I had left my man in Istanbul at the end of November 2003 and initiated operation get back to Turkey as soon as possible. I was working full time in Boots and had made loads of new friends that would often regret asking me if I had a boyfriend (cue long story and possible tears). Everyone knew of my Turkish love and I can only imagine what was said behind my back.. probably poor, innocent bitch. It was around this time that I began to learn of the reputation of Turkish men, I had been unaware till then but Take a Break magazine filled me in on the heartbreak of a holiday romance stealing all your money or becoming insanely religious and violent. I wasn’t bothered as I hadn’t a pot to piss in; the bank wouldn’t even loan me €1000 (I asked) and I still lived at home. Religion was not an issue as we were both atheists and would spend our (hugely expensive) phone time touting it as the root of all evil. As for violent… my husband will carry a spider outdoors to safety and can’t watch the news without tearing up.
I had a ticket booked for early April but as Christmas approached I decided I couldn’t wait that long and cashed in all presents for a 2 week sabbatical in February which would include Valentines and my birthday. Ossie is quite a shy person and would hate the thought of a big reunion in the middle of the street with an audience so he asked me to ring him from the taxi and he would meet me somewhere close and carry my case to his flat. However, when I tried to call him my battery died and so I had to get out of the taxi and drag my suitcase up one of the main shopping streets to where he worked. I could see how painful it was for him to deal with my brazen scattiness… an ongoing issue. He ushered me into the privacy of his flat and then gasped at my size 8 frame; I had been a 14 the last time I saw him. I was delighted with myself, flexing my muscles while he lamented my no boobs/bum situation. During my stay I was approached by an Irish girl living in Kusadasi who had a restaurant with her Turkish husband. She asked if I would like a job that Summer running a creche on the beach…there were other details but my mind was racing forward… a job, money, the beach, Ossie…. YES!!!!!
I had another 3 flight journey home but my spirits were good, I would be back in 2 months and I had secured a dream job.
I went back to Boots for the couple of months and pissed everyone off with my fabulous plans and one-foot-out-the-door-ness. Strangely enough I got staff member of the month for March (my customer service was amazing as I was beaming constantly and even customers who poked me in the back, saying ‘scuse me got a pleasant smile). They gave me a bunch of flowers, jewellery and the bikini I’d been raving about for weeks. I was so sad to leave but they said I could have my job back in the Winter if I wanted it so all was good.
Ossie had found it difficult to secure somewhere to rent but had come through in the end. It was a cute little apartment that had great views of Kusadasi. The only problem was that it was on a giant hill. I turned up to the restaurant to report for duty and there was a slight change in my job description. The creche thing didn’t pan out so would it be ok for me to go on the back of a moped with one of the waiters and hop off if I saw any tourists, giving them a card for the restaurant and no harm in having a chat with them and a little bit of hassle never hurt anyone…. Arggghh what????
This was a nightmare for me on so many levels but I was too polite to decline. I asked about payment and I was pooh-pooed… in a let’s not embarrass each other kind of way. I did this for a few days and I was really bad at it and told them I really couldn’t continue and so I was told to go to the beach every day and chat to people there. This sounds good in theory but it was so hard to make conversation with strangers and then expose an ulterior motive. I got disheartened and just sunbathed (poor me). I once got talking to an Irish woman in her 60s that was really upset because her 20 year old Turkish boyfriend wanted a new phone for him and his brother and she was trying to get a loan to pay for them and didn’t know what to do. I was like “are you for real?” I told her that she was being used and needed to go home to her family and sort out her life. She was really grateful and took my number. I began to see a strange guy watching me from then on and got loads of horrible calls so I told Ossie and he went mad, I was still so new to a different culture and had much to learn. Ossie brought my phone to the police and they warned the guy off and that was the end of that but I learned never to mess in anyone’s relationship again, no matter how fucked up it was and believe me, I’ve seen couples that would curl your toes.
At night I would go to the restaurant and they would lament at the lack of customers and ask how many people I had spoken to. I was at breaking point and 2 things happened that forced my hand. They asked me to do a pub quiz… but I had to write the questions and be quiz master. I went to an internet cafe and compiled the questions but I was terrified as I had never done any public speaking before and it was an outdoor place right opposite where Ossie worked so he would have prime view of the carnage. I got so nervous that night that I did multiple shots and ended up slurring my way through the entire thing.
At this point my Mam decided enough was enough and she needed to visit to see what the hell her daughter was involved in and she arrived out with my sister and my niece who was only 3 at the time. When the restaurant got wind of my Mam coming out they put in a huge duty free order that came to over €100… my Mam wasn’t impressed and kept saying, I’d better get paid for this. She delivered the booze and when I asked for the money they looked surprised and said “she can eat here free until the debt is cancelled“. She pursed her lips and told me she didn’t like the food. I was a complete pussy because I didn’t speak up. After 3 days they arrived with a bill for her breakfast saying the debt was clear and now she owed them money! I began to be proactive and contacted Tracy a Sunworld rep and asked for a job. I was invited to the Sunworld office where I met the fabulous Dee from Cork who sympathised like she had seen this situation many times and offered me airport transfer work..I almost bit her hand off. I was thrilled to hand in my notice and I have yet to receive any payment for the 3-4 weeks of “work” I did in that place. I was facing an illustrious 4 seasons of rep work.. some stories to tell…