MY LIFE IN NORTH CYPRUS
I am sure there are people who can relate to this!
It was 2002 and I was getting nearer and nearer to the dreaded retirement, my body was saying it was time to slow down but my mind wasn’t so sure about that. So, I asked for a pension forecast to see how on earth I was going to manage on a pension when the time came to retire. When I had the answer I looked hard and long at how life would be in the UK and decided it would not be easy managing on the basic state pension, so I needed to give some serious thought to my future.
As it happened, on 3rd March 2003, the company I was working for went into liquidation and I was made redundant. Not really the way I wanted to end my working life as I had never been sacked or made redundant in my 50 years of working, but in a way it did me a favour as I had time to be able to sort out my new life.
So, during March my sister and I spent 2 weeks in North Cyprus searching for suitable properties. I initially had decided on an apartment to keep my outgoings as low as possible but at that time there was not a lot on offer in the sort of area I wanted so I decided on a bungalow and we finally chose a property each on the same site. On reflection we were perhaps very lucky that our builder was an honest man as we subsequently heard so many stories of people who had terrible problems with their property purchases. I remember the first week we were looking at properties it rained almost every day and trudging around various building sites almost up to our knees in mud. The site we chose was an olive grove and we had to imagine how it would look when it was developed but everything seemed right and we made our individual choice of a property on the site and then returned to Wales, where we were both living at the time, to sell up, pack up and start a new life.
A lot of people remarked on how brave we were, but really it was a sensible decision and very much an adventure, so we were a little bemused at the comments.
It was the middle of September 2003 and we arrived at the local Bus Station to get the coach to Heathrow with luggage which would have to see us through to March 2004 when the properties would be completed and all our worldly possessions arrived from the U.K. the following year. I carried a suitcase and holdall with a backpack on my back which I tried to make look as light as possible and luck was with me as I didn’t have any problems with the amount of luggage I was taking. It was difficult packing as we had the end of a summer, winter and spring to allow for, plus a pre-arranged trip to Australia for a wedding in November, so a get-up was needed for that also.
So, we arrived in North Cyprus with one week booked in an apartment overlooking the old harbour and nowhere to live! We had one week to find some temporary accommodation otherwise we would be sleeping on the beach! There was not a lot of choice for rented property at that time and we were offered a villa in Çatalkőy or one in Karakum. As we had no transport other than renting a car for a few days each week, we decided on the property in Karakum as it was within walking distance of Girne and the local supermarket. The house was lovely but we had not envisaged how cold the winters are in North Cyprus and it turned out to be a very cold and draughty house. I can still remember how cold I felt and vowed when I moved into my bungalow I would always be warm in the winter.
We had arranged some time before to attend our cousin’s wedding in Australia which was at the end of November, so after only 2 months in North Cyprus we returned to the UK to meet up with my niece at Heathrow and then we were off to Australia. It was a long and tiring flight although we had a stopover night in Brunei which broke the journey a bit. The wedding was lovely and we had an opportunity of visiting many places in and around Perth. We stayed for 3 weeks and then it was the tedious journey back to London and then onward to North Cyprus.
I sat in my lounge with furniture and cartons and boxes all around me and thought where on earth do I start.
To read more click here:- My Life in North Cyprus – Chapter 2
By Margaret Sheard