This article was written for Fethiye Times by Sian Midgley.

This exact time last year I was sitting in the Air New Zealand First Class Lounge (ohh get me!) at Heathrow Airport, just about to embark on a holiday of a lifetime with my mum.

A few days earlier I’d flown back to the UK on Easyjet, joking with the air steward as I disembarked as he wouldn’t shake hands because there was a new virus going around.

And a few days before that I celebrated my upcoming 50th birthday with twenty five of my favourite people at Denizati on Fethiye promenade.

And then the world went ‘boom’ and all our lives changed almost in an instant…

Where Were You?

They say you always remember where you were when life-changing incidents occur whether it be John Lennon being shot, Diana being in a car accident or 9/11.

Well for me, one of those incidents happened while I was standing outside a hotel in Christchurch in New Zealand – that was the moment I found out that Turkey had closed its borders and I wouldn’t be getting back to my home, my life or my dog, any time soon. I cried.

Of course, at that time I didn’t even realise it would be nearly three months until I felt the Turkish sun on my face again and got to cuddle my baby girl.

One Year On

And now, one year later when – let’s be honest – we all thought it would be over, we find ourselves still having to wear masks everywhere, people of a certain age are only allowed out a few hours a day, we have to be in our pj’s by 9pm every night and all of us find ourselves staring at a wall and twidling our thumbs at some point on a Sunday.

Some unfortunate souls who went to visit family in the UK at Christmas are still trying to find ways back here. I’m just relieved that, this time, I’m not one of them.

But I don’t think anyone who chooses to live in Fethiye regrets being here at the moment; those of us not under age restrictions can lead relatively normal lives. We can exercise. We can enjoy the beach. And as of last week, we can pop out for a spot of lunch or a cold beer and actually sit at a table rather than balance our purchases on our knees.

Life Lessons

This last year has taught us many things. For me I’ve learnt to appreciate the simple things in life, I’ve realised exactly how much I love my dog, and I’ve developed an unhealthy obsession with having a weekly Chinese takeaway.

It’s also made me realise how much of Turkey there is to explore. I certainly won’t be travelling far afield but, for 2021 at least, if I have a choice of spending a weekend in Kaş or getting on a flight to the UK you won’t find me rushing to the airport.

I’m looking forward to what the rest of this year will bring, for me personally anyway. I’m determined to make it a year to remember for the right reasons, not the wrong ones.

I hope you are too…

My Story

If you find yourself staring at a wall this Sunday check out my diaries of how I eventually got from New Zealand to Fethiye, via a long drive and a lot of Custard Creams, by clicking on the links below: