Spread the love

Last week most of my ex pat friends in Turkey were posting on Facebook about the copious amounts of asure forced on them by their Turkish neighbours. Commonly known as Noah’s ark pudding it’s said to be the oldest dessert in the world, made by Noah himself.

I must admit when I first started living in Turkey I was a bit bewildered when my neighbours brought round bowls of surprisingly tasty sick every November. With the main ingredients being chick peas, barley and pine nuts it’s easy to see why asure is likened to Marmite, you either love it or hate it.

One year I decided to try and make it myself, I slaved away for 2 days and produced a lot of goo that I generously distributed to my very lucky neighbours, I really don’t know if they ate it or stuck their wallpaper up with it!



Attack of the Turkish love rat

It’s my sad duty to announce the end of operation “Get Hasan to the UK”, my quest to help get my Turkish husband a visa to live in England with me.

I have too much dignity to write about the details but suffice to say I have been betrayed in the cruelest possible way. A month ago I discovered that for the last year my marriage has been a lie and the more I hear, I fear that the last five years have been a sham. The focus and aims of the last eighteen months have been destroyed.

At first I was devastated and heartbroken, but now I feel so angry at him, at her and at myself for being foolish enough to trust him for so long.

What shocks me the most is that I didn’t see it coming because I have been so blinded by love and working hard to help him get here.

The reason for this post? certainly not to slag off Turkish men, there must be some good ones somewhere.

I wanted to share what has happened as so many of my merry band of followers have supported me throughout this quest with lovely comments.

The name of my blog “Back to life” has taken on a new meaning now, originally it was a journey of recovery from illness to the land of working and living. Now I have another journey to make, to rebuild my life and move on.

I have fantastic support from my family and friends, they have been invaluable throughout this first month when the hurt was unbearable. I’m sure with their continued love and care I will get through this.

Bring me sunshine

I am ashamed to say this poor blog has been hopelessly neglected recently.

Work has got in the way of my writing and I just don’t seem to have the time. I have had plenty of ideas to write about but haven’t had any spare minutes to get them online.

But in just over a week I have some much needed time off from work and I’m going over to Turkey to see my lovely hubby. 

My holiday romance with my husband continues, having read the small print on the UK Border Agency website I have discovered that I need 6 months payslips and the corresponding bank statements proving my income. So it’ll be another 4 months before Hasan can even apply for his visa, as I’ve only been earning above the required salary for the last 2 months.

There is good news though, Hasan passed his English exam so that’s another thing ticked off the list.

So I’m off to soak up some lovely sunshine, recharge my batteries and hopefully get to spend some time with Hasan, he has to work 12 hour days but may have some days off.



Hanging on in there

The other night I was watching the film “The Lake House”, I’ve watched the film many times because I love it. But this time after it finished I felt really quite sad because of the parallels, (loosely), in my relationship.

For those of you who don’t know the film it’s a fantasy romance where the 2 lead characters, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, are having a relationship but they are separated by time, 2 years. They communicate by letter via the post box at the Lake house where they both live, a bit confusing,  eventually they do meet up in the same time zone and live happily ever after.

Obviously my hubby and I aren’t separated by time, we have the wonderful Skype to keep in contact and I can visit him when annual leave allows, but this living in different countries sucks. I never thought it would be this tough and it’s been made tougher by my HR department’s inability to get  my pay right. As a result I don’t have a valid payslip yet with my correct salary shown for Hasan’s visa application. I sometimes wonder whether we’ll be together over here at all much before Christmas.

I’m sure some of you out there are thinking why don’t I just go back and live with Hasan in Turkey, I know sometimes I think maybe it would be easier. But now I’ve recovered from my illness I want to work, I want to resume my nursing career, a job I love and we need the money. To work in Turkey I would need a work permit, you can only get a work permit for jobs Turks can’t do, there are plenty of  Turkish nurses so I wouldn’t get a permit to do that. I’m not interested in doing poorly paid illegal work, it’s not worth the risk of getting deported and I’m worth more than that.

I can’t face another boring winter with nothing to do and sometimes not enough money to heat the house because there is no work for Hasan. I can’t cope again with not seeing him in the summer when he does seasonal work from 8 in the morning till midnight or sometimes later. In order to have a comfortable life in Turkey you need to have money in the bank or get used to living hand to mouth like a student. I’ve already done that when I was actually a student and have no desire to live like that again.

Also I want Hasan to experience where I come from and my culture. I want him to meet the rest of my family and all my friends. I want him to get a British passport so that he can travel more  freely without having to get a visa. At the moment there’s not many places he can go without a visa, however there are plenty of war torn countries we could holiday in, I hear Syria is lovely this time of year!

I don’t think it’s too much to ask to share my life in my country for a while with the man I love.

But getting back to the film there is a scene where Keanu and Sandra meet at a party and dance to a Paul McCartney song. The song is just beautiful and the lyrics make me weep just a little bit.

Now Keanu and Sandra may not be your cup of tea but I have a soft spot for them, you could always just shut your eyes and listen to the music.





Life on the ocean wave

We woke up to a lovely, warm sunny day and decided to head out for a walk and a cup of tea.

We thought we would go to the cafe at the end of the causeway leading up to Pigeon island, so imagine our surprise when we discovered a building site where the cafe should have been.

The reason?…. the whole island was under restoration.

Pigeon Island or Guvercin Adasi is a small island by the port in Kusadasi, it’s surrounded by fortified walls and there is a small castle in the middle, all of which are being restored by an army of workers.

pigeon island

There has been a castle on the island since the  Byzantine era, it was rebuilt by the Ottomans and they used the island as a protection against pirate attacks.

Piracy in the Aegean Sea has been a problem for many many years. In ancient Cilicia, in south east Turkey, there was a community of pirates who terrorised the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. In 75 BC Julius Caesar was taking a voyage across the Aegean and was captured by Cilician pirates and was ransomed for 50 talents of gold, after his release he raised a fleet, captured the pirates and put them to death.

During the Ottoman period the most famous pirates of all time were the Barbarossa brothers, Ajur and Hizir. They were Barbary Pirates, so named because they hailed from Tunis, Tripoli and Algiers,  AKA the Barbary Coast.

From the 16th century a Barbary pirate’s primary goal, as well as plundering and pillaging, was the capture of white slaves for sale and use in North Africa.  An estimated 800,000 to 1.25 million people were captured as slaves between the 16th and 19th century.

The work is really coming along and it’s looking great. But I hope that they remember to build a cafe there so that the next time we feel like a cup of tea in a beautiful setting we’ll be able to go there.

Snip Snip

At the weekend, in Turkey, my hubby Hasan went to his cousin’s circumcision party, known as Sünnet.

It was an occasion of much merriment involving family and friends, food and dancing in the boy’s village.

In Muslim faith boys are circumcised and it symbolises their introduction to the Islamic faith and as a sign of belonging. The ritual can be done as early as up to 7 days of age or as late as the beginning of puberty, in Turkey the boys tend to be around the age of 6 or 7.

The boys are dressed up in a traditional costume and can be driven through their town or village accompanied by their family and friends beeping horns and banging drums.

The procedure is done by a doctor with local anaesthetic or sometimes none at all.




When researching for this post I became puzzled about the reasons behind this practice. Circumcision is not mentioned in the Qur’an and it teaches that Islam forbids the disfiguring of the body.

However the prophet Mohammed said, (according to his recordings in the Sunnah), that circumcision was akin to Fitrah, the natural cleanliness of man, which is essential in a Muslim male.

Whatever the religious reasons for it, it’s argued by some that being circumcised can bring health benefits such as the prevention of urinary tract infections, reduces the risks of sexually transmitted diseases and penile cancer.

I often wonder when I read about these customs in my husband’s land and culture, what I would do if we had a son together.

Would I consent to him having an unnecessary and potentially painful surgical procedure in the name of a religion I don’t share?

What do you think?


Being away from my hubby Hasan is very hard and I miss him terribly. We talk everyday on Facetime and on the phone, but it’ll never be the same as being together in the same place.

So when my next door neighbours daughter, Rhianne, went on holiday to Kusadasi I took the opportunity to send a present and a hand written card to Hasan, something for him to keep and read whenever he needs to. I think a hand written note is very special especially when the message is personal and written with love.

Hasan also used Rhianne to send a present back to me, he bought me a lovely bracelet and a new link for my Pandora bracelet. He didn’t send me a hand written note, but I know that he took his time to find me a gift that he knew I would love.

This time apart is so difficult, especially as the contract seems to be taking forever to arrange at the hospital, preventing me from progressing on the course as quickly as I would like. If I were busier with the course maybe I could cope better with not having Hasan with me. But until I’m working on the unit I can’t get stuck into my reflective assignment, because I need to reflect on something I experience during my nurse practice.

I have to keep reminding myself that I’m here away from Hasan to make a better life for us, so that he can have more opportunities than he does in Turkey.

I remind myself that everyday when I need a hug and a kiss from him and I miss him so much it hurts.

We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but we know our marriage is strong and we love each other very much.

So no matter how much harder it gets I just need to stay positive and carry on.

A grand day out

Usually Hasan and I will visit his parents together mostly because I need an interpreter as I can’t usually understand one syllable my in laws say. But I needed to drive from Marmaris to Kuşadası to deliver some belongings for a friend who was going there on holiday. After visiting some friends, dropping off the stuff and an overnight stay, I made my way on the long drive back to Marmaris.

Halfway home is Akçeşme  Village, the seat of my in laws and where my husband grew up. It’s a small village with 150 houses about 3km from the main road. There is not much in the village but houses, a couple of little grocery shops and a tea shop where my father in law was keeping watch for me. After he jumped in the car we made our way around to the house.

I must admit I was dreading it a bit because of the language barrier and because the other villagers have a tendency to come and stare at the foreigner. But I must say this time I had a very pleasant visit. We talked as much as my Turkish knowledge and her village accent/slang allowed and she made me some dinner. She made some lovely Turkish food; Gazatma- a dish of fried peppers, potatoes and aubergines topped with garlic yogurt and cooked tomatoes, and Sarma- vine leaves wrapped around a rice mixture, with some salad and chips….yum!

Another reason for the lovely visit, they are looking after our dog, Dab, so I had a bit of a play with him, drank some tea and bid them all farewell and set off for Marmaris.

I will definitely visit on my own again, it wasn’t nearly as bad as my mind was making it out to be.



Your chariot awaits

This holiday season my hubby, Hasan, will be working in a travel and car rental agency. He will be doing his best to convince as many tourists as possible that they cannot have a fantastic holiday without going on one or more of his trips. Of course they have heard it all before from many agents all desperate to sell as many trips as they can. Hasan has his work cut out but I have no doubt he will be excellent at it as he has the gift of the gab in abundance. But I thought I’d give him a little helping hand anyway by just writing this post about some of the trips he will be selling, and if anyone is holidaying in Icmeler or Marmaris this year maybe Hasan can help make that holiday a bit more exciting.

The Good day Tourism company offers the usual Turkish excursions such as jeep and horse safaris, Village life tours, Turkish nights and Turkish baths. The Marmaris area is so rich in interesting sights and holiday makers are spoilt for choice  for places to see and activities to do.

Here is a selection of the most popular:

The Dalyan tour includes a boat trip to see the Lycian Kings tombs, the turtle beach and ends with a wallow in the healing muds and a relax in the hot springs.

There are two water parks, Atlantis and Aqua Dream. nearby for all water babies young and old.

A boat trip going to Hisarönü to see the famous Kiz kumu.

The beautiful Gökova bay and the mountains is the place for rafting and diving adventures.

The Greek island of Rhodes is very near and there are daily boat trips. The boat gets into the harbour at 10.30 in the morning and leaves for Marmaris at 16.30, so the whole day is free for exploring the island. Rhodes town is considered to be one a the most beautiful towns in the Mediterranean, it is made of two parts the old medieval town and the new city. The Palace of Grand Master and the Monastery of Fileromos are both medieval sites built by the Knights of St John and both were reconstructed in the 20th century. On the island there is another monastery, Panagia Tsambika, the icon inside is thought to have miracle working properties. For ancient history lovers there is the Lindos acropolis which dates back to the Hellenistic period of history, nearby is the natural harbour where St Paul took refuge in a storm in 58 AD and from then on Christianity was established on the island. The Valley of the butterflies is a must for nature lovers, it’s a green valley full of Plane trees and running water making it a haven for butterflies to breed.

From Gökova bay a 2 hour boat trip goes to Cleopatra’s Island, legend has it that the sand on the beach was imported from the Red sea by Mark Anthony for Cleopatra and it squeaks under every step due to the grain’s unique shape. The trip allows 3 hours of free time to explore the island, as well as the beautiful beach there is an ancient amphitheatre and fortifications.

For travellers who don’t mind a longer journey and perhaps an overnight stay there are excursions to Pamukkale near Denizli and Ephesus near Kusadasi. Pamukkale means ‘cotton castle’ in Turkish and there is nowhere like it anywhere in the world. On top of a hill are pools of mineral deposits that can be paddled in, but a word of advice take great care as they can be very slippery under foot.  Very nearby is the ancient city of Hieropolis which in ancient Greek means ‘Sacred city’. In the sacred pool it’s possible to swim in the hot water along with ancient artifacts, the vapours from the water were thought to have come from Pluto the Greek god of the underworld. If swimming doesn’t appeal, feet can be dipped into the hot springs renowned for their healing properties. The city was established in the 4th century BC and is remarkably well preserved and has a very impressive amphitheatre.

Perhaps arguably the most famous and important ancient city in Turkey is Ephesus, situated between Selçuk  and Kuşadası this site is a must see for all visitors to the region. The site is crammed with very well preserved buildings, temples and roads and is well known for a great many things, here are a few; the first public toilets, the Library of Celsius, the huge amphitheatre and Cleopatra’s sister is said to be buried there. One of the seven wonders of the world, the Temple of Artemis is very near in Selçuk behind the museum, but only one column remains. In 42 AD the Virgin Mary and St. John visited Ephesus and Mary then settled up in Mount Bulbul nearby, the house is still there and is visited by millions each year.

As well as selling all of these wonderful trips the other part of the business, Aktif Rent a car, does what it says in the title….rents out cars on a daily, weekly, monthly or long term basis. If that’s not enough they also ferry tired and excited holiday makers to and from Bodrum, Izmir, Dalaman and Antalya airports.

Situated on the only main road leading straight down to the beach, sandwiched between a bag shop and a Real Estate office on the right hand side the office cannot be missed. They are very well placed to do extremely well this season and I wish them all the luck in the world.

Just passing through

Another story from my recent visit to the Marmaris area of Turkey.

A lot of the time when visiting places of interest that we read about in brochures, we drive straight through other lovely places without stopping on the way. When we decided to visit the ancient site of Amos we also made a conscious decision to stop off at any little village or town that took our fancy. After travelling down a very steep and winding road through the Taurus mountains we came across the little seaside village of Turunç.  The area was a continuous settlement from Helen to Byzantine times and from then on it’s been inhabited by many living off the the sea and the abundance of natural resources such as wild herbs and agriculture.

Now it is a pretty holiday destination, boasting beautiful clear waters, apartment hotels and a small but perfectly formed beach. It is still a working fishing village and has a food market every Monday. Dotted around the mountains there are blue boxes everywhere collecting pollen to make pine honey that is sold locally.

Our next trip to the ancient site of Cnidos took us through the town of Datça, we stopped there on the way back home. The town itself is not much to write home about and if you woke up there after arriving on a night flight you would think the travel agency was having a laugh sending you there on holiday. But after walking around a bit more we discovered a pretty harbour, 3 small beaches with beautifully clear water and a cake shop that serves the most lovely carrot cake. The Datça area boasts 9 villages scattered around the peninsula with lots of little bays and coves. It is also possible to take a ferry to Bodrum and the Greek island of Rhodes from the harbour. On the outskirts of the town there are a collection of old windmills, most of them are derelict but a couple have been renovated to make very quirky houses.

Our last port of call didn’t involve a stop off on route to another place, it was my last but one day so we just wanted to go for a drive somewhere. On the map I spotted what looked like a beach called Amazon, we followed a long winding road and ended up eventually at nothing really but a couple of wooden boating platforms. So we carried on around a dirt track that ran along the coast until it ended at the most beautiful bay in the Gökova National Park. There can be found the Amazon Club, a costly but interesting holiday centre with the best private beach.

There is still so much to see in the area and I can’t wait to explore some more, I’m planning another trip to see my hubby in May before I get stuck into the return to nursing course.

You can check out my posts on Amos and Cnidos here, History galore and Cnidos or Knidos whatever you prefer

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