Goodbye, Turkey!

I could hear his end of the conversation and I heard him saying “Oh, they are here now? Oh dear!”.  He ended the call, turned to me and said, “We have to leave, NOW!” To the bewilderment of the visa office director, we got up and abruptly left the office. B. led me outside and explained that he just got the news that I was on the same list as my other colleagues and was liable to be deported and possibly detained; they advised that I should leave the country and the sooner the better.

An excerpt from a spy thriller? No, it’s the events that actually happened to me and led to us leaving Turkey earlier than planned.

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Posted in Events, Expat life, Kayseri, Russia, Turkey | 18 Comments

The silver lining

It’s been over 6 months since we had to flee Turkey as the post-coup crackdown started to affect foreign staff who worked for the universities closed down after the coup. When I first arrived, still in shock over how abruptly our time in Turkey ended, unsure of what would happen next, when I would see my husband and our dog, the situation seemed very bleak. At first, nothing was happening, as I moped around my parents’ apartment, and waited for Mike and our dog Jackie to leave Turkey safely and sent numerous emails and messages to friends and family explaining what was happening, and then everything started happening at lightning speed! Which is why I haven’t blogged since then, but now I`m ready to give a very detailed update so here goes:

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Hello from the other side

My name is Yulia and it has been 9 months 6 days since my last blog post. Not quite a year but definitely a long time – and I stopped blogging right in the middle of describing our epic trip to the USA!

Here’s what we look like in case you forgot. Which is entirely possible and I don’t blame you.

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What can I say, I`m a horrible blogger. I do have an excuse, though. This past year has been busy. We spend long hours training Jackie, formerly Demon Puppy, currently Our Only Best Friend Besides Each Other. I moved to a new position at work where I am responsible for developing curriculum and course materials. And I have been working on an assignment for  DELTA (Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Cambridge) for the last 6 months, which I submitted this weekend. However, it’s not time to relax yet because the next (and the last) module of DELTA has already started. I`ll be studying long distance for the next two months and then go to Bulgaria for a month to complete the face-to-face component of the course. It’s going to be a busy summer!

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Posted in Expat life, Studying, TESOL, Turkey, University | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

We’ll Weather the Weather Whatever the Weather: Another Winter in Kayseri

Time flies, my blog is becoming covered in proverbial dust and cobwebs as I once again become daunted by a back log of events to describe and we are now in our third year of living in Kayseri, Turkey.  I feel like a seasoned expat veteran, fit to dispense sage advice about adapting to life in a conservative Turkish town and best places to find lahmacun – until I have to call a gas company to sort out our gas bill and  then I`m back to feeling like a stuttering idiot yabanci (Turkish word for ‘foreigner’).

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US Trip Part 3: Oregon Beach House

On Tuesday morning, I was sitting in possibly the best living room in the world, not minding if we spent the whole day there, when somebody mentioned shopping.

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Posted in Eating Out, Events, Family, Food, Holiday, USA, Vacation | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

US Trip Part 2: Oregon Family Time

I accomplished so many firsts on this trip. A lot of them were to do with food (I might have to do a separate blog post about just the food) and quite a few were to do with wildlife. I wouldn’t go as far as call hummingbirds wild, but there you go – my first wildlife encounter in the US.

Since my first morning in Leon’s house I`d been stalking humming birds. I`d never seen one before, so when one hoovered mid-air, the rapid beating of its wings producing the characteristic hum that gave the bird its name, I was startled and jumped aside. Hummingbirds beat their wings up to 50 times per second! I was mesmerized the blur of their wings and the way they seemed to disappear – suspended by the bird feeder one second and then suddenly gone, with a slight vibration of air. So I sat with my phone held high, trying to be still and my efforts paid off. I even managed to capture a hummingbird’s encounter with a bee.

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The USA Trip Part 1: Getting there

For years now I`ve had a long list of ‘American’ things to do: things I saw on TV and movies, read about in books, heard about from friends or my husband. The list includes but is not limited to the following:

  • going to a sports game and seeing cheerleaders and waving a foam finger (regardless of sport or team involved)
  • going to a bar where you can eat peanuts and throw shells on the floor
  • going to a bar where people line-dance in cowboy boots
  • eating a sloppy joe, a hot-dog, a good steak, a good burger, a corn dog, good Mexican, Chinese takeaway from a box, fried green tomatoes, something from Taco Bell, and lots and lots of pork (due to the fact that we live in Turkey, a Muslim country, where pork is usually not to be found)
  • going through a drive-through
  • shopping at a thrift store
  • going to a fair.

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Demon Puppy

As I was writing my latest blog post, describing the house we rented here in Kayseri, Turkey, my hands went to type ‘The only thing that would make living in this house more perfect is a dog’, but then I deleted the sentence, and with it, the sentiment. Because we talked about it at length and decided that Henry Tudor (our future dog is it’s a boy) will have to wait until we settle down permanently. Because we might move to another country in a few years. Because the majority of people here in Kayseri dislike and fear dogs. Because we are at work from 8 to 5. So many reasons not to get a dog. So how did we find ourselves standing t under the scorching sun of a seaside town called Mersin, clutching a 2-month old lab puppy to us and grinning like two fools that we are?

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The roof is leaking but look at the roses!

Moving houses isn’t easy at the best of times. Moving houses in a foreign country… Interesting to say the least! As I wrote before, Mike and I decided to forgo our rent-free apartment in the city in favor of a house up in the hills above Kayseri. The house is technically too big for the two of us, but it’s the only one we`ve been able to find and the rent isn’t much more expensive than an apartment. It also comes with a large fruit garden which looks absolutely gorgeous in the spring when it’s in the full bloom. IMG_6626

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My first conference and my first trip to Greece

While my last 1,5 in my current job teaching English at a preparatory school at a university in Kayseri, Turkey have been challenging, they have also been extremely rewarding and conducive to my development as a teacher, mostly due to the inspiration I get from my colleagues on a daily basis. My friend and colleague CeAnn is one such source of inspiration and motivation. We prepared a joint presentation for a conference in Greece, which allowed me to learn all the steps of the process but also take a trip to a wonderful country with my wonderful friend – and my wonderful husband who came to support me (which never happened because our presentation took place on Sunday night when Mike was already on the plane back to Kayseri) and to see the sights.

Photo: Taking off from Istanbul on Friday night on a surprisingly big plane for an 1 hour flight. We didn’t even finish our movie. IMG_3214 Continue reading

Posted in EFL, Events, Food, Holiday, Teaching, TESOL, Travelling | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment