I love living in Turkey but have over the last 5 years had to get used to a whole new way of shopping.
In the UK am I worked full time. If I ran out of food mid week I ate take always until I could get to the supermarket again. Sunday mornings were shopping time….. I’d meet my friends at the supermarket of our choice, eat a full cooked breakfast…after all it’s bad to shop when you are hungry, and then do the weeks shopping. Trying to think of things that wouldn’t go bad, or take to long to cook after a hard day at work. Lots of things in boxes that could get zapped in the microwave.
Here we shop for fresh fruit and veg at the local markets. Meat and fish is purchased as we want it at the cheapest place we locate. At the moment we are paying 1.50tl each for trout…. that’s about .45p. I had a good deal on some lamb shanks last week 23.50tl for 2 that’s less than £6 and they were huge. But it’s all very spontaneous…… We have the “what shall we eat for dinner?” conversation everyday at about 6pm. I come up with an idea and my husband goes and buys the ingredients.
It all sounds wonderful…right? Healthy fresh home cooked food. Fresh meat and vegetables. Nothing in the freezer. But there is always a but……
Today we have been really busy. We have a long 4 day bank holiday weekend coming up so we had bills to pay and errands to run. We got home exhausted. My lovely husband and a little nap, we drank tea and watched television and then realised we were hungry with not much in the house.
Neither of us fancied going out….and the supermarket certainly didn’t appeal. So tonight was the store cupboard challenge. What could I produce for dinner using only things we already had in the house?
I ended up cooking a potato and lentil risotto and topped it with hard boiled egg and raw onion. My husband was very unenthusiastic about it when I described it. But he did agree to try it……. He loved it…he ate two big bowls full and asked why I hadn’t cooked it before. No answer to that….except I am a true domestic goddess.
I have added the recipe in the recipes section. But thought a bit of an explanation might be needed before you were tempted to try it.
Now my husband comes from a very large family and is used to shopping accordingly. I still very often wonder how I turned I to a woman that buys 3 kilos of tomatoes or 20 kilos of apples at a time.
You may have seen my apple chutney recipe and my cabbage recipe all designed to use up apples after my brother in law brought home enough to feed several donkeys for several weeks.
My husband after a few months away was asked to bring me some sugar. He arrived with a 25 kilo sack. That’s over 50lbs to those of you that haven’t yet gone metric. Needless to say it won’t fit in the little pine canister I usually keep my sugar in.
Not only do I have in excess of 50lbs of it, it’s come straight from the factory so hasn’t been cut. I have long strips of sugar waiting to be cubed and no sugar cutter (shock horror!). So tonight when you are all relaxing and watching tv I will be trying to get Coronation Street on the Internet and cutting up sugar with a pair of pliers. Not quite the glamorous ex pat lifestyle you all envisage when you hear someone lives in Turkey.
This week we decided to try out the local healthcare facilities.
Actually that’s a lie……………… we didn’t decide we didn’t have a choice. Rewind 7 days to last Thursday…..a lovely warm day, sun shining and an invitation for me to call at a friends for a swim and a good gossip. We were having a lovely time until we went indoors to dry off and get a cold drink – I had several missed calls from my husband and my friend had some too – the phone started ringing again – my husband……..bit of an accident at work and he was in the emergency room at the local Devlet hospital.
I did the wifely thing…and rushed to his side. He fell about 20 feet and landed on concrete managing to break his heel as he fell. we were at the hospital for 6 hours – have to say I’m a bit squeamish and in Turkey you are expected to do your bit – I had to push his trolley into the Drs room – no curtains…lots of other patients one who had a breathing tube down their throat….not something I really wanted to share.
It was chaotic – and I have to say it looked a bit grubby….maybe I’m just a snob but I like porters and hushed waiting rooms – curtains for some privacy – not watching my husband get his leg plastered whilst they wheel in wailing people around him. We were finally told we could go – no crutches nothing. Luckily a friend who could carry him had come to join us so I didn’t have to give him a piggy back to the car.
An hour at home and I’d organised take out food and the loan of some crutches and then the relatives started arriving to tut and drink cay (Turkish tea)
I managed to convince himself that he should go to one of the private hospitals the following day and see and Orthopaedic specialist – so off we went to the Letoon Hospital – you get your x rays to take home here so you just take them with you to see the Dr. Anyway – nice Staff a well recommended Consultant and a new plaster – that needs to stay on for at least 6 weeks – non weight-bearing too. The Consultant booked him another appointment for 10 days time and all for a very small charge. if you have Turkish Health Insurance you can go where you like – it’s free in the state hospitals and you pay a % in the private ones.
Finally today having suffered for 4 weeks I took myself off to the Esnaf. I had a nasty bang on the elbow 4 weeks ago – the type that makes you feel sick and faint with pain. I thought it was bruised and it would get better ……but it’s not been the case – I am still in pain – it hurts to lift anything and I can’t move it in the mornings. So I duly presented myself at the Foreign Assistance Desk…….they were really helpful – and within 10 minutes I was on my way to see the Consultant…..I saw him…he examined me and sent me for an X-ray.
He then saw me again and showed me the xray results on the big screen. I am glad to say it is not broken – however it seems I have Tennis Elbow – he says I’ve probably had it for a while and the knock has caused it to flare up. But on the plus side it is just in time for Wimbledon fortnight…..I can honestly say I know how they feel after a 3 hour game.
I have a big prescription 2 lots of tablets and some gel and another appointment for Monday. Unlike my husband I have no Turkish healthcare insurance so pay as I go….the cost Consultant and X-ray – 135 turkish lira about £48 and another £12 for medication. The hospital….well lets just say if it was a hotel it would be 5*. It’s brand new…spotlessly clean….there are different uniforms for different types of Staff so you can identify who does what – it’s well signposted and they send someone English speaking around with you who explains everything and translates – I can honestly say it was a pleasure.