Monthly Archives: November 2013

Focus on Fethiye

It’s so hard to concentrate on the day-to-day stuff when your head is in the clouds (possibly literally at the moment, looking at some of the weather forecasts for southern Turkey).

We have a business we need to keep going. We have jobs to do around the house to get it ready for sale. Not to mention all the other bits and pieces of everyday life – looking after the kids, cooking, cleaning, shopping. You know what I mean.

But my heart and my mind are already in Fethiye. I just want to up sticks and go. I’d far rather spend time planning how we’re going to get the cats over there, work out whether I can take my slow-cooker and make a decision on what to do with that very delicate but beautiful vase we got as a wedding present than…..well, pretty much anything, really.

I keep telling myself that it won’t be long until we’re there for good, but the next few months still stretch out interminably before me.

At this point I’d like to pay public tribute to Steve, who really is the stronger one of us at the moment. He knows what needs to be done and he’s doing it; not that he doesn’t want to get moving any less than I do, he’s just better able to focus on the here and now than I am. He’s being brilliant.

As for me – I’ll keep kicking myself onwards like a particularly obstinate mule, interspersing Turkey-related tasks with domestic necessity.

We’ll get there. Eventually.

RP

 

Passports & Paperwork

I had a bit of an anxious moment earlier this week which seems (crosses fingers) to be unfounded.

After checking our passports, I realised that our daughter’s expires in May 2015. I’d read that in order to get a 12-month residency in Turkey, you needed 14 months left on your passport – which means we’d need to apply for hers in March next year at the latest. As that might not be possible, we obviously need to renew it first.

Except when I looked into it….. Well, to me at least, this page on the Government website makes it pretty clear. You can’t renew a child’s passport until there’s nine months or less left on it. That means we can’t renew until September 2014.

Hence the panic. She wouldn’t have enough time left on her passport to qualify for residency, but her three-month tourist visa would have expired before we could get the renewal.

I decided to call the Passport Office. After all, we can’t be the only family that has ever been in this situation. The chap I spoke to was lovely and I can’t fault the service. He told me that I can apply for her new passport any time and they’d add on up to nine months, the same as for an adult document.

“You’re sure?” I asked. “Even though she’s under 16?” Yes, he replied. It was something that a lot of people got confused about.

Having looked at the website, I’m not surprised. It’s certainly how I read it.

But as it seems my fears are unfounded, I’m headed for the Post Office this weekend to pick up a renewal form. Might as well get it done quickly while turnaround times are shorter.

The next task might prove more difficult, though. I need to persuade my daughter to get her hair out of her eyes in order to get an acceptable photograph taken…. Wish me luck.

RP

More Than Just A Dream

It’s beginning to feel a little more real now. Even though we’ve been talking about this for a while and have started to tell people what we’re up to, it’s still intangible. “Next summer” is a long way in the future.

But because we’re putting firm plans in place, it’s suddenly more immediate. We’ve had a meeting with our accountant to ensure the business is all set up correctly and can continue to provide an income. We’ve got together with the web designer to talk about how we need a new site to reflect the changes.

We’ve got firm notes in the diary to talk to the vet, the bank, the removals company, the estate agent….. and we’ve discussed the logistics of actually getting three of us (plus two cats) over there if we sell the house the minute it goes on the market but we still need to be here for six months. (Wishful thinking on our part, possibly, but fingers crossed.)

It’s all rather exciting, to be honest, and it’s great to have this adventure taking shape in our minds properly, rather than remaining as some kind of ethereal spirit that it would be quite nice to grab hold of at some stage.

One thing that does remain a concern is the law change around applying for residency. The new rules – or costs – still haven’t been confirmed, but the basics seem to be that, after April 1, you have to apply via the consulate in your own country and you can only get one year, maximum. We’re wondering whether it’s worth rushing things on a bit so that at least one of us can get in ahead of the deadline….but then there may be other implications for us given we’ll be seeking family residency.

Another thing to investigate, and a very helpful person on one of the online forums has provided a contact who should be able to help. Watch this space….

We Need to Talk…

Ok, this is stating the obvious – but if we’re going to live in Turkey, we need to make an effort to get to grips with the language.

Actually, I say it’s obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many ex-pats go overseas and think they can stick with the usual Brit approach of speaking very slowly, in English, and simply repeating themselves at an ever-increasing volume when they’re not understood.

Because we’re going to a tourist area and one which does have a lot of English people living there, the move to Fethiye might not be as difficult as it could be, Most of the locals seem to have a pretty good grasp of our language (and certainly much better than ours on Turkish).

But there’s a difference between being somewhere as a temporary visitor and living there permanently. Not only that, but we want to be part of the community. It’s not a case of simply transporting our life in the UK to somewhere warmer and staying in our ivory tower – we want the culture, the way of life. We want to integrate. There’s a chance we could end up living in one of the villages or outlying areas, in which case just knowing a few key phrases – “Where is the toilet?” “May I have two beers?” – won’t cut it.

So, with this in mind, we got together with two dear friends who are also making the move. Yes, we began with the basics – greetings, numbers, that kind of thing. And we had a fun evening – some food, some wine, lots of laughs – and did learn a few words. But we also realised how much we don’t know, and that we probably need some expert – native – help if we’re to really progress.

I’ve always liked languages and been quite good at them, but it’s true what they say – it’s a lot harder when you’re older. We’ve got a couple of ideas to find someone who can help, and in the meantime I guess I’ll revert to my school days and try and learn a few words and phrases parrot-fashion.

The next time I get the opportunity, I also need to make sure I actually use what I’ve learned. It’s like anything – you can study it, understand the principles and, in theory, be quite good. But if you don’t put it into practice you’ll never improve and never really get to grips with it.

Some of that will come once we’re our there and speaking Turkish on a daily basis, I’m sure. For now, it’s back to the phrase book.

Wish us luck. Until next time – güle güle!

RP

Hi honey, I’m home…..

Last week, I went home. I don’t care where I was born or where you might consider my hometown to be – my heart and my soul belong to Fethiye.

From the moment I stepped off the plane at Dalaman Airport, I knew I was in the right place – and I can’t pretend I wasn’t relieved. It had been a while since my last visit and I was nervous that Turkey had acquired a rose-tinted veil in my subconscious. What if it wasn’t as beautiful as I remembered? What if I didn’t feel as comfortable or at ease? What if my inner self – the instinct, the core of conviction we know we should heed – whispered that, actually, moving there was a mistake?

I needn’t have worried. The place, the people, the food, the music – it was all every bit as wonderful as I remembered. All I could think was how much I longed to stay and, just an hour after arriving, I was already dreading the day I’d have to leave.

This isn’t a tourist site. I’m not going to recommend bars or restaurants or tell people where to visit. (That said, Fethiye Fish Market is an absolute must; if you ever get invited to a Turkish wedding then you really should take the opportunity; and if you fancy a boat trip then make sure you go with Captain Tommy and tell him I sent you.)

One of my most poignant moments came on the Sunday, as I lay on Olu Deniz beach. It was perfect – a cloudless blue sky, 26C temperature, gloriously warm sea. I lay on my sunbed, read my Kindle and watched the paragliders drift down to earth from Babadag mountain. The only thing missing was my family, and that made me want to cry.

But the week wasn’t just a holiday – it was for fact-finding, information-gathering, making friends and contacts. I’ve learned that the best way of finding out anything is definitely to get out there on the ground and do it in person. I’ve already started online research of course – made virtual friends on the ex-pat forums and websites, asked questions and received some valuable answers. But you can’t beat being there.

As an example, let’s take finding a home. I’ve seen posts online from people looking for long-term lets. I’ve seen them repeated when nobody responds. If I’m honest, this made me a little anxious. What if we couldn’t find anywhere?

Now, I know it won’t be a problem. There are plenty of places available – you just need to know where to look. Maybe it sounds obvious, but while it’s all very well to Google ‘homes for rent in Fethiye’, if the estate agent’s website is in Turkish, it’s not going to show up.

I was very lucky to meet some wonderful Turkish people in Kayaköy, where I was staying – in fact, they are now friends. Having them on-side will make some of what we have to do that much easier and I’m already planning a return trip in a couple of months to sort out some of the necessary admin.

I can’t wait. I was so close to simply not getting on the plane home, and I wish I could wind time forward six or eight months……or maybe I’ll draw up a chart and tick off the days as they go by, as a child might do for Christmas.

One thing is for sure – if there had ever been the slightest doubt, it’s gone – my future is in Fethiye.

RP