Bae is still in Abu Dhabi trying to sort out his visa. Which means I have been very bored and lonely here in Northern Cyprus. It is zero percent a good place to meet new people. Everyone was either born here or has family here or summered here, and thus has a life already established. Abu Dhabi was a wonderful place to meet new people because it was a constant revolving door of expats. Could not imagine a better place to start the expat life. Northern Cyprus would probably be the worst place for that.
It’s also a terrible place for non-Turkish speakers. Some people speak English (and there are a ton of British people here), but knowing Turkish is expected. The bus system (if you can call it that) is these vans that go along the main roads and stop to pick up people who just stand along the road and hail them where-ever. And then once the passengers are traveling along, they just holler up to the driver and he pulls over and drops them when they want to get off. The problem is that you’re supposed to holler in Turkish. And sometimes you’re the only person on the van-bus and the driver will ask you where you want to stop. And he will ask you in Turkish. And sometimes he will not know any English when you make it clear to him that you speak zero Turkish. And if you’re lucky you’ll name some landmark that you both know to identify the place where you’re going. (One of our apartment’s landmarks is a Gloria Jeans, which I find hilarious. There are very few chains in Cyprus (There’s no McDonalds. Can you even imagine such a country?) so the fact that we live near one is fantastic to me.)
Getting paperwork done here is a huge pain in the ass. One thing I had to do was get a residence paper for the bank. I guess that it proves that I live in an area of the country? Which it doesn’t, actually. I brought in the lease for the apartment, which clearly has bae’s name on it and nowhere does it list mine. But whatever, so I brought the lease and my passport to the muhdar. (Which means village chief, I shit you not.) The muhdar for my area is located in a car rental office. Nowhere is that information found online, so you have to just ask around until you figure it out. And the guy at my school’s HR department called a friend and told me that my area’s muhdar was by the park and that I should ask someone at a coffee shop in the park about its exact location. And while he was right that it was near the park, getting paperwork done should not be a fucking scavenger hunt. (Also, I don’t want to talk to random people at a coffee shop, come on! I asked bae and he told me, thankfully.)
The bank was also awful. Zero English. Still not entirely sure that I have a bank account and no idea how to access it.
The blood test process was the actual worst. So bad that it’s getting its own entry…
And the other day my landlord came to remind everyone in the building that we shouldn’t be flushing our toilet paper. There’s a problem with the pipe (of course) at the moment, so she just wanted to remind us all about that. And I was like “yes, sure, of course.” But ew. And I understand that it’s not totally uncommon of a thing for plumbing systems not to handle toilet paper, but having grown up in a town where it would be the height of impropriety not to flush toilet paper, tampons, etc., I find it very difficult to wrap my head around this new way of doing things.
The plumbing in general is a real piece of garbage. Here’s how the system works. When you need water, you have to go into town and put money onto your water card at this kiosk in the middle of a parking lot. (Not a building. A kiosk. That has no identifying names or signage, like the brand name or anything helpful.) And then you have to put the card next to the water meter outside the apartment and push a button. It beeps and some numbers will flash, but they don’t tell you anything helpful like how much is left on your card or how much you put on the meter. (Apparently it doesn’t take everything from the card though, because last time I went to fill my card at the kiosk, she told me not to fill it because there was still money on it…. good thing I went all the way into town to find that out!) Then, fingers crossed, water will fill your apartment’s water tank. But that’s not the only water tank. Because then inside your building, you have to turn on a switch for a water pump that pumps the water from that water tank into a tank on the roof. There’s also possibly a hot water tank? I’m not sure. And there are no indicators when tanks are full or low on water. I’m meant to manually open and check the tank downstairs to see when I need to put more money on my water meter…. which I didn’t know, so it got empty. But I didn’t know it was empty, so I kept trying to use the water pump and being confused why it didn’t work. And then the water pump burned out. Which is apparently my fault. (It’s not my fault actually because there was still a lot of water on my water meter. We’re still unclear about whose fault it was, but I refuse to take the blame. After the man fixed the pump, I had water for another two weeks without refilling it, so explain that, landlord lady who’s trying to make me pay for the new pump!)
So you know, overall, things are pretty stupid here. I cannot wait to leave, honestly. (In two years? Ugh.) Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great place to visit and I’m sure that once bae is here, it will be less of a headache. But it’s just such a fucking huge headache….