So, if you’ve been following the blog at all, I try my best not to only give the good side of traveling, because I feel there’s lots of one-sided travel blogs out there, and that’s not real. Without further ado …
And now for the the un-glamorous part of Kalkan, Turkey — mainly, the house sit.
The House Sit
I really don’t know where to begin with this. It was my first international house sit, and out of the thousands of jobs available online, I probably landed the weirdest one. By weird, I mean, I house sat for this super old, teeny-tiny old house up the mountains, a 20-minute scooter ride from town.
My first night in the house was somewhat terrifying, considering I just so happened to receive this email from the U.S. Embassy urging all visitors to Turkey to leave based off what was happening with the war my first night at the house. Which was weird because I had called the Embassy about a week beforehand, and they said to remain in the safe zone and just use extra precaution.
There was actually a really bad bombing in Ankara while we were in Istanbul, a short time later, but more on that in the next post.
The email said that they had reason to believe terrorists from Syria were moving to Turkey and they’d highly advise tourists to leave.
Great timing. New spooky small house. Letter advisory. Spooky noises.
After a couple glasses of wine later, poor lighting, a lot of weird shadows, and ghosts moving about the stairs (or maybe just the kitties haha), I damn-near convinced myself I was going to get kidnapped. That’s pretty much how I felt all 10 nights, starting as soon as the sun would go down.
Then, this feeling would magically disappear every morning when the beautiful sun would rise, I could see the gorgeous views of the forrest, a breeze would come out of the air, and I would head down the the ocean.
It’s all in your mind. Or is it?
The Pet Sitch
Four cats, two dogs. Not so bad, right? Right. Except when one of the cats is disabled and needs help going to the bathroom. Of course I had felt sorry for the poor cat, but this cat was more work than I thought it would be (and more work than what was originally communicated). Maybe it was my fault for not asking enough questions up front, but this little gal really needed a lot of care.
[DISCLAIMER: If you get grossed out easily, you might want to skip reading this next part]
I’ll keep the cat’s name a secret so I don’t accidentally ruin her reputation, but to help this cat go to the bathroom 3-4 times per day, a paper towel needed to get rubbed back and forth against her bum in order to loosen up the muscles. Yup. While she would try to run away.
And in the middle of the night, she’d leave accidents all over the room where she slept, so in the morning there’d be pee puddles to clean up. You can imagine the smell.
The morning chores were abundant. Every day we’d have to wash the floor of the room the cat slept in, re-dress the sleeping pads with new linens and plastic (there were four), feed, help pee. Everything would take about 40 minutes each morning. Not including taking care of the dogs, and 3 other cats. After this experience for 10 days in a row, I consider myself to have a Doctorate in pet-sitting and appreciate mornings where I can simply enjoy my cup of coffee.
Now, this might not sound like a lot for getting to stay in someone’s home for free, but for me, I learned some lessons.
The poor cat had gotten hit by a car, someone posted a pic of her on Facebook, and the house-owner took her in, which just gives you a glimpse of how big the home-owners heart is … Honestly though, this cat was serious work and a part-time job, even with two people tending to her all of the time. Talk about rolling up your sleeves.
The scooter we rented was pretty hilarious (and dangerous). A couple of nights, we were driving it home and noticed the headlight was out. Colton was the designated scooter driver, so on our night drives home, I would shine my iPhone flashlight from the back of the scooter over his right shoulder to semi-light the 3 feet of road that we could see in front of us.
Normally, this wouldn’t be too big of a deal, except, like I said, we were driving up and down snaky dirty roads in the mountains of terrorist-migrating country (according to the letter anyway). Plus, we were told from our home owner to make it home before dark for safety reasons. So, there was that, and the letter from the Embassy, and the cold weather chilly night air, and the ghosts (haha).
Yep, I would definitely define these scooter-riding moments as, well, an adventure. And I kind of feed off of that if you haven’t noticed.
Other General Moments of Being Scared
- The dogs literally barking outside nonstop throughout the night.
- The hymns / public announcements / crazy static noises / beeping that played over the speaker system located in every town (yes, even up the dirt roads in the middle of nowhere). They’d go off what seemed to be every hour, including the hour of 5 a.m.
- The cat jumping on my head in the middle of the night during a night-terror.
And that sums up the first house-sit experience. Even with this “culturally enriched experience” under my belt — I couldn’t leave Turkey without hitting up Istanbul of course, which I’ll be speaking to in my next blog post for A Year In Travel.