The last few days were out of the ordinary.
That sentence brings up the question: What is the ordinary? I hope I don’t discover the ordinary too soon…
Anyway, enough random self analysis.
Back to the future
Sunday morning, at 2 am, the clocks in Turkey, like much of the northern hemisphere, were changed back one hour to 1 am; back to normal time. This is the only time in 2003 for Turkey that time goes backwards whilst continuing forwards…
For certain timezones in Australia and other southern hemisphere countries the time went forward one hour to summer time. Previously, Mersinwas 6+1/2 hours behind Adelaide. Now Mersin is 8+1/2 hours behind.
I was always planning to clear the drains at home. The Sunday morning overflow of the washing machine outlet onto the kitchen bench turned the planning into instant action. After taking apart the sink plumbing a few times I eventually solved the problem, although not entirely satisfactorily. Next time I will think twice about allowing friends with long hair (Alicia*, not mentioning any names 🙂 to wash their hair in the kitchen sink.
*Alicia is a Canadian friend who very recently (just before the blog started) visited me in Mersin for two weeks. She is currently teaching English teachers in Poland.
Following a lovely, warm bath, I walked down the six flights of stairs and along the 3 streets from my apartment to work. I came to the office not for work work, but for other work: to complete my tax, consolidate my personal email addresses from 3 accounts into one and send a spam, alerting everyone of my new email address and Joe’s Ramblings blog. As I was about to submit my tax a technical fault stopped me from sending it. Very annoying.
Following the computer stuff I hot-footed it across to the Mersin Tennis Club for a late lunch/marketing/work discussion with every other employee from both the Adana and Mersin branches. The marketing ideas and frank discussions were well supported by the mixed grill, salad and kunefe. I enjoyed meeting everyone outside of the office setting, particularly the Adana workers, Buket and Sebiha.
My Neighbours and their Guests
After the meeting closed I wandered back most of the way home with Asli and Iklim. They caught the bus and I jogged back up the 6 flight of stairs.
My neighbours, Hanifi Amca*, Medine Teze* and Handan Abli* wondered where I had been. They had expected me for dinner. I went up the final set of stairs to the rooftop, where they were entertaining some guests with Gaziantep pistachios and mixed orange-green colour mandarins. The guests were a Kurdish family of Father, Mother, primary-school aged son and toddler daughter. The Father was shot whilst serving as a soldier with the Turkish army seven years ago in the conflict between the army and the PKK. His right arm was limp and he had a large scar running straight from the top left side of his head to the back left. He was talking about going on a holiday with me to Australia where he could get medical treatment. It is very hard not to feel sorry for the plight of him and his family.
*In the Turkish language, Amca (Uncle-Father’s brother), Teze (Aunty-Mother’s sister) and Abli (older sister) are terms of endearment and/or respect used towards people one is not necesarily related with.
The beginning of Ramazan
Monday marked the beginning of Ramazan. Very EARLY Monday.
My previous prediction of the morning drummer proved correct. In my interrupted sleep I heard the banging of the drums 7 TIMES. Not 7 hits, but 7 separate periods of hitting whilst the drummer(s) walked along the nearby streets. In Australia, that drummer would not live long!!!
Tax, Part 79484.49
I made it to work early so I could complete my tax. I needed to call the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to fix this annoying submission problem. The Sydney office, whom I called previously, was not open as it was past 5pm. Before the time change, the office would have been open and answered my call.
I spoke to the technician at the ATO and he instructed me to change the computer language setting to Australian English.
Change the lingo to dinky-di Aussie? I said you got to be jokin’. I told him he’s dreamin’. Bingo! She’ll be right. And it was. The ATO tech was now me mate and a great bloke too. In fact, he’s up there with Boonie! Nahhh. Almost though. I think I’ll change the language back now…
After restarting the computer with the Australian English, my tax return did infact submit successfully.
Straight after I submitted the tax return I did notice one slight mistake, which, if not corrected, would make almost $1000 difference against me. I then anxiously made another phone call to the ATO to find out the remedy. To rectify the situation I now need to snail mail the deputy commissioner Mr. Mark Konza.
I haven’t even mentioned scouring the world for sesame seeds to import into Turkey as part of work. As they say in the classics…It’s all happening…