Category Archives: Turkey Living

We’ve Been Hacked!

Some of you may be experiencing difficulty accessing our main agency website – www.myturkishhome.com. Fear not – it appears that someone has gone into our website with a great big machete and done a seriously major hacking job!!

I think it is going to take some time to sort out so do please be patient with us. In the meantime please be reassured that MTH is still open for business, taking your calls and emails, and is not going anywhere.

If you need to contact us then you can call the office direct on 00 90 256 8132330, or drop us an email at info@myturkishhome.com.

Home baby home!

Can it really be over nine months since I added to this blog. As I may have mentioned I was pregnant with baby number 4, and I think once the new year set in my brain went into meltdown and all attempts at anything even vaguely intellectual went out the window – even writing this now is like cranking up an old and rusty lawnmower!

Well Sofia Kitty made her entrance into this world back in April, and we’re back in Turkey for the time being where yours truly has abandoned the office once and for all and decided to enjoy these last few months of looking after a young baby as there will absolutely be no more.

And as I write, Kitty is rolling around on her floor blanket squealing into the hot wind coming in off the balcony. The other three are on their last hour of summer school before the Bayram holidays next week, then countdown to the start of the school year again. The new school term will hopefully coincide with a cooling off of temperatures, enabling me to spend more time in the garden – am a definite fair weather gardener – anything too hot or too cold and I prefer to be indoors!

In the meantime, I am quite happy sitting in the breeze and playing footsie with my beautiful little girl.

Sofia Kitty

Unseasonably warm!

So while the rest of you are shivering in the UK snow, we are still basking in temperatures which are well into the 70′s. Have not even brushed down my lightweight winter coat yet  – even a cardigan can be too warm during the main part of the day! It is unseasonably warm. Thankfully so, as we have decided to only use our central heating in the very extreme of needs to try and save on electric bills. On cooler evenings we light the fire which blasts out enough heat to warm the main part of the house. And having dug up our wooden basement floor after a flood last year, we have a lot of it to burn! Other than that, my own internal heating system seems to be working overtime at the moment.

The weather has affected the garden as well – I think it believes that spring has come again. We have had flowers galore, the lilac has been flourishing for several weeks now, the geraniums have taken new roots, the lilies are sprouting again, the roses are budding and the bougainvillaw is as glorious as ever.

I rather wish I could feel some of that icy cold! It’d probably make me appreciate the continuing warmth that little bit more.

Two Christmases!

We have just got back from our Bayram holiday – a week at an all inclusive in Sarigerme, not far from Dalaman. The weather was so fantastic that we spent every day either by the pool, or on the beach – not bad for a November. Even coming back to Didim the weather has been hitting the early 20s – all very well but I want to wear my new Uggs, and it is just too hot!

The timing of Bayram this year meant that the country more or less closed down for a week. Every year this annual festival is 10 days earlier than the previous year, and as it has been out of season, it has been a good excuse for us to close the shop and relax for a few days. Though of course being in November, it makes it very close to Christmas, and even though I reside in a predominantly Muslim country, I could never even contemplate not celebrating Christmas as well, so in effect it has felt these last few years that Christmas definitely comes twice a year.

Bayram is as important to the Turks as Christmas is to us, and certainly offers the same commercial opportunities with which we are bombarded as soon as Guy Fawkes is over! Probably some of the biggest winners during this time are the mobile phone companies. Previous generations sent Bayram cards in the post, now the finger happy Turks send text messages to practically everybody in their mobile address books. Our holiday was peppered with the incessant bleeping of my husband’s mobile phone, receiving texts from just about everybody he has spoken with done business with or just passed by in the street with a curt nod. Multiply this constant beleeping with the number of mobile phone possessing, phone obsessing Turks the world over, and you have some very happy phone companies!

It was a good week. We took a package which included two concerts featuring Gunes Gundes, and the favourite uncle of all Turkey, Ibrahim Tatlises, who has been serenading Turkey for as long as I have been on this earth. This ex-construction site worker is a self made millionaire loved by millions, and to see him up close and personal is to truly understand how this level of professionalism and success cannot be manufactured. He has something special. 

Of course being an all inclusive was a bit of a waste for me. 21 weeks into the pregnancy and my stomach has is so squashed I cannot eat as much as I would like to have eaten, nor could I imbibe the vast quantities of free flowing wine I would normally have enjoyed! Still, at least my husband made up for it!

GOLFING DECISION PUTS DIDIM UNDER PAR!

Copy of article that appeared in Voices Saturday 9th Oct 2010 

Kate Ashley-Norman – My Turkish Home

 Like many who have invested both time and money in Didim, I am bitterly disappointed with the decision not to go ahead with the golf course. I don’t know any specific facts and figures about what golf could bring to the region, but it does not take an idiot to know that golf attracts serious spending from serious spenders.

I worked for many years in the window industry where the major decision makers (particularly when the times were good), would regularly go off for golfing weekends – 4 day jollies on expenses when business relations were sealed, deals were struck and much merriment was made. Some evenings were spent in the hotel, others on evenings out in the local town’s bars and restaurants. There was no denying the much welcome revenue these spenders brought to the local areas. Corporate golfing is an international industry in itself.

Now I am not a golfer, but I do know that the destinations of these golfing trips were often chosen through word of mouth and reputation of the resort. A Didim golf course was to be the perfect opportunity to bring Didim and Altinkum into the 21st century of serious moneyed tourism.

These same people, contacts that I have maintained and cultivated for well over a decade now, often spoke to me about their wish to visit, and possibly invest, once the golf course was up and running. A three and a half to four hour plane journey was viewed with no more trepidation for a long weekend jolly than a road trip from London to Manchester. A £50,000 2-bedroom apartment was considered exceptional value compared to the quarter of a million many of the Spanish and Portuguese resorts were demanding. £30-50 a head restaurant bills represented excellent value when it came to wining and dining potential million pound contracts. None of this is now going to happen. As much to their disappointment as mine.

Of course, the loss to my business is going to hurt. But more importantly is the loss to the town as a whole. As many who have read my articles over the last eighteen months will know, I always air on the side of optimism. I am excited and impassioned by the massive progress made during the rapid growth of a once small fishing village, I always prefer to give the benefit of the doubt, and can see both sides to any argument. Rome was not built in a day, but Didim is not far off.

But I do believe that we are maybe at a crossroads where there are many strands of development that need to be brought together if the town is not to lose its forward momentum. And with the current council incumbents hanging around in no man’s land, I am not sure who is able to make any proactive decision.

You see, Didim is not just a town of holidaymakers and second-homers. The town also houses schools, hosptials, banks, supermarkets, humdrum everyday businesses which give daily sustenance to humdrum everyday lives – nurses, orderlies, doctors, teachers, council workers, blue and white collar workers who keep the wheels of Didim’s 40,000 strong population well oiled in Turkey’s own indefatigable manner. These people are creating a stronger, deeper community from the roots of tourism. Historically towns grow around a single industry source, and the only way they can survive if these wobble is to diversify out from this single source.

Tourism is to Didim what steel manufacturing was to Sheffield. I saw the golf course as a serious step to diversifying away from the bucket and spade tourism into new markets.

The world may be in recession and people all over the globe are having to tighten their belts, but that does not stop a stupid decision being a stupid decision for the long term prosperity of a community as a whole.

I was having a little fantasy the other day while sat in the Didem language school awaiting the arrival of my Turkish teacher. The classroom overlooks the waste ground opposite the governor’s house – a dry and arid patch of prime land that floods in winter, and offers no active municipal use.  I have always been told that this area was to be the town ‘marching parade’, but to date nothing has been done with it.

In my fantasy I had the power to develop that waste ground into a thriving city centre park and covered summer/winter play area for kids of all ages, with tree covered walkways, shady tea gardens. In my fantasy it became a busy halfway house between town centre and beach resort which brought another dimension to Didim life.

There are so many more simple changes which I believe would make a world of difference to the town. As a Brit in possession of a kimlik, am I eligible to stand for mayor?

I would promise you one thing – I would make darn sure those men at the Ministry of Tourism thought again about scrapping our golf course.

Nihayet….!

Finally…! I have finally booked myself onto an intensive course of Turkish in a bid to get to grips with this infernal language once and for all.

I’m not a complete novice – I can hold my own in basic conversations, shops, asking for help etc. But really, after nearly 10 years of being here, I really should be pretty fluent by now. And it is not as if I am a language novice – I am fairly fluent in French and have learnt a smattering of both German and Russian. It is more a case of not being able to think like a Turk, and not getting to grips with the rythm of the language.

So I took it upon myself to book a series of intensive one on one classes at the Didem language school here in Didim.

And I wish I had done it years ago.

Years of self teaching and half watching the various ‘dizis’ (soap operas) in Turkish has given me a grounding and good understanding, but to actually hold a conversation during which I can make intelligent observations other than everything being ‘cok guzel’ has long been beyond my reach. During the two hours of my first lesson I made more progress than I have done during the last few years.

Of course it may be another story in a few weeks. I shall no doubt hit that brick wall of learning and wonder whether I will actually break through the barriers of mere communication to actual indepth understanding and knowledge, but I have got the bug again, and am determined.

Back to the rituals of home

So did I enjoy my wet August back in the UK? – possibly for a short while, but I must be honest the novelty wore off after a while! I was quite pleased to get back to the blue skies and warmth that will embrace my life here in Didim for the next few months.

It is always good to come back home after an extended (one month) period away. I love catching up with family and friends, but it is difficult being a guest for such a long time. I stay in my old childhood home. We have a fab back garden which is great, and safe, for the kids… if they actually manage to get out there between rain showers. I try and sneak off at least once to do some late night shopping in that temple of consumerism – the shopping mall – and follow it with the same old dishes in my favourite Thai restaurant. The Saturday night curry takeaway has been de rigeur in my family household since we were kids, and the tradition has not changed 45 years on! These are all the things I miss when I am in Turkey – family rituals that give comfort and familiarity and a sense of belonging.

But them being away too long makes me miss those rituals that Yildiray and I have created in or own home. Rituals that arise out of the daily routines of our life here in Turkey – work, the children, meals round the table, favourite trips out, plans for the future. This is the family home that we are creating, that I hope will be as secure and comfortable as that my own parents created for us.

Give me some rain!

It is most definitely officially hot now.

It is the kind of hot when I can’t hold the steering wheel properly without burning my hand.

It is the kind of hot when any form of human skin on skin contact results in a slithering sweaty mess (and I am referring to kids on knees, not the other form of contact!).

It is the kind of hot which scrambles your brain, hurts your eyes, and makes you want to sleep – except that it is too hot to sleep!

Perfect holiday weather – if all you need to worry about is sliding from your sun lounger to the pool and back again, taking in a few sips of cold Efes beer every now and again. In these circumstances the weather is spot on.

Living and working and trying to lead a normal life between children, grocery shopping, work and keeping the house clean, then the heat can become a bit too much. August is normally when I like to escape to the UK, and right at this moment I cannot get there quick enough. I fantasise about rain, grey skies, and slipping into a warm, snuggly duvet at night.

To be honest though, I enjoy it, probably because when I get back to my Yesilkent villa at the start of September I shall have at least another 2-3 months of warm, sunny, delightfully bearable weather to look forward to… days when you wake up and the skies are blue and sunny, you step out into a warm sun, but you can feel that hint of autumnal crispness in the air. That is my favourite kind of warmth!

And another falls for Turkey’s charms!

My mother and I waved off my cousin and her three children this morning. They had spent a week’s holiday out here at my mother’s invitation (staying in her apartment on the Aegean Pine Village site inYesilkent.)

Like so many people I speak to, she had never been to Turkey before and actually had no idea whatsoever what to expect. And she absolutely loved it. The kids were happy, which meant she was happy and could relax and enjoy her holiday. All being well she is booked in again for next summer.

So many people have no idea as to what to expect when considering Turkey as a holiday destination. Benidorm like high rise hotel ghettos is a prevalent image.

The reality is so different, and it is always heartening to see how much people are pleasantly surprised to see lush green streets, low rise buidings, azure blue seas and beaches which are clean, sandy and on a truly human scale.

So any Turkey-virgins out there get in touch and come out and try the place. I think that you may well be hooked too.

Here’s a question for you. I would appreciate any comments!

I received an enquiry from someone this week who had purchased a 1-bedroomed apartment last year and was thinking about selling to find another with a sea view. Common enough situation.

He had come through one of our agent websites, in reponse to a complex in Altinkum we list.

I contacted him and suggested that we migh be interested in a part exchange with one of our Olive Gardens duplexes if he was interested in sea views. I pasted in the website link so that he could check out the photos and prices.

About half an hour later he called me. He asked what the deal was. I explained that we would take his original apartment as a downpayment on the duplex for the original price that he paid (excluding buying costs). He would then pay the balance on the duplex price. He then got extremely angry with me and hung up.

I have cut and pasted now the resulting emails:

From him:

hi there

                 ive never been so humiliated by a pathetic offer as yours, no wonder you can not sell, you should be reported. i will be letting people knw about your offers on all turkish websites on the internet.

From me:

Dear O
 
I am sorry you feel this way. You asked what we could offer. I think that offering the same price for your apartment as you had originally paid last year as a part exchange in order to upgrade what you currently have is a valid and fair offer.
 
Kind regards
 
Kate Ashley-Norman 
kate

            dont be so ridiculous, you dont buy a property to resell at the same price, what world do you live in ???. your offer was more then pathetic. absolute criminal.
 as i said i will be letting people know about you and your website and your pathetic offers in part exchange, its  people and companys like you that need to be exsposed to the buying public. i will deffinitley make sure you get some bad reviews and press.
 and will be warning many people to stay away from you and your website .
mr k

Mr K
 
I made a simple suggestion as a solution to a possible change I believed you wanted to make. You did not accept my offer. I have not harmed you in any way. I do not understand why you are so angry. It would be much simpler just to say no thank you and walk away.
 
There are people in today’s world market who are selling for less than they paid for a property (not just in Turkey).
 
There are people in Turkey who have paid for a property and have had it taken away from them. This is criminal.
 
We have people coming to us who willingly upgrade their properties, giving their original back as part exchange. They are happy. We are happy. We simply relieve them of the burden of selling their original property in a difficult market. Where is the problem in that.
 
Again, I very much regret that you are so upset.
 
Kind regards
 
Kate Ashley-Norman
excuse me

                   just take a look at your offer i replied to, you have a photo of a seaview flat clearly stating underneath it in writing its a 1 bed apaprtment asking price £33,000,
 and you then replied back to me with an offer of a possible exchange, so as far as im concerned you have a 33,000 pound appartment 1 bed seaview wanting to exchange for my 1 bed apaprtment.

you then turn around and say its a 3 bed duplex appartment ?? so whats happened to this 1 bed appartment i replied to ???with the seaview photo ????

what are you playing at kate, your misleading people with your advertising and photos.

and this is what i will be telling everybody on the internet what you are doing. apart from other lies you told me  utter disgraceful people like you should be in prison.

Ha ha ha ha ha haha
 
Best laugh I have had all year!
oii

           have a look on the internet try google, about yourselves website. then you wont be having best laugh of year hahaha. conman conwomen. robbing the public misleading not good at all cheerio.

bad reviews bad press thats what your getting.phone number logged as well.

 

Now, is it just me or does anyone think this gentleman is slightly over-reacting? I simply offered him what he paid for originally – does this make me a criminal fit only for the slammer? Have I conned this gentleman not having taken a single penny from him? Is it my fault if he has not understood te nature of what I was offering?

You see, agents are always maligned for being con artists. But it is this sort of abuse that crops up now and again which really makes my blood boil. Anyone who knows me will know that I work hard to maintain a positive and transparent future for Didm. I write openly in the Voices, use this blog, contribute occasionally to the TL forum. We look after our clients and have never abandoned anyone. Yet I get this type of abuse from someone who only needed to say thanks but no thanks.
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