New Life Abroad - 3

Hello, I'm Pete. Welcome to New Life Abroad - Episode 3. I've decided it's time I took my turn to tell you about how I'm feeling about our new life abroad, so here goes:

We moved abroad to Turkey nearly six months ago and I think we're finally starting to settle in. A lot has been written about "Culture Shock" and although we read up about it before we moved, I for one was still not fully prepared for what happened in our first few months. We've now been through the initial stages of excitement & frustration and now I'm certainly starting to feel more relaxed. I think there will still be more frustrations to come, but now I'm confident that we're gonna survive the Culture Shock & enjoy our new life abroad to the full.

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Life Abroad - Living in Turgutreis, Turkey

So, I'm gonna tell you about a few of the exciting, frustrating, sad & happy "experiences" we've had. Maybe in another month or two, I'll give you my take on Culture Shock & how to prepare yourself to minimise the effects.

Service Supply Challenges - Water, Electricity & Telephone.
Telephone (and Internet access)
Now personally I'm not that bothered about the telephone as I have a mobile phone & it's not that expensive to use. What did bother me though was that I couldn't get internet at home. I need the internet to work on this website, for our business, for e-mail and for Skype to make free calls & chat with friends & family back home. We persuaded our parents & my daughter to subscribe to broadband before we left, but we are now the ones without it.

working-in-Turkey (9K)I do spend a lot of time on the computer (far too much according to Lorraine), but when I do, I want to be able to use it where & when I like. Usually, I like to sit on the balcony in the shade, with views of the mountains, feeling the breeze in my face. Or late in the evening I like to sit on the sofa with my laptop on a table in front of me.

At the moment I'm joining in a Weekly Real Estate Development Conference. Now this takes place at 7.30pm in the USA, but in Turkey it's 2.30am. So, I can't go to the local internet cafe & even if I could, I wouldn't really want to as they are usually full of chattering kids playing computer games or chatting on MSN.

Basically, I like to be able to use my computer and the internet in the comfort of my own home, at whatever hour I choose. Turk Telekom however had other idea's. The first time I went to apply for a line, I was told it would take two weeks. Now I'd had people tell me they'd waited over a year, so I was very pleased with this news. residence-permit (11K)The trouble was that they insisted I have a residence permit before I could apply. Well we had applied a week or two previously & been told it would take 4 or 5 weeks, so again I thought I could get by by using internet cafes until then. Frustration started to set in however as the 4 or 5 weeks eventually turned into 2 months.

When we finally got our residence permits I hot-footed it to Turk Telekom in Bodrum & filled in the necessary forms, photocopied passport & residence permit etc. They gave me a phone number & again told me we should be connected within 2 weeks. Hooray ! But I celebrated too soon. 2 weeks turned into 3, I then chased them up (with the help of our good friend Semra who translated) & was told it would be connected next week.

By this time I've installed myself in my mate Bob's office & am sharing his internet connection, as I can't stand the internet cafes any longer. Anyway, next week came & went, then they say tomorrow. Two or three tomorrows go by so I go to visit them again & the guy we'd been dealing with said he'd come to our house himself to check it out. The following evening lo & behold he turned up (1 day late), said that there was a problem but he liked me so he'd sort it & we'd have our phone in the next couple of days.

The story goes on & if I continue you'll probably nod off so I'll cut it short. Suffice it to say we've still not got a phone, just a phone number. Turk Telekom say they will do some work in the winter. They haven't said which winter though! However, our very kind Turkish neighbours have allowed us to put ADSL in their apartment, so finally, 5 months after arriving in Turkey, we have internet access at home, using a wireless connection to next door.

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Water
Turgutreis-water (5K)I've gone on far longer than I intended about the phone line so I'll keep this short. There is a water supply problem on the Bodrum Peninsula so most houses have a spare water tank & a pump installed so on the days when the water is turned off, they can still wash. This worked fine for us (once we realised we had such a system & turned the pump on :-) until my Mother came to stay for a couple of weeks. Then we started running out occasionally so realised that the tank was really only enough for 2 people. Don & Elaine our landlords were kind enough to pay to have another tank installed so that problem is now solved. We do however still have to be careful & only use the washing machine & re-fill the leaking swimming pool on days when the mains water is turned on.

Electricity
culture-shock (9K)The electricity supply itself is not too bad. There are very occasional cuts but they rarely last longer than an hour or so. The voltage however is not too hot - when we turn the kettle on the lights in the house dim. The main problem we have is the wiring in the house. I think the "electrician" who wired the house must have left his white stick at home that day.

Oh, one other thing I nearly forgot, our house is wired to next door so they share our supply. That in itself is not a huge problem as we are friends with the neighbours & they will contribute to the bill. But, the owner of the apartments next to their house decided to run a wire from their meter box so he could join in & share our supply. The plumber also decided to use the water from their storage tank. I was not amused so I went to complain to the Jandarma. They however didn't seem to give a damn. They would only do something about it if the house had insurance. If you don't have insurance, they don't mind people stealing your electricity or water in Turgutreis. There's a bit of culture shock for you!

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Business Opportunities
As we are employing someone to project manage our Property Development in Mumcular, not too much of our time is going to be needed once the construction commences. So, when a couple of business opportunities were presented to me over the last couple of months, I did consider them seriously. I decided in the end to turn them both down though, as I thought I'd need to put too much time into them. One of the main reasons we moved to Turkey was to break away from "living to work" & take the time to smell the roses.

business-idea (19K)However, I'd began to get frustrated on several occasions at to the lack of quality and customer care of many business services here. After some thoughts about how to improve this, I came up with the germs of an idea. I discussed it with my friend Bob & we did some brainstorming. After several hours of talking we came up with a basis of a business plan. Over the next few weeks we had several meetings to plan the details. Unfortunately after carrying out some market research & talking to Lorraine & Semra, we came to realise that the culture here would prevent the success of our plan. I've deliberately been vague here, as for the time being we've just shelved the idea. We wouldn't want anyone to borrow our idea would we? So watch this space in a couple of years maybe, when Bodrum might be ready for us ;-)

Our Pets - Charlie & Jasmine
Charle-cat-in-Turkey (15K)One of the very sad times we've had during our new life abroad was on Tuesday 18th July 2006 when Lorraine's cat Charlie died. We'd taken him to the vet about 3 weeks previously and he was diagnosed with a urinary infection, but this seemed to clear up. Then a couple of weeks later he became ill again and was kept overnight at the vet when he died in his sleep. I'd got to know Charlie over the years & was very sad. Lorraine though was devastated. We didn't know what to do about burying or cremating him as they do not have these facilities in Turkey. In the end we decided to bury Charlie in our friends Bob & Semra's garden.

I read this poem to Lorraine when Charlie was buried
poem-from-Charlie (27K)

This poem was adapted from a poem written by Amanda on the Pets on the Net website.


As I said, Lorraine was devastated & cried for days. She had wanted a puppy for a long time & had said that she would want one if ever Charlie died. Although I'd never had a dog myself, I had recently thought about it a lot. I knew that a puppy would never be a replacement for Charlie, but thought that it may help Lorraine with her grief so it may be a good idea to get a puppy sooner rather than later.

Not having had a dog before, I spent a few days researching the net to make sure I was making the right decision. Having started our new life abroad we now both have more time on our hands, so looking after a dog would not be a problem. There were many other things to consider though. Anyway, I'd more or less decided at this stage to get a dog so discussed it further with Lorraine.

Jasmine-in-Bodrum (50K)

I found a really great site called Dog Play with a page specifically about finding the right dog. This goes into great detail including ethical considerations about not buying a puppy from pet shops but from a responsible breeder instead. Unfortunately these seem to be few & far between in Turkey, if they exist at all. We would have liked to have had a rescue dog, but having visited a couple of homes could not find a suitable dog. After several days of searching we decided on a puppy located in Ankara we'd found advertised on the net. Semra rang up for us & asked all the questions advised by Dog Play to try to ensure the dog had been bred responsibly. We could not be sure, but it definitely didn't seem to be on of the "puppy factories" we'd heard about. So we took the plunge.



Jasmine-new-life (41K) Jasmine-in-Turgutreis (10K)I need to cut the story short as I'm rambling again. Jasmine arrived safe & sound the next morning, although when we took her to the vet he told us he though she was more like 3 to 4 weeks old rather than the 8 weeks we'd been told. We have come to learn that you cannot take anyone's word for anything.

Anyway, we took great care of Jasmine over the next few weeks & now she is thriving, mischievous & having had her first two lots of injections, is exploring Turgutreis with us.

New Life Abroad - New Life Abroad - New Life Abroad - New Life Abroad - New Life Abroad

Healthy Lifestyle
Bodrum-Volleyball (10K)When I started my new life abroad in Turgutreis, I had every intention of leading a healthy life. I planned to swim in the sea most mornings and to eat healthily. I started off well by swimming 3 or 4 days a week or walking in the mountains when it was too windy. I'd also planned to play beach volleyball & persuaded "Nutters", a bar on the beach front, to set up a court. I designed posters & planned to organise a game and play several times a week. Unfortunately it never happened. Now I won't say it's all gone horribly wrong, but I'm a long way away from my intentions. I could give you a list of excuses, like the fact that after 3 weeks we moved from the house 10 metres from the sea to one which is about 15 minutes walk away. But they would be just excuses. I could easily hop on the scooter and get to the beach in a few minutes and I could stop eating those ice creams every day. I even started to learn to windsurf, but I seem to have stalled on that front.

I bought a motorbike (a Suzuki V-Strom 650cc) about 4 months ago & was looking forward to riding it in the sun. Unfortunately I allowed some Turkish drivers to stop my fun riding the bike, as in general they drive with no consideration for other road users. This, combined with the heat making it too uncomfortable to wear protective clothing, made me feel unsafe on the roads and started getting me stressed as I'd get angry at the maniac car drivers. So, I've hardly ridden the bike until this last week or so. The weather has now cooled down a little and there is less traffic on the roads. I've taken three trips to Bodrum in the space of a week & haven't stopped the bike in the middle of the road once to "argue" with some brainless driver, so I guess maybe I'm starting to chill a bit :-)

So, the bike riding is improving and I'm now going to do something about the healthy lifestyle. It'll be getting too cold to swim in the sea soon, but I can wear a wet-suit for the windsurfing. The weather is now ideal for walking in the mountains & in fact last week I did just that by "climbing" up Turgutreis mountain. I got some great pictures. Here are a few:

Turgutreis-Marina (57K)
New Life Abroad - Turgutreis Marina


Turgutreis-view (36K)
New Life Abroad - Turgutreis View

House-in-Mountains-Turgutreis (17K)
Now wouldn't you just love to own a house with a view like that? Well, funnily enough, when I clambered up the last few metres onto the top of the mountain, lo & behold there was a digger which was finishing off a road which had been built through the mountains. I really didn't expect to find that at the top. So, I guess they probably are going to build up there.


Quality of Life

I mentioned above that one of the main reasons for our new life abroad was to spend less time working & more time enjoying life. With all this beautiful scenery & great weather here in Turgutreis and the Bodrum Peninsula, it would be a great shame if I didn't take the time to appreciate it along with many other important things in life. Well, over the last couple of years I've learned a lot about myself and about life and consider that I am now on a "journey to enlightenment". I finally realise that life is not about material things and I am now striving to live for the present moment instead of for the past or the future. A couple of major influences for me have been:

The Mankind Organisation with whom I spent a long weekend in March 2006 at Kibblestone International Scout Camp in Staffordshire. The "New Warrior Training Adventure" was an experience of a lifetime which amongst other things served to strengthen my integrity.

Another continuing influence for me is The Mayan Calendar. Through her excellent Mayan Calendar Code website, Andi Mac teaches how this fascinating 5,000 year old calendrical system tracks the evolution of consciousness & how it can help develop a pathway to genuine peace-of-mind.

Well, that was deep. I didn't intend to talk about that, but I guess if you are intending to start a new life abroad, it's not just about a new place, it's about a new attitude & outlook on life, so maybe you might like to take a look for yourself.


Update.
Since getting onto this subject, I decided to write another page to share
some of the many important influences which have helped me to change my outlook on life
. If you ever thought there was a greater importance or meaning to your life, then click the link above to find out more.


It's time for me to wrap things up now, as I've been writing for two days & am about to fall asleep (you probably are too :-). Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed reading "New Life Abroad" as much as I've enjoyed writing it. If you have & you'd like to read about Jasmine's, Lorraine's & my adventures in the future, please sign up for our Free Moving Overseas Newsletter so you learn when the next episode of New Life Abroad is published. I reckon Lorraine will be writing the next one so perhaps it won't be quite so long winded.

If you'd like to send me a message to comment or ask me about anything, you can do so from our Contact Page

Görüsürüz
Pete


Return to Episode 2 or continue to Episode 4

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