A month ago we were waking up in Chester. Our days, planned over breakfasts of salty butter on fresh baked baguettes, consisted of Roman museums and city wall walks, picnics by the river and afternoons of soft play while Mummy sipped coffee with your Aunty. The weeks flashed by in a blur of homeschool trips to fire stations and science fair days, ice-cream farm lunches and petting farm adventures. We visited castles and art galleries, world museums and tall ship races; we ate chinese and thai food, and revealed in time with our family. The zoo was our second home and train rides a weekly pleasure. And yet we missed our Turkish family of relatives and friends; we missed the fruits and vegetables of the pazaar, and sometimes, I missed the uncomplicated pace of living without endless daily choices. And now we’re back to that simplified life, where a weeks’ sole plan can revolve around jam making or a morning long breakfast with friends. Life lived daily. There’re blessings in that and after all, no place is perfect.
If I’ve taken only one lesson from the past few years its that the grass is only greener where you water it. So we’re trying to let the hosepipes loose on this quiet life here in Turkey. Some days its easy – the kids will play contentedly between the balcony and the open space to ride their bikes, strawberries release enough pectin to gel pleasingly filling out home with the aroma of summer and we potter through cuddles and books ’til bedtime. But other days hours drag through never-ending minutes. Temperatures soar to 30 degrees at 9am; the drinking water or gas for the stove runs out and you’ve forgotten to order more; the neighbours want the kids wearing shoes and the kids yearn for a museum 4000 miles away. Plus, for all the place we live is peaceful and safe, after eight months of UK living where one bad car crash hits the national news and newspapers focus on first world social problems, adjusting to the daily news tirade of in-country bombings and refugee plights and unnecessary loss of life in everyday situations is a psychological adjustment and a half. So I’m letting us take the time that we need. Mornings reading books and making mud pies in the shade, afternoons Legoing, lazing in front of movies, slurping peaches as the juice juice runs down our arms. And throughout the day, in those often moments when it’s all too much, I grab tightly onto whichever of you is running past and sink my nose into the top of your heads. Watermelon, and the heat of the sun, and suncream, and the heady scent of child sweat; together it makes up the smell of summer, a scent so intoxicating, so comforting, so utterly encompassing of everything that’s precious about living in this country. A reminder that though longing for the life we’ve left behind is normal and healthy, the life we’re in is loaded with blessings too.