I hate asking for money.  To be honest, writing about it in a blog post seems easier than just coming straight out with it on my Facebook page.   I am however extremely grateful for those who have continued to donate.  Without your generosity, we'd never have managed to help so many animals in need.

If you would like to help, you will find the PayPayl button at the top right hand side of this page.  Thankyou xxx


Tuesday, 3 May 2016

When you just don't have a clue!!

Yesterday I lost my internet connection on my laptop but still had it on my phone.  To my non-technical brain this just doesn't make sense.  Although I'm sure you pc wizards out there know exactly what was wrong.

So I fiddled about with all sorts of things in the hope that I would by some miracle be connected again.  I wish I wasn't always tempted to do this.  I don't know what I'm doing and I am sure I do more harm than good.  Does anyone else do this?

At one point I decided to refresh my PC which meant that apps that I use every day were uninstalled and those I had painstakingly uninstalled last year were reinstalled.  And of course it made no difference whatsoever to my internet connection.

I phoned TTNet last night wishing my Turkish was better, and wishing even more that the customer service operators who answer after you have chosen the "English speaking" option could actually speak English...or at least something vaguely coherent.  I think he said it was a router problem and gave me another number to call.  I asked him to repeat it three times, still didn't understand so gave up.

I phoned them again this morning and got a girl who was most unhelpful so gave up again.  I sent a message to my brother-in-law who usually helps solve my pc problems but he's out of the country.  I asked Kaya if he knew anyone in the village who might be able to help.  Sure enough he did.  The guy turned up at 4pm with his little dog on a lead.  Tiny timid little thing but very well cared for and loved...that was quite clear.

I have my laptop and modem in the bedroom, but I couldn't bring the man and dog through the gate and into the house as the dogs would have gone berserk.

So he tied the dog's lead to a pole at the side of the house and climbed through my bedroom window.  No problem here, except that a couple of neighbours just up the road were watching.  No doubt this bit of activity will spread like wildfire throughout the village.  Ah well gives them something to talk about.

The most important thing is that he managed to sort out the problem with my laptop in 10 minutes....then exited via the bedroom window...being closely watched again by the neighbours.

I had an appointment at the hospital yesterday concerning the problems with my hip and leg.  X-rays were taken but it's not clear what's causing the problem.  In the meantime I have strong painkillers and anti-inflammatories and will go back in 10 days, and probably have another MRI scan if there is no improvement.

Although Kaya has been working since the end of March, this season is so quiet and he is not earning money yet.   We are considering selling the car and getting a motorbike.  Because of the license situation I won't be able to drive it anyway and a motorbike will be cheaper to run.  This is going to be a very difficult season for those working in tourism.  Let's hope it picks up.

Meanwhile, the dogs are all OK.  Blondie is doing well and I think I may be able to remove her bandage tomorrow as the scar has healed well.  I'll leave the lampshade on for a while yet to make sure she leaves the wound alone.

I am still in the red with my donation fund and am getting quite anxious about being able to buy more stocks of food for the village and sanayi dogs.  I may have to consider cutting back on what we provide.  Thankyou everyone who donates to help us to care for the dogs, and if anyone else would like to help, it will be very much appreciated. (You will find the Paypal button at the top right hand corner of this page).

If you are on Facebook and not yet a member of my group page, you are very welcome to join.  Just click on this link: Ayak's Animal Welfare (Dogs and Cats)