erkan

Going offline again…

In Erkan in the military service on April 26, 2009 at 06:26

My weekend leave comes to an end in a few hours. We were given a leave after the Oath ceremony and I have been a civilian again from Friday noon to Sunday afternoon. We were not supposed to leave Kastamonu so my life was spent in the town center, in a hotel. My dear friend joined me and then many of barrack-friends found me so we continued to live our collective life in a more civil manner this time.

The next important date is May 9. That is when we will finish our beginner drills and we will be sent to stations where we will be stationed until the very end. That is, September 18.  I will probably become a sergeant after May 9. After May 9, when I have my permanent address here, I will announce and then I will be expecting your cards and chocolate (from Claudia). Probably May 9 will be the next time when I can be online.

This weekend was a time of exploration. The hotel I stay in is fine, İdrisoğlu hotel, right at the center of town. Good wireless, and good service in general. Relatively cheap. We have discovered a good place where we can watch the soccer games and play cards. We have discovered at least one good restaurant to take our guests…

Kastamonu itself is a good town to visit. In fact, we had visited this place, I, Çetin and his wife, Sündüz,  4 years ago, passed through this town, after spending the whole day, we had moved to İnebolu in our Black Sea trip. Residents are hospitable and the town is quite historical and with four local dailies. It is also near to famous Safranbolu. half an hour from the town center.

I am not supposed to write about military life itself, and so please forgive me for not giving details here. Just for general observations related to me: This is probably the best place for the mandatory service to take place.  Still the service life is hard to swallow. Just to give you an idea: the films that would best describe the service life is not the action packed war movies but Holocaust movies, that focus on concentration camps. for instance scenes from Bent (1997) came to my mind (not something special- it was one of the latest movies I watched, it was easier to remember). Maybe Full Metal Jacket (1987) could also be relevant here.

What makes life bearable is all people in my division (nearly 100 people) are college graduates and 5-monthers. There are no stealing or bad intentions. People are very helpful and sincere. I am the third oldest guy there but many looks older than I am. There are nearly 20 high school teachers and two university lecturer (including me). I believe I already made some life long friends.

Gradually, long-termers (15 months serving citizens with no college education and in average 20-years olders) began to treat us really good. First they were angry because we were short-termers, but gradually they liked us especially when they observed us going down under intensive training.

What makes life also bearable is that our superiors are extremely gentle. That doesn’t mean they favor us in training but they respect us, they never insulted us, or they never used corporal punishment. I wish in peace time military service, there could be more civilian elements. You are shut off from your previous life in such a drastic manner that only comrade solidarity back in there can partially cure. I am told that after the Oath, there will be relaxation. And particularly after May 9, life will become really easier.

Right now, I have no problem going back in. I know I can do it. I am already used to it. See you -hopefully- on May 9 and don’t forget me here! 

 

  1. Hi Erkan,
    It looks like your military service is a lot harder than that in Switzerland (where it is also mandatory). I hope you’ll get used to it and that the time will fly fast, so you can return to civil life with your sergeant grade. Take good care and enjoy your weekend leave! Ganbate, as the Japanese say!

  2. I’m so glad to read this. The whole time we were in Istanbul, you were in my mind and I was wondering how your new life was going.
    I should have known you would make friends and find ways to live this new life.
    Chocolates will be sent as soon as I have your address. I’m too late to say good luck with the next phase but good luck anyway and yes, Istanbul was truly magnificent and I left with more than 3000 photographs to work through. Beautiful city.

  3. Sevgili Erkan Çavuş,
    Haberler iyi anlaşılan. Devam.
    Mete’yle Bursa maçına gittik. Fener’i bekliyoruz. Harikaydı.
    Celil

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