This article was written for Fethiye Times by Sian Midgley
14 Days To Go
Despite it not being a requirement (no we don’t know why either) myself and mommy dearest decided to completely self isolate for 14 days on our return to the UK from New Zealand.
As this is the first time we’ve lived together in 33 years I’ve found myself automatically reverting back to the stroppy teenager I once was, except this time it’s a double whammy – now I’m not just a stroppy teenager, I’m a menopausal stroppy teenager! I’ve settled into the role quite easily though; spending more time than I should in my pjs and eating chocolate for breakfast.
Of course I worry about mum getting bored, after all she can only entertain herself by passing wind for so long. But she seems ok, having developed an obsession for knitting woolly hats. Although I realised I was getting on her nerves when she told me off one morning, quite sternly, for opening the curtains too loudly…it’s proving to be a long 14 days.
However, I’m finding ways to entertain myself. I start the day with a bit of exercise thanks to Koç Fitness running all their classes online. And before you ask, no I’ve not always managed to change from pjs to lycra beforehand! I’m catching up on all the rubbish TV I can’t get in Turkey, I’m making friends with the neighbour’s cat and I’m eating…a lot.
Fast forward two weeks and I finally find myself able to leave the house. I emerge from the front porch like a badger leaving its sett, a bear waking after hibernation, a butterfly emerging from its cocoon… I take a deep breath, which I intend to hold until I return from my trip to Morrisons, and off I go wearing those unfamiliar things we call shoes.
The highlight of my first taste of freedom was the sight of a beautiful young man waiting to be served in front of me at the till. For a minute I forgot I was 50, dressed in yesterday’s clothes and in need of a shower and a pit shave and smiled at him. He returned my smile with a huge grin and twinkly eyes…had I found the only cute young guy who had a penchant for scruffy middle aged women with excess body hair and a faint whiff about them? Maybe, but unfortunately the two metre ban had me at a disadvantage and he was gone.
After this crushing disappointment I returned home, having stocked up on the essentials, quite happy not to go out into this strange new world again for another week.
Miles From Home
Of course, I’m not the only one who didn’t make it back to Turkey in time. We quite often hear the word ‘stupid’ when people refer to those of us ‘stuck’ away from home. We had plenty of warning this was going to happen didn’t we? Well the word ‘surprised’ might be more accurate – no-one; not me, not the airline industry, not the Government, actually expected or predicted that everything would shut down quite so speedily or for almost all flights to cease quite as quickly as they did. Hindsight is a wonderful thing as they say.
I Am Not Alone
To pass the time I’ve been catching up with friends who live in Turkey but found themselves elsewhere when everything went pear shaped.
Friends like Barbara and Malcolm who popped back to the UK to freshen up their rental property whilst it was empty. They now find themselves reliving their student days, thankful to their kind neighbours who have lent them 2 chairs and a blow up mattress, accompanied by a nice bottle of Merlot (and 2 straws I’m presuming).
Or Steve who spends his summers in Çalış and his winters driving trucks around the UK. He has, very admirably, simply decided to ‘keep on trucking’ and get vital supplies to their destinations until he can rejoin his wife.
Then there’s Lorraine and Paul who were working the ski season in France and who are now hiding out in a beautiful but deserted ski resort waiting for the end of lockdown.
And we should spare a thought for dear Anita who went over to California to visit her 99 year old mother. She told me herself about her situation: “I came over for just one week and my mother had been ill but was better. I was hoping she would make the big 100 in October. Five days in to my visit she went into her last slumber and died eight days later. Nobody was allowed to go to the mortuary or to have a funeral. She was cremated. Then I waited three weeks for the Death Certificate and now I must wait maybe another two months for the paperwork to be completed as government offices closed.”
Sitting It Out
However, for the most part we’ve accepted our fates and are simply getting on with life; waiting, drinking wine, eating chocolate, slouching around in our pjs, opening curtains too loudly. But others are desperate to get back to their children, their loved ones, their homes, their lives. We know it’s only a small proportion of our lives. We know that holiday flights won’t start for a long time but we also hope that residency holders may be allowed to return soon. We know it will be a while yet but if you do see us posting travel questions on Facebook, be gentle with us, please.
Or as the saying goes #BeKind
Read the first two installments of Sian’s story: