i didn’t know what to write about as I could easily write a post ranting about how crazy my MiL makes me. But her hearts totally in the right place and she’s a good woman so it seems unfair. So I thought I’d just write about what I did today.
So Omer woke up at 6:30 to pick up a man from the local town to come and work at ours for the day. He’s going to skim the outside of the extension. A full day’s work will earn him around 100YTL (£25ish) with meals included. I went back to sleep as I find the days long and the earlier I get up the more I’ll have to do. Lazy I know. When I say I went back to sleep, I mean, I dozed on and off. My family here have absolutely no consideration for anyone sleeping. They’re banging pans, bickering with each other, shouting at the chickens and generally making a real clatter. I used to think it’s because they wanted me to wake up earlier, but to be honest they do it when they wake up at 4am for morning prayers. Being quiet just isn’t a thing here.
Anyway I woke up at 8:30, got up, showered (no hot water yet as the solar heaters hadn’t had enough sunshine) and went into the kitchen where the women were about to tuck into breakfast. The workman and omer had already had theirs. My husband’s Aunt and her daughter had stayed overnight so along with my mother and sister in law, that made five of us. We had olives, egg, sausage, yoghurt, clotted cream, pastries, fried peppers, fried potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onion, honeycomb, butter, jam and bread and of course lots of tea. I then washed the breakfast dishes whilst the other women got on with other housework. Sounds simple enough right? The plumbing on the sink is really poor and the water takes forever to drain away. So any slops and as much used water as possible goes into a bucket, which is taken outside and used in the garden at several intervals depending how many dishes there are to wash. It’s a right pain, plus the fact that Turkish people have a very precise way of washing their dishes which I’m sure I’ll have describe elsewhere. Needless to say it involves LOTS of water, rinsing, soap suds and more rinsing. If there’s no one in the room I’ll try and get away with simple English style!
After that I played with my niece for a little while. We went and picked some ‘Erik’ from the garden until my MIL told me we had picked enough. Then we checked on whether there were any eggs laid in the old house, (they were in the process of laying). I generally tried to stay out the house with my niece for a while. Omer and the workman plus two other male relatives were working outside the front door. They handmix the cement which involves a hose running from the bathroom outside and them shouting ‘turn the water on/off’ as required. It was like that all day. I would try to discreetly nip to the loo and unplug the hose and they’d be outside shouting ‘someone turn the water on!’.
At one point my MiL and aunt were off out to visit someone and so asked my niece to nip to the local shop to pick up some fruit and cola to take with them. I said I was going to go too as it’s only about a minutes walk away but I’ve never actually been and I’m intruiged as to how it is. Anyway the whole family came together to say no, it wouldn’t be right, everyone in the village would be looking at me, it would cause a stir. It makes me feel suffocated and means I’m completely reliant on other people if I want to go anywhere. I hate that. It’s completely opposite to my life in the UK. Part of me thinks I should just go and sod them, but then part of me thinks I’d be causing a lot of grief and at the end of the day I’m leaving here, they’re not.
As I mentioned the workmen get fed and watered as part of their terms so when we went back inside it was time to start in food. It was quite nice, my heavily pregnant sister in law, 12 year old niece and I were cooking away in the kitchen whilst my MiL and aunt went to see an ill woman in the village to wish her well. I let my niece have full reigns with my iPhone music, so we were chopping and cutting away to alsorts of random songs. Between us we made chicken, rice, a mince based ratatouille type dish, ayran soup, Turkish salad and taş ekmek which is a tower of pancakes sliced into squares drizzled with a butter and grape sugar sauce.
We then lay the table up for the men in the extension and everyone got annoyed as the cat I adopted last year when I was here kept coming in. My MiL and I don’t mind it but everyone else does because it keeps trying to come into the house. We feed it every day, my MiL takes over when I’m not here, and it sleeps in the old house with the chickens in the evening. My sister in law gets annoyed as I sneak fresh cheese or the best part of the yoghurt out to it. It only has one eye which I think is the main reason I took it on, I thought it wouldn’t stand a chance but I’m proud to say it made it all the way through the winter.
Once the men had finished I heard my MiL calling me to clear away the table. Now since I’ve been here I have been cleaning the house better than I clean my own, washing dozens upon dozens of dishes, making numerous trays of tea, cooking food, laying breakfast and getting the family bedding out in the evening (mainly so my 9 month pregnant sister in law isn’t heaving it about), but I’m doing all that off my own back because I want to help, it fills my time and also gives me a bit of exercise. Anyway the point is, the minute I’m told to do something you can forget it. The daughter in law traditionally does most of the cleaning/cooking/housekeeping etc and it’s bloody hard work with very little in return. I’ve made it very clear that I’m not that sort of daughter in law. I’ll certainly help but I won’t be ordered. Anyway I just ignored her and left the men to clear the table. We then ate and it was really delicious. I did the washing up again.
After lunch the women started getting potatoes, cocktail sticks, matches, water glasses and a candle out. Totally confused, I later realised they were ‘cupping’. They slice the potatoes, stick a cocktail stick in it, light the cocktail stick place the potatoe on wherever hurts on your body then the glass over it to create a vacuum sucking the skin up into the glass. The premise behind it is the suction caused blood to pool in the affected area and encourage healing in the affected area. They asked if I wanted to have a go. I did because it meant I could lie down. I let them do it three times to my leg so I could lie for longer. Can’t say I feel a difference but I told them I did because I’m evidently a ‘yes’ person. I’ve since been told that normally, after they take the cups off, they use a razor blade to nick the area and do a bit of blood letting. Luckily for me they had no razors in.
Tea break time, so I out together a tea tray for the workmen, tea glasses, saucers, tiny silver spoons, sugar cubes, lemon slices and a bowl of nuts and seeds. I let my sister in law make up the double tea pot and take it out to them. It’s been warmer today which I thinks make me tired so I went into the lounge to read for a bit but fell asleep for about an hour. I woke up covered with a blanket. My sister in law had returned the favour as I’d covered her earlier when she’d fallen asleep whilst I did the dishes. If I didn’t do them she would, and she’s due any day. I think it’s too muchfor her but then I’m childless as everyone keeps pointing out here, so what do I know? On that subject, word on the street here is that we haven’t had children because I don’t want any. Obviously because I’m a European woman and we European women don’t cherish family or home life, we just want careers and loose morals (says said word on the street) . I would love to know who started that rumour off.
It’s 8:30pm now, my aunt and niece have gone, as has the workman so it’s just the four of us, omer, me my sister in law and my MiL. It’s all gone quiet and I’m hoping we don’t have any last minute guests as I’m tired and so is everyone else.
Anyway I’m hoping to read for a bit then get an early night ready to see what tomorrow brings.
I’ve only been out twice since I’ve been here – once to my sister in laws the day after we got here, and once to the hospital with her to pick up some blood test results. I think I’ve become institutionalised. I nipped outside the house boundary earlier this evening to see how the outside walls were looking. It was like a little snapshot of freedom. Then I saw two huge dogs coming along the road, nearly pooed myself and scurried back inside.