Friday, July 3, 2015

Need to purge...

Before my visit to the US, I need to purge my wardrobe. I am tall by my country standarts at 5'9" and I am also overweight so, it is a hassle to find good fitting clothes. Some stuff I have are past their life some time ago but, I held on to them.

Now that I am going some place where I can shop, I need to get my act together to get rid of what needs to go. 3 TLs to 1 US Dollar will not make it easy to shop this year but, I will not splurge. I will get what I need and what I will wear. I am out of even simple daily wear. No athletic shoes are required because they are practically coming out of my ears.

What I have to purge is not limited to clothes really. I am sure there are many unused items, books, old receipts and paperwork and etc. I am just soooo lazy to go through the house. If I were moving, I would have been obliged but now that I have postponed the idea, there is no motivator.

I just got myself a new tablet PC which I had been eyeing for a long time. The price finally dropped and I grabbed one just in time because there are talks about raising taxes on electronics. This is my belated birthday gift to myself. I think, it will be a great help during my vacation and I do not need to drag my heavy work laptop home everyday. I have a very old laptop at home but, it is past its economical life and is getting extremely hot. It is also very slllllloooooowwww...

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Earlier this year, things were not looking good. We had a health scare due to an autoimmune disease my sister was diagnosed with. My previous part-time gig as a consultant was not going well. I thought money would be tight and a nice vacation was out of question.

Today, we know that my sister's condition is under control. Her lab tests have improved and her doctor is not concerned. Thank God!

I now have a new job which is paying real well and I was able to plan a nice vacation in the US.

A health scare, a job loss, income reduction, major repair bill, anything unexpected can happen anytime... This is why I like to be financially secure. So, first my sister's health improvement, then my new job are true blessings and I am so thankful for them.

Monday, June 15, 2015

A surprise for my beloved Sis!

I am going to start working full time in July and I will not be able to go on a vacation with mom this year. She is not coming with me to the US this time.

So, I was thinking of going to Izmir to visit my sis and BIL with her this week. I am not working on Thursdays and Fridays and I thought a long weekend would be nice. I wasn't going to share my plan with my BIL either but, I needed his help to find out if they had other plans for the weekend. So, we partnered up in crime and found an echological new hotel not too far from Izmir and I made reservations for all of us. Mom and I are going a day earlier. They will be joining us on Friday night. My sis thinks that her husband reserved the place to surprise her and she has no clue that we will be there. Heh heh he! I love surprises! Planning and executing them even more...

Friday, June 12, 2015

Came to get mom back!

I had taken mom to her home in Ankara a couple of weeks ago so that she could vote in the Turkish General Elections. Now it is time to get her back.

Yesterday I took my own car which I had left in Ankara to the car service. There is a bit of work to be done before taking it to TUV for inspection on Saturday. My car is 5 years old and there is no point in selling it since my uncle goes to Ankara on a weekly basis and needs a car. Besides, when mom is at her home, he runs her errands too.

Today, I have a work related meeting. There will be errands for mom in between all these tasks. I am planning to drive back on Sunday. Good thing that I had a relaxing weekend last week. This one sure looks busy.

Starting in July, I will be working full time. Mom will stay with me till mid-August. I will take her back and then leave for the US for three weeks. I am kind of sad that we haven't been able to take a vacation together this year. I asked her if she wanted to go to Rome and she declined this spring. She loves the US but when she is with me I cannot stay with my friends and get to see them as much as I want. Also, she slows me down. So, although I had asked her if she wanted to go to the US, she declined. I must think of a nice vacation with her next spring. I know she wants to go to Greece or Italy.

I am planning a small getaway to İzmir to see my sis and BIL next weekend with mom. Details on that, later.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Rental Apartments Fiasco

Yesterday, I met two brokers and saw 7 apartments in the area  where I work. I am no construction expert or an engineer but, most of the places we saw had problems. There were cracks on the walls and when I asked about them the brokers shrugged it of by saying that the buildings settled since the area was earlier a very arrid place (read swamp). That's not good.

I know mom wants to access shops and everything easily but, the apartments in that area are built rather poorly, despite the fact that they are luxury apartments with very expensive rents and maintenance fees. They are built on former river beds apparently.

Istanbul is very close to a fault line which is expected to produce a large scale earthquake anytime so, the strength of the construction is very important.

It looks like there are only a handful condos out there which are sturdy enough and their prices are extremely high. May be I will have to get used to the traffic...

Also, most of the apartments had open kitchen plans which I truly dislike. I cook a lot and use sauteed onions and garlic. I also bake fish quiet regularly. Open kitchen is a bad idea for Turkish Cuisine.

The master bedrooms were mostly OK but the second/third bedrooms were extremely small.

So, I will keep on looking around and learning about condominiums. I shall see if I can find something that is both sturdy and comfortable. Bah!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Personal Financial Decisions and Income

I have worked for 25 years with full time jobs and fixed incomes. Then I switched to a consulting career and had to deal with a variable income scheme. Even then, some portion of my income was fixed so, it was not too bad. The fixed part was and still is enough to cover my fixed expenses.

I am back to what will soon become a full-time job. I will still have my passive income so, this truly is a great opportunity to save like crazy. I am determined not to cave in to an inflated life style with the exception of a rental apartment.

My current residence is too far from work so, I am planning to move closer to work. My apartment will not generate enough rent to cover my new apartment's rent in this new area. There will be a significant difference. It doesn't have to be that way but, as my sister and her husband had to relocate due to work, I like to have mom with me. We are practically living together 9 months out of a year. She needs to be able to go out and walk around a little bit and do some shopping in order not to be bored. Therefore, I am obliged to rent a place within a very specific area and that area is expensive. I consider this a small sacrifice though.

This year I am taking a 3 week vacation in the US. I have planned and budgeted for this for a long time so, no it is not a mindless splurge. I will be staying at some friends for some of the time so, my hotel costs will not be a budget buster. I have a set budget and will stick to it.

Although, our lifestyles inflate with the increase of our incomes, this doesn't have to be. I promise myself that, I will not be splurging and that I will be making wiser choices to tuck away as much as I can. I am not suddenly going to become tight-fisted either. I think moderation is the key in every aspect of life.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Got something serious on my mind...

Yesterday I had a very relaxing and fun day with my old colleagues at Buyukada, the largest of the Prince Islands. Good food, lots of laughs and a good deal of walking around... Gill, I am sorry I did not take any photos. My bad!

I have another set of old colleagues whom I see very frequently but lately, I started having second thoughts about the dynamics of this group. Something has changed and I am not sure I like it. This is really difficult to explain but, it seems like there may be something more than just friendship in some people's minds about some of the others in the group. There are 3 guys and 4 ladies including yours truly in this group.

One of our girlfriends is getting a divorce and the other is not too far from the same situation with her husband. So, obviously these ladies are in a vulnerable state. They are very close friends. They seem to be having some romantic thoughts about their future sort of like a twentysomething would envision. Being a realist, I think they are opening themselves up for further disappointment.

What bugs me is not just this. There are two guys in this group who seem to be interested in either of these ladies. May be both of the guys like the same person but, I am not sure. I am just feeling uncomfortable when around them. This started a few months ago when we even did not know about the divorce situation. There is nothing out in the open but, I sensed subtle signs.

Last time we were together was a disaster. The girlfiriend who is getting a divorce got herself very drunk, totally out of character and, although I was ready to go home, they insisted on going to a bar after dinner. Two of our friends apologized and went home. I should have done the same thing but I was really worried that the remaining people had too much to drink and could put themselves at risk. Besides I had my car to take them all home as I  always do. So, leaving them behind with no car at night seemed wrong. Being the only sober person, I felt I had to hang with them. It was a huge mistake on my part. That night, I noticed more of what I had sensed earlier.

One of the guys insisted on going to a particular place and made us walk for a good 15 minutes. When we reached his suggested place, at the entrance, I told them that I was ready to call it a night and that I decided to go home. The place did not look right to me and the three bodyguards at the entrance were just too much. When I anounced that I was going home, the rest of the people decided not to go in as well. So, our friend who suggested the place got pissed and started an argument with me. Unfortunately, I was tired and fed up so, I ended up arguing with him instead of keeping cool.

Ever since that night, I was feeling that may be I needed a social break. However after yesterday, I realized that I do not need a social break but, rather a break from the group I have belonged to for such a long time.

I do not want to get together with them as a group anymore and I have no intention of sharing what I feel with any of the others.

Any suggestions?