What always amazes me about the Southern Aegean region in general and Kusadasi in particular is this rare combination of on the one hand being laid back whilst on the other hand engaging in an extremely entrepreneurial lifestyle. Normally one would assume reality on the ground is based on an either/or option. Not so in this fine corner of the world.

At stake for today’s article is our Turkish neighbor’sappetite for improving their quality of life and whether or not our expat community sees things in a similar fashion.

Not that the level of exactly that quality of life would not already be on a serious high anyways but there is one such leisure time pursuit which apparently merits constant attention to detail. What are we looking at: how to make your very own four walls an even better place to live in! Thus written, the months of March until May are the perfect calendar choices for turning yourself into a successful DIY decorator or alternatively hiring professional expertise. Please always be considerate and above all else respect the law as there are strict deadlines for when we can engage in outdoors home improvement activities as all those works must be completed before peak tourist season kicks in.

And here we approach one of the many always uniting aspects of residing in another country than the one we originally hail from: it does not matter whether we are friendly international imports or born and bred Kusadasians. Come the spring sun, we simply want to do it, we are at it again: we are ready to consider what could possibly make our apartment or houselook better both inside and from the outside.

If you are new to town you will at once have noticed the impressive number of home furnishing stores, of garden centers, of interior design shops, of signs with telephone numbers for local builders and plumbers and whatever else one could possibly desire in that context. And from what one hears there is good business to be had all around town.

Leaving this overarching observation aside for a moment we should analyze the actual reasons behind all of this and we shall discover two important reasons.

First, we as expatriates more often than not would set foot on these great shores without a container load of personal belongings shipped to port. In all likelihood we would stay in temporary furnished accommodation before deciding on a permanent dream home under the sun. This of course entails that whatever one would need interior wise would be sourced on location. As money does not grow on trees most if not all of us would invest step by step starting with the basics including white goods and bedding and a living room. Once settled we could then draft a family budget for the upcoming years and when to buy what and from which business.

Having said that one realizes that moving abroad is a long-term process and hence the necessity to year in, year out, add more charmand contents to our homes. I have seen fellow expat families who did just that over a period of at least two to three years.

Second, our Turkish neighbors are faced with the same dilemma. Unless taking over existing housing they often start from scratch by constructing their very own four walls from zero (or buying oneself into a part of a larger soon to be erected apartment building) at times allowing for their properties to be completed over a comparable period of two to three years. Then they would start decorating and furnishing it yet in a similar manner to what we just described in the previous paragraph – step by step.

Hence no matter whether someone relocates to Kusadasi from within Turkey or from abroad the way we go about settling in – and the way how we take good care of our limited funds – seems identical.

This explains why there is a constant demand and connected supply of all things related to designing, constructing and improving our homes based on that constant flow of new residents paired with a never-ending quest for making residences look more appealing.

What’s more, there is one additional and equally fascinating subject to be considered: even after we are finally ‘at home’ we would wish to work on the outside look of our fixed abodes. Think a small garden, consider new paint for the exterior; then we remember to add new balcony chairs or new lighting on the entrance door. Possibilities are endless but we simply cannot refrain from continuously aiming at making things even better than they are already.

And according to my insight this desire to improve our surroundings is a wonderful tool to get closer to our Turkish neighbors as soon they, and we, will understand that the way we wish to go about our day to day life with w view to how we wish to present our homes to the outside world is fully compatible.

For example, my family realizing that a nice looking house, block of flats, street or entire neighborhood is a top priority for our Turkish neighbors as it is for ourselves allowed for a much faster integration into the social fabric of this great nation. Similar to the topics we would discuss at our local DIY store back in Britain or Ireland or wherever with a fellow shopper or the salesperson, Turkey is not any different. It is a hot pick, an all-time favorite topic for conversations both amongst locals and with us.

Coming back to the introductory few lines it is thus absolutely possible indeed to enjoy a laid back lifestyle without forgetting the need to go about business, too. What makes it all the more enjoyable however is that we are decorating ones terrace with new flower pots in the full knowledge of having acquired a small share of paradise on earth.

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