This Girl Moved to Turkey After Falling in Love with a Man Who Didn’t Use Toilet Paper!

Once upon an undergraduate classroom, I was reading a fantastic book partially set in Turkey called From the Holy Mountain. My friend Holly was also in the class, and at some point, one of us turned to the other and said, “Let’s go to Turkey and BUY! A! CARPET!”

This was a far-fetched dream, considering neither one of us had a job that would allow for the sort of time off or  financial support we would need for such a foray into the world of international travel. So we sat tight, and dreamed, and sighed forlornly, and looked out the window at the pissing rain as we dreamed of the way our lives could be if we could just finish our degrees and do something else.

By some strange stroke of luck, we both managed to get jobs at the same time that had paid vacation time. And so we booked our tickets, bought our visas, and jetted off to Turkey in February and March, 2014.

When we finally found a good place to perform our planned carpet purchase, the carpet merchant and I really liked each other. We spent four days together in total, and when I came back to Canada we were both pretty upset about it.

Looking back, this feels dumb. But a lot of things happened in the following months. I got word that I would be doing my Masters in September. I started feeling a lot of trepidation about moving again, because I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to be able to find a summer job in the city where I was living, I had already moved three times in the previous year, I’d had a lot of trouble making friends, a pretty brutal breakup, and a job that I was really excited about but never really panned out into what I’d hoped it would be. Basically, I’d had a shit year, and the prospect of being more uprooted was a lot to bear.

To combat the sense of displacement and rootlessness, I decided to make the most logical decision I could: move halfway across the world! Not to Western Europe, which is the most far-fetched thing my Mom could wrap her head around being a good idea. To Turkey! In the Middle East! To see if I could make things work with a carpet merchant!


Since I didn’t have time to get a proper working visa, I found an au pairing gig online, and I got said carpet merchant to check them out for me. He gave the all clear, and I arrived in June.

Things started fizzling between me and him before I even left Canada, but I was already committed to the job. They finished fizzling rather quickly on my arrival in Turkey. I went to visit, and asked for the bathroom.

“It’s upstairs,” he said. “But there’s no toilet paper. But don’t worry. It’s not so bad to go without it.”

“Oh, haha!” I laughed nonchalantly. “That’s not a problem at all. In fact, I shall just waggle my dick to dislodge the last few droplets, and we shall go on our merry way into the world of stuff and fun! It will be a laaaark!”

After 24 more hours of similarly inhospitable treatment, I told him we wouldn’t be seeing each other again, and suddenly found myself thrust into the muddy waters of living in Turkey for no reason in particular.

And that, my friends, is the story of how a holiday fling can motivate you to spend large amounts of time living in a foreign country equipped only with your sense of adventure and general pig-headedness. It is a foolproof formula to have the most wonderful, horrible, and bizarre experiences of your life.

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