>Living in the tropics has been my dream since high school days. Sunshine has always filled me with positive energy and I literally used to hate winters in Turkey when I was a child. We used to have long, cold, fierce winters in Istanbul, before the seasons got mixed up. I remember roads getting blocked by snow for days, my mom having to bake our own bread and spending days without any shower because of frozen water pipes. The only good part was the unexpected school holidays and playing out in the snow, but even then, I never liked my toes getting numb from cold and the thousands of layers of clothes I had to wear to keep warm.
My collage days have passed watching the cloudy sky from the windows of dark, huge, cold classrooms, the deep voice of the lecturer fading slowly in my brain and me dreaming to be in a beach party on a tropic island. I was sure that I would worship the sun if I was a pagan as for me; sun was the source of vital energy. I would dream of having 12 month long summers, sandy beaches by the blue sea and an easy, peaceful life on an island. Every cold night that I went to bed with my socks on, I would wish I would wake up on a hammock by the beach next morning and I would want that with all my heart.
Of course, none of that happened and I had to graduate from university after going through four long winters in Istanbul. When I became a working young woman, I somehow managed to put those thoughts away in a locked section of my heart. Then, three things happened that changed the course of my life.
The first one was that I started working in adidas after spending several miserable years in factory floors. It happened so smoothly and easily that I didn’t even realize what kind of opportunities were about to open up for me. I used to enjoy working in a factory because I was learning tons of interesting stuff. After all, I was a typical engineer, as I still am, and I loved being in the middle of production, where everything happened. However, the working conditions were tough. I was trapped in long working hours and a never ending stress to keep deliveries. I knew I had to change my life when I realized I had no friends left and the only dreams I was having were nightmares of late shipments in a factory setting. When I saw the adidas ad in the newspaper, I just sent my CV without giving it much thought. It was probably the first or second job I had applied after deciding to change my job. The only reason I wanted
to work there was that I didn’t want to work in a factory any more. The interview was so funnny. I was interviewed by a Senior Merchandiser named Ebru, and it was everything but a job interview. We had found out that we had graduated from the same university and even spent a few years in the same high school. We had lots of common friends. She had also spent a few years working in factories, so she knew exactly why I was there. She told me all about the life in a liaison office, how boring it was compared to working in a factory, but how fun it was leaving a lot of time for a life outside work and providing opportunities to meet new people. It sounded fun; it was exactly what I wanted. I was sitting in a desk right in front of Ebru four weeks later. I didn’t know that this company would provide me the opportunity to live my dream then, but it was still pleasant to be there.
Ebru was involved in the second important thing that happened to me as well. She was right, now I did have a lot of time to do things other than working. But I didn’t really know what to do. Hanging out with people and going to concerts and clubs was fun, but there had to be something more meaningful than that. Ebru filled the gap very quickly, she found a diving club to learn scuba diving. So we did learn scuba diving and I found myself in a whole new world to discover. I felt exactly like Sullivan’s avatar in Pandora. I just loved to be under the water and I was amazed by the life and colours down there. Finding tiny creatures hiding in the reef, getting to know the behavior patterns of the animals gave me a happiness that’s hard to describe. I had found my passion, the thing that I was born to do.
The third important event was actually a big failure or an unfortunate occurrence that led me to the best thing ever happened to me. I wanted to have more adventures, a different life experience and more independence. I had a job offer from the headquarters in Germany, I had several successful interviews and I had even signed a two year contract. The company applied for my working visa and I wasn’t getting any news from them for weeks. I had started getting worried already but they were confident that everything would be sorted out. My boss had found a person to replace me and I had already started handing my job to other colleagues. In the end, nothing was sorted out, the company managed to get a working visa for one year only. They could probably extend it, but I had no faith anymore and I felt that I shouldn’t be taking that risk. I didn’t go anywhere. I was upset, very upset. I wanted to have a
different life and I couldn’t do it. I was so upset that all I wanted to do was to give up everything I had and be a dive instructor in Malvides. I wanted this really bad, so with some encouragement from my mom, I was attending the PADI Instructor Development Course in October 2001. There were four students in the course including a cute guy that owned a dive center and I had no idea that he was my soul mate. This cute guy was going to be the love of my life, my husband, my best friend and the father of my children later.