Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Introducing John and Becky's son!
Please take a moment to visit Becky's blog and voice your congratulations. Even if you don't know them personally, this is news that you will enjoy reading. After years of infertility, two failed IVF's and a very difficult miscarriage, they have a referral!
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Want to usher in a prayer request for my brother and his wife. My brother and his wife are expecting their second child. I often refrain from pregnancy "stuff" on my blog, however, in this case, their little girl has some sort of cyst on her chest, and I thought the desire to get prayer for her overrode the attempt to be sensitive for those struggling with infertility. They got word this week that it does not appear her heart is effected! Praise the Lord for this fantastic news!!! However, the family would still appreciate every one's prayers as they continue to monitor this cyst throughout the rest of AD's pregnancy. Our prayer is that it wastes away to nothing and that it is only a superficial inconvenience. Thanks for the prayers everyone.
Our TV comes with our house, and it is run through the Base. Things are tape delayed and replayed. Basically they take the best shows and combine them into one huge channel. So the channels things are on at home won't necessarily be what they are on here.
The commercials are nearly all military commercials. Lots of morale boosters. People telling you that you are doing a good job. Thank you for your service. It makes me feel sorta special. And it's nice to hear. It's nice to remember that we are working for our government and that being here is basically considered being "deployed as a family."
There are always free items available at the post office or our church. People or companies who sent stuff just for military lifers. It's so nice to feel appreciated.
So, speaking of morale ...
Today I had the opportunity to attend one of Beth Moore's simulcasts for free! We didn't get to actually watch it live with the 125,000 other people from the other side of the globe, but we did get to watch with people around Europe and Asia. What a blessing for her ministry to provide this gift to us at Incirlik. Not only did I get to listen to Beth Moore speak on kindness (more on that in an upcoming post as I recap her great teachings) but I also got to meet quite a few women from off-Base which is quite unusual.
Getting access to Incirlik can take up to a month! I started working on getting access for my Mom and Joni (who come to visit next month!) when we first moved here, and we just got complete approval finished. So to have a room full of women visit from off-Base was quite a luxury. They had been working on this for many weeks and weren't sure approval would be granted. But it was! Most of these women attend an international church (which we hope to visit in the future) off-Base. They are American women living in Adana. JB and I actually had dinner with one couple last week, a connection from our good friends Tristan and Shannon.
There is religious freedom in Turkey. You are allowed to be a Christian or any other faith. However, conversion is basically against the law. If a Muslim was to convert, they would be completely ostracized from their family and face a myriad of dangers (even death.) So while there is religious freedom, it is not the norm to see a Turk express a religion than anything other than Muslim. But there are some who are Christians. And they worship together with Americans in the open in Adana and throughout Turkey.
Anyways, I got sidetracked a bit. What I was writing this post to express was my gratitude for these morale-boosters. If you have something that you can share with the military community either at home or abroad, don't hesitate to do so. (There was a box of crocheted hats available at church the other day.) We really appreciate it. I am incredibly grateful for any "taste of home" I get. While I am so incredibly happy to be living here, enjoying the experience, and not regretting our decision to make Turkey our home in any way, there are some things that are quite difficult about living here. One of those is the feeling of isolation. And tastes of home help that feeling.
Tastes of home are a wonderful blessing. And Beth Moore was a wonderful blessing. If you have never had the opportunity to listen or read any of Beth Moore, I encourage you to change that immediately. She's fantastic!
P.S. Thanks to my wonderful husband for watching our boys for the day and giving me time to spend with my savior. I needed that so much. :)
Friday, September 24, 2010
I did wear the purple dress based on the vote on my blog and loved it. It fits great and unlike most strapless dresses, doesn't feel like it is going to fall down all night. I also went and got my hair done with Angelica at the beauty shop on base. A Turkish guy did it for eight bucks! I should just get it done everyday.
Stebbins and her hubby Ryan.
Both boys are under the weather, Elijah especially so, and as a result, sleep was the name of the day yesterday. Take a look at how it all played out:
Elijah: Up at 6:00a
Isaac: Up at 7:00a
[Note that 7-8:30a, while JB was home, was the only time ALL DAY that they were both awake!]
Elijah: Asleep from 8:30a-2:30p!
Isaac: Asleep from 1:00p-5:30p!
Now here's the thing. I would have thought that this would be glorious. But in fact, it was, and I hesitate to even write the words, but ... boring. I was the entertainment instead of them entertaining each other. (Which I have been told by many moms-of-twins is the best part of the two-for-one-deal.)
Of course, when they are both awake I am breaking up fights, distracting one, and bee-bopping between dirty diapers, feedings, play times, and what-not for two boys and a big dog. But on this day, it was just one kiddo.
Normally, I do not have a moment where I just sit down unless I am reading to them. There is always something going on. But yesterday, I sat quite a bit. It was weird. It is true that when you have two together, you can't imagine doing it any other way. Just as those of you who are not in my shoes would probably say you wouldn't want to do it the way we have.
God does give you just what you can handle. And I'm glad with what God gave me.
P.S. Tonight is the ball. We plan to put the boys to bed and have a sitter just be here while they are sleeping. It'll mean going a little late but with them being sick, we don't want a sitter to have to deal with that. The purple dress is the dress of choice so stay-tuned for pics of our night on the town!
But here is how it is different. The temperatures right now are highs in the 90's (or 100's a few weeks ago) but early in the morning and late at night they can swing into the low 70's.
This is different from a place like South Florida. While South Florida doesn't get quite as hot as it does here, it stays warmer. For instance, a few days ago, we had a high of 92 and a low of 70. When I looked at South Florida, the high was 92 or so and the low was 87. That's where the difference is.
It is getting better, but most people avoid doing anything between 10-3. Any other time of the day right now is pretty pleasant and even a bit "cool" sometimes.
Hard to believe that most Turks do not have air conditioning. And if they do, they have a unit in just one room. They have good ceiling fans and leave their windows open a lot, but AC is not then norm. Most restaurants and places of business have no air or a simple unit that doesn't really help all that much. Even places like malls, while air conditioned, are set much warmer than we are accustomed to. You don't get that "cooled off" feeling off-Base like you do on-Base.
Hatice told me that to put AC in their house and her husband's business would cost them about $600 a month. She makes less than that a month! Yikes!
Either way, we are really looking forward to nicer temperatures in the next few months. Bring it on!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Unfortunately, this small Base leaves sicknesses to run rampant. We are all congregating in the same places and with the same people. When an illness hits Base it often runs it course pretty successful. I'd appreciate extra prayer that our family stays healthy during our time here.
I'm glad I knew the word "hasta" for sick so I could try to explain why Elijah wanted nothing to do with the attention being showered on him yesterday at the Turkish Residency Offices. I even resorted to giving him a pacifier and when one of the men asked that he take it out so he could "see" him better, I said "hasta" and he immediately understood.
Our residency passes were complete so we had to go pick them up. JB doesn't need one, but the boys and I do. So he drove us there. Wednesday is JB's "admin" day in the afternoon. A time that he can catch up on all the things he needs to do.
There are things I am still adjusting to each time we go off-Base. People kissing my children is one of them. I don't really mind it, but it is just so different from our culture where really, if you aren't family or close friends, you don't kiss people's kids. The other thing is the men in this culture. They are just so different from men in America. They are very "touchy-feely" not only with each other but with the children. They congregate in groups to drink tea and play cards. The women are much standoffish when we venture out, especially the older women. But the men and young boys are incredibly outgoing and kind.
While we were waiting to get our passes, tea was served. We were offered tea. I don't care for tea of any sort, but JB readily accepted. And Isaac, as usual, was excited to eat a sugar cube. They also brought out chocolate for the kiddos. This made a huge mess. People are always quick to offer napkins when they see one of my boys is messy. But a dry napkin on dry chocolate isn't exactly a successful combiantion.
Driving continues to surprise me. Yesterday we witnessed a fight between two men on the side of the road, apparently due to a traffic incident. JB turned to me and said, "See, this is why I don't want you off-Base by yourself." It isn't the incident so much that is the problem. It is not totally unheard of to see tempers flare in the USA as those of us in South Florida definitely know.
It's the fact that you can't understand the language. You don't know what the fight is about. You don't know what they are saying or what they are planning to do. While we carry a card with us that we can use to get a translator on the phone, if we were to get in an accident and people were to start saying things to us, we'd be hard pressed to remain cool under the pressure. Language is such a barrier. My twenty word vocabulary isn't going to be enough in that instance.
Such is why Babel was never built I guess.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Good News #1: Our van is in Turkey!!!!!!!!!! We feel so limited with our tiny little car with sort-of air conditioning that we are renting. We can't put anyone else in our car unless they squeeze between the two car seats. (Which I have found is possible if you can lean one way while turned another.) We can't wait to see our van. We are hopeful that we will get it in the next three weeks. (We still have a lot of steps we have to go through before it reaches us, but we are closer.) Please pray it gets here in time for my mom and Joni's visit in a few weeks.
Good News #2: I found our digital camera (it's our old small one but the only one that can take video of the boys to send back home.) I had left it at Isaac's gymnastics class!
Good News #3: Thank to an anonymous tipster, I have found a site that I can get coupons for organic milk. Check it out here. Now the only issue, is that I can only get two coupons from my computer. But I plan to ask around and see who else can send them to me. Please use these if you use organic milk. Also, I would not ask people to send me only these coupons because the amount of money it would cost to send them would equal what I would save. But if you have the ability to get to multiple printers and print a bunch or if you are already going to be sending me something else, please include these coupons (if you won't use them). The item that we would want is in the top left corner (Save $1.00 on two half gallons.) Thanks!
Good News #4: I have decided to wear the purple dress to the ball. I am not sure this qualifies as a good news bit, but I thought I would share it nonetheless. Black was in a fairly close running for awhile, but purple clearly got the win.
Good News #5: We are going to Germany next week. Long story short, JB thought we were going somewhere with work, but it fell through. So he had no patients booked. We found out that we can take the military flight from here to Germany for FREE! No joke. So we are headed out on a one week vacation. Even better is that our friends Shane and Linda have volunteered to stay at our house and watch the Scrubinator! Way cool.
Bad News: Elijah is pretty stinkin'-sick. Last night we met some mutual friends of Tristan and Shannon: Mike and Ginger for dinner in the Alley. They live in Adana and are Americans! Very cool. Elijah was miserable though. And for good reasons. Who wants to eat hot food in the heat when you have a fever of 103. Our night was long and he is now laying on the couch watching Cars. Poor little guy.
JB was not happy about this. He does not want me to go off-Base by myself. This is hard for me. I feel very safe, but the truth is, we are advised to always have a travel buddy. This is probably the most difficult part about living here, the fact that we can't really just "go somewhere." I have to learn how to respect my limits. I need to plan ahead to have a friend with me, even if I only want to venture into the Alley. I don't really like this, but it is what it is.
On the way to the gate we passed another housekeeper who was about to miss her bus. So I moved aside a car seat and let her climb in as well.
Now that I know JB's feelings on the matter, I probably won't do this solo again. But yesterday, venture off I did. Hatice first took me by her husband's convenience store. Imagine a store jam-packed with everything imaginable and no air conditioning and you have the place pictured correctly. He's been in business five years, and like most Turks, sits outside and talks to other men when he isn't inside working. I told Hatice I was not dressed properly to meet him. She said that I was fine. He was a kind man, and it appeared Hatice had told him nice things about me by the way he responded to me.
It's funny, his store is only one street off the Alley. The prices are way lower. The conditions very different. The Alley caters to Americans. He caters to Turks. I definitely plan to return, however, despite the fact that I am an American.
Next door to the convenience store was Hatice's brother's shop. A tailor. This was very "Nigerian" in feel. Hot again and sewing machines and clothes everywhere. I really like the tailor I found in the Alley so I may continue to use her despite the fact that I feel loyal to Hatice.
After that it was off to Hatice's house. If I understood her correctly through a combination of English words she knows and Turkish words I know, after ten years of renting a home, they bought this home three months ago. It is in an apartment. The hallways of the apartment are not taken care of and rundown, but her house was quite nice. It's the first time I have been inside a Turkish home here, and I was excited to experience it.
They had three bedrooms. One for her and her husband, one that two of her daughters share. (They are fifteen and seventeen.) The other bedroom currently houses her daughter who is marrying next week. (Her fourth daughter is married with a baby in Istanbul.) After that, it will be a guest room. They also had two bathrooms. But one is reserved primarily for guests unless they have to go.
The house is sparsely decorated but very clean. They have a super nice washing machine, but they hang dry all their clothes. (This is very common of all the homes around Turkey. Clothes hanging out over rails everywhere.) One room has air conditioning, but otherwise, it is fans that keep the house cool. The kitchen is very modernized (dishwasher!) but small and warm. There is a computer in the living room which the daughters know how to work but Hatice has no clue. She actually had marble counter tops. I couldn't understand if she splurged on these or if they got a good deal. She tried to tell me but we weren't on the same page communication-wise for that part of the conversation.
I was offered fresh figs (which are quite different from dry figs) that I took home with me. They also gave me little cakes to take with me as well. I received an invitation to Tuba's (not sure if I spelled that right but it is how it is pronounced) wedding.
Unfortunately, we won't be able to attend since we are going to Germany next week! (More on that in an upcoming post).
Monday, September 20, 2010
Fact: we go through approximately one half gallon of milk per day.
So needless to say, milk is liquid gold around these parts. And when I poured two full cups last night and forgot to give them to the boys and forgot to put them in the refrigerator and had to pour them down the drain this morning, it hurt my feelings very much.
Too bad milk can't be shipped in a care package.
*The Dutch** part of me finds this terribly painful. I have practically begged JB to let me buy the cheap milk -- to such an extent that when I bring it up now he changes the subject before the sentence gets out of my mouth. (He feels very strongly about hormone-free milk.
**Dutch are, stereotypically very strict Calvinists (don't work on Sundays) and very cheap. Question: How do you confuse a Dutchman? Answer: Offer to mow his lawn for free on a Sunday.
What a great surprise today! My trip to the mailbox revealed presents from two of my former basketball teammates. Shea sent us a care package filled with goodies that she herself missed when she was living overseas and playing basketball. Jaime sent me sharpie pens, remembering how much I loved writing with them. Jaime, how did you remember that?! So very cool!
I am so blessed by wonderful friends from past and present places in my life. From way back in my childhood in South Florida, to my years in college in Kentucky, to my teaching and coaching in Kentucky after college, to life in the Polar North, followed by Eglin AFB and now Turkey. What a blessing!
Thank you Shea and Jaime. Everyone jokes around here that the little yellow slips we get in our PO Box at the mail office is like college mail. It's so exciting to everyone here. We really are isolated and this really makes us feel a bit of home. Thanks gals!
Saturday, September 18, 2010
The wifia had their co-op, and we Turkish military wives, have created our own. There are seven of us gals with children ranging from 1-4. We decided to form a bit of a co-op to help give other moms a chance for some time off.
What we decided to do was set up Mondays and Fridays as a "co-op" day. On Monday, one mom hosts the co-op at her house. Another mom is assigned to help her. Anyone can drop off their kiddos at the host's house between 9-1. The most kids that could be present are 10. I happened to be the helper and the hostess for the first two events and we had six kids both times.
We are trying for a two month period. Each person has to be a helper or hostess four times. You don't have to utilize the co-op or, in my case, I could utilize it for one kiddo or both kiddos or no kiddos. I could also just drop them off for one hour or for all four.
So far, it has worked great! I was Stebbin's helper on Monday. And I was the hostess on Friday and Angelica helped me. Angelica is a beautiful gal (both inside and out) from Spain. She's a wonderful sister in the Lord who lives almost right behind us. We played outside for an hour, played in the pool for an hour, and then moved inside for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and some lunch. It was fantastic!
I am really excited about this opportunity to fellowship with another gal and get some time to get things done if I need it without having to drop the boys off in a daycare setting where I know Elijah would just lose his mind right now. Way cool.
We'll see how it goes next week when I'm not a hostess or a helper!
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
In my home, I have a routine. A system. Despite the fact that my system has been relocated from Eglin to Turkey, it exists. There is an order for eating, changing, feeding the dog, playing, exercising, devotions, everything.
But outside of the walls of my home, everything changes.
And even inside, the routine gets shaken up quite a bit. Like yesterday when one boy wanted to be in the pool and one wanted to come inside and both wanted me with them. And last week when, while trying to get one in from the pool, he peed on our new rug since I had taken off his new diaper. Or yesterday when a poopy diaper outside left me resorting to spraying Elijah's bum down with a hose. (He thought that was great.)
Today I ventured off-Base for the first time by myself. Well, not by myself entirely. I went with Angelica and her two kiddos and Stebbins and her son William.
We parked our cars right next to the gate and began the walk through the big gates, where snipers sit hidden in the bushes and dogs sniff cars, and went to the tailor -- Dee Dee's.
Stebbins needs a dress made for the ball. She brought a picture from People magazine and will have a fitting tomorrow! How amazing is that?
I, was picking up a pair of black linen Capri's. I brought her a pair of white ones last week that I love and she mimicked them perfectly in black. How amazing is that?
Angelica who is already bilingual in English and Spanish got her son's haircut at Pretty's next door. That name still cracks me up. We also found a Thursday market that we can walk to. Amazing as well I think.
Anyways, I gave both my boys a ring pop while we were out and about. Is that bad? When I am outnumbered ... in other words, traveling with the boys without JB along, I feel I need some strategies.
Changing diapers? I let it go until we got home. Is that bad?
We ate lunch at Burger King in the food court outside the BX (which, in addition to Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Baskin Robins are the only fast food places we have access to). Anyways, we were supposed to bring JB his lunch at the Clinic after we were done. But when I ran into one of his techs, instead, I asked him to bring JB his food. Was that bad?
It's just that, we live in a society now where none of us have cell phones. It's amazing I lived my whole life like this. I can't call JB and ask him to meet me at the door to the Clinic. Instead, I have to unload the boys and get inside with the food. It's a thirty minute ordeal. You have to know where you are meeting ahead of time because you can't just call each other! Craziness!
Sidenote: Isaac is a very slow w-a-l-k-e-r ... Elijah, is not so slow. They don't stay together well. Thank the Lord for strollers.
When we get home, Scrubs goes crazy, as usual, and follows me everywhere while I get the boys down for the naps. He wants to go outside and play. Desperately.
I put the boys down for naps in the same room which I do about 50% of the time. Mistake. Somehow, they managed to pull their cribs right together. (I think Isaac jumps until his crib moves over enough so that they can grab hands and pull them together but I am not sure.) They had thrown their animals back and forth at each other until they were both upset because they didn't have their stuff. I took Elijah out. Put him in the pack-n-play set up in the room nextdoor. And then listened to Isaac cry and yell that, "I want to have you help me MOVE this, Mommy! I want to touch Elijah."
It was at this point that I just feel there is not enough of me. I am a mom to two boys. I am the owner of a high maintenance and uber energetic dog. I am a wife to a wonderful husband who gets the last bits of me everyday. I'm also supposed to be a daughter of the Lord and a friend and a sister and keep in touch with people long distance and blog and read my Bible and exercise and ...
... and some days I just do NOT know how to get it all done successfully. I feel swamped. Facebook? It's a jungle I just can't even begin to maneuver through. But I miss everyone so much. I feel out of the loop.
While the vast majority of our house is in order, there are still so many things needing to be done. How do I get it all done? How do I spend enough time with the boys while taking care of myself and being a good wife?
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I was so blessed that both days, Elijah took a morning nap, and a friend volunteered to take Isaac while Elijah was sleeping: Stebbins on Tuesday for playgroup and Angelica on Wednesday. In fact, after I dropped Isaac off with Angelica (who lives right behind me so I could let Elijah sleep while I walked Isaac over), I fell onto my bed and slept without moving until Angelica rang the bell to drop him off 2.5 hours later! Yikes!
After lunch, Isaac went down for a nap, and I put on Cars and just let Eljiah climb all over me and watch the movie while I dozed. I couldn't do anything but lay there and let him watch TV.
Anyways, despite me being under the weather and both the boys not quite themselves, we hung in there together and made it through the day. JB was unable to take a day off since the regional allergist from Germany was in town. JB is the "allergy extender" on Base and basically works as an allergist. He reports to this guy in Germany, who then checks in on him every few months and makes sure John is handling his allergy patients well.
After a longer than usual day at work, poor JB had to come home and completely take over with dinner and clean-up. I had nothing left. Needless to say ... church was a no-go.
JB also captured a few snuggle-time pictures. There was lots of laying around and watching TV and reading books in our house yesterday as you can see from the photos below:
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
While we are not completely ready to unleash all the details of our exciting news, I did want to whet every one's appetite a bit for what we hope will be unleashed very soon.
No, we are not adopting ourselves. Not right now anyways. What we are hoping to do is help other people adopt. We are actually in the process of creating our own non-profit organization which will be designed to do just that -- help other people experience the miracle of adoption.
Stay tuned for more details. We hope to have them for you soon.
I’m sitting outside on our front porch while I write this. It’s the middle of the afternoon, and we are outside. The weather is still hot, but each day we see the end that everyone has been promising. Cooler temperatures seem to creep in each day. We eat dinner a few times a week on the back patio. The boys play often in the front yard. In the back yard. In between the two yards. Each offers different excitement and opportunities for boys to be boys. A pool. A slide. Bikes. Cars. Trucks.
My house has become the sort of toy store that both JB and I swore to each other we will never have. My only comfort is the fact that none of these toys are things I have bought -- at least not without a huge discount second-hand.
We have more than enough big cars for the boys to play with, due to my propensity for finding a bargain in the next door neighbor’s garbage or at the local thrift store. And yet, I just took a two minute break from writing this to deal with a fight that had broken out over one particular car that is an exact duplicate, minus the color, of one that sits next to it. Isaac is in it. Elijah wants it. Elijah won’t leave Isaac alone. Isaac pushes him and screams, “Leave me be Ewijah!”
"Ewijah" screams back and begins yelling the few words he knows. "Car! Momma!" And in between his screams he's signing with intense fury.
Each day as a mother of two nearly-twin-boys offers new excitement, challenges, delights, stressors, lessons, frustrations, and huge smiles. A quick look into our day-to-day existence would present a visitor with glimpses of two diaper-clad toddlers chasing each other around the loop between our hallway and kitchen. The next moment you will find a fight has broken out over one matchbox car that has suddenly become integrally important to each of the very existences despite the fact that there are well over a hundred tiny cars lining drawers in our home with only slight variations apparent.
A few seconds later, double-dirty-diapers are the item of the moment. These become compounded by the fact that leaving toys behind for a fresh bottom creates extreme anxiety. “Ewijah will get that Mommy!” Isaac yells. “Don’t wet him take it.” And then the next all-important question. Will I or will I not use cream. "Just use a wittle cweam Mommy," Isaac says. And Elijah will simply sign "All done" before the cream can come out. Desitin is the only cream we seem to see success with and it stings a bit.
I love being a Mom. And I love the fact that I have two children. And two boys at that. I find myself actually contemplating the boredom that would ensue if they didn't have each other. They belong together. As if they were twins born in one womb, I believe God destined them to grow along side one another. They learn together. They play together. They cry together. They fight together.
And they nestle themselves, each day, even the bad days, somehow, even deeper in the recesses of my heart. Of John's heart.
Love of children is so very different than that of a spouse. My love for JB is born of selfish desires. I am often looking to him for what I can get in return. But my love for my boys is completely selfless. Some days, there is very little in return to be gotten. And yet, even if I was to never receive anything in return, I'd get up each morning, well before I was ready to, and love them. And serve them. And pray for them. And try my best to help mold them into the men I hope they will one day become.
Of my womb. And not. And forever entwined into every fiber of my being.
Monday, September 13, 2010
My heart is not only with infertility and women. It's also with the single woman. I may have wanted children badly. But I often reflected on a woman who had not met a spouse. She wanted childrend and a spouse.Tara was one of those friends. One of those friends whom I knew wanted so badly to meet "Mr. Right" but just kept happening upon a relationship that wasn't "quite" right. Until now. Tara, I'm so happy for you. And yes, I plan to say, "I told you so" as often as I would like. I so hope, somehow, I can be at your wedding. I'm bubbling over with excitement.
1. English to Turkish Translation -- a good sight for help with basic translation
2. Turkish Characters -- since the Turkish alphabet has different letters, this helps me type in Turkish. Way cool!
3. Typeracer -- this is a fun site where you can race against yourself or others and get your words per minute. It's a bit different from normal words per minute since, if you make a mistake, you must go back and fix it. My highest so far has been 120 wpm. Anyone want to try and beat me?
Sunday, September 12, 2010
My goddaughter Logan! What a cutie she is. Logan is such a beautiful little girl both inside and out. She is one of those kids that just exudes peace and kindness. Happy Birthday Logan!
And it wasn't like we could just ask someone what was going on. I mean, I have just learned how to ask for a half kilo of apples. (I say some combination the words bir (one), yarim (half), kilo, and elma (apple) if you are interested.) I'm not even going to make an attempt to ask, "Where is everyone today?"
Even if I could ask it, goodness knows I wouldn't have a clue what they were telling me when they answered. And when I seem confused, they'd try saying the same words slower and louder. And I'd still be lost. Hand gestures might help. But not much.
Welcome to how any new person to America feels everyday. Completely overwhelmed. Lost. Confused. At least here, in Turkey, most of the people want to help me learn Turkish. I can't say that we, as Americans, ever express much interest in helping a foreigner with their English?
... that was a complete tangent I didn't plan on. But something to think on nonetheless. Telling people to "learn the language!" is a bit easier said than done. Have you ever tried to learn another language?!
Anyways. The market. We are finding that many people are looking to go to the market and often looking to go with someone. This morning, Shane came with us. His wife Linda is still studying for the Boards, and as a result, having to limit her activities. Shane was stationed here many moons ago, so he actually has some pretty decent Turkish skills. Between the three of us we managed to buy a stroller full of produce. I also scored the two skirts (Eteks) above!
These skirts run about $10-15 U.S. dollars per piece. I am actually going to be sending some to my online friend Dawn. She's going to pay me through pay-pal, and since it is free to ship from APO Box to APO Box with the military (who knew?!) I'm going to send them to her. Very cool! I absolutely am in love with these skirts. They meet the dress code requirements of the area, are cool, comfortable, and go with nearly anything, while letting me feel like a bit of a girl instead of a tomboy which is how I usually feel.
I am hoping in the near-future, to venture to the market solo. But more practice (especially driving) is required. I need to devote an entire post to driving in Turkey in the future. Today let me just focus on beeping. People beep for no real reason here. Well they have a reason, but I can't tell what it is. If you here a beep it is probably because:
- You took longer than .3 seconds to go when the light turned green.
- They are coming by you and want you to know it.
- They want to say hi.
- They want to say bye.
- They want you to scoot over.
- You are going too slow.
Good luck figuring out which one you are doing wrong.
... and lastly, the vote. I had said earlier I was going to return to that. So return I am.
There are many areas surrounding Base which are called "red areas." These are areas which we, as military members, are restricted from travelling to or through. Nearly everything to the East of us right now is red. Nearly everything to the South as well. If we want to go anywhere, we need to go north or west. Anywhere near Syria or Iraq is basically a no-go. This is unfortunate as there are a lot of Biblical sites I would love to visit in those areas. For right now, Israel is open to us. But the Turks and Israelites are not friends. There is no telling how long that opening will remain.
There are also days when we are advised to practice caution when leaving Base. A day like today where the country is in the midst of a vote on the importance of religion in their politics amongst other things. Days surrounding big holidays, like yesterday. That sort of thing.
It's strange. I realize we are living in a very tumultuous part of the world. A part of the world that has been the source of much violence for the last few decades (and last few thousands of years actually.) That being said, I feel more safe on Base then I have felt anywhere else in my entire life. This is a mini-Mayberry. There is basically zero crime on Base -- especially of a violent nature. I trust my kids outside. I trust my neighbors. I could knock on any house and get something I needed or obtain refuge. I would run at night. I would walk across the Base at night. I would let my kids play outside by themselves without a second thought (if they were a bit older.)
I also feel fairly safe in the area right around Base. The reason is that this is an area that thrives on the American serviceman. We are their business. And a result they don't want anything bad to happen to us.
But outside of that, we do live in the Middle East. We live on a Base that most likely harbors some major weapons. And I am still processing what that means. Two times in the last ten years, family have been evacuated from this Base. We are "deployed in place."
I am so happy to be here. But the safety issues, sometimes, "twerks" me a bit. It makes me wonder if the non-deployment and good hours and Mayberry feel is worth it.
And right now, the answer is yes. We'll see if it stays that way.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
I was teaching a room full of innocent children in Franklin, Kentucky.
Today I am living in the Middle East -- an area often associated with these brutal acts.
I have always felt strongly about the fact that we should not blame everyone for the sin of one. And I feel that way even greater on a day like today. JB and some of his coworkers received some sweets from one of the Turkish coworkers -- a tradition this time of year for Ramazan. The note he included passed along his sympathy for the 9/11 anniversary.
His coworker is Muslim. But the vast majority of Muslims believe what occurred nearly ten years ago was a travesty of the worst kind. They would never adhere to such violent acts.
As a Christian, I cringe when I see someone doing something in the name of my religion that I don't agree with. "Christians" who kill abortion doctors. "Christians" who form white supremacy groups. "Christians" who kill in the name of Jesus. "Christians" who live as hypocrites. "Christians" who believe they are above another people group. I don't want to be associated with those people. They do not accurately represent that God I serve.
Most Muslims feel the same way.
As a Christian I am called to love everyone. It is my job to spread the gospel. It is my job to share my faith. It is my job to pray for those who persecute me. But it is not my job to hate or to blame or to initiate violence.
I hope we all remember, today especially, who the enemy is. Today we must remember that sin is the enemy. One particular people group is not the enemy. Satan. Sin. Evil. That is the enemy. It comes in various forms and cloaked in many variations. Muslims died in those buildings on 9/11. Christians died in those buildings on 9/11. The enemy is Satan.
The thief comes but for to steal, kill, and destroy. But Christ comes to give life.
Please remember to pray for those people who are living without someone they love because of the evil that is present in the world we live.
- Both my boys have colds today. I think some of the issues may have related to this. Thank you to the commenter who suggested they may be ill. They both have a little something going on.
- This too shall pass. This is a stage. It will pass quicker than I want it to.
- I need to not leave without talking to them first. Leaving without them seeing me might have worked when they were a baby but they are old enough to understand that I have snuck out on them. I have been doing this and I think it bothers Elijah especially. Last night, we had a babysitter so we could go on a date. Elijah got upset, but then I stopped and explained it to him, and he was okay. He did well with some explanation and a distraction (playing outside.)
- I should consider allowing Elijah his pacifier or "buddy" (aka "luvvy") while in the nursery.
- Staying in the room to help is probably not a good option for me right now, but it is a "last resort" attempt I could make.
- JB and I need to figure out whether they should be in the same class or not be in the same class. What works better for both of them? They will probably be in the same classes for years to come so we were leaning that way. But we have to discuss this together.
- Consider bribing. (I think this will work for Isaac. I am not sure Elijah can understand the "future" enough yet.)
- Take it slow. Choose my events with care.
- It is okay to put me first. And it okay to put them first.
- Consider a babysitter.
So many wonderful ideas. JB and I went on a date last night! Glorious for both of us. We talked about this a lot while eating our Turkish dinner and practicing our Turkish with our host.
For now we are planning to:
- Attend Sunday evening service together and put the kids in nursery. It is just one hour. Isaac seems to enjoy this every week. Elijah is touch and go.
- Continue attending Wednesday evening service. Amanda is their teacher every week, and they seem to know her now. This is also held in the CDC (Child Development Center) which offers a very cool room that they both seem to greatly enjoy.
- Take MOPs as it comes. I may consider getting a babysitter to attend this since it is only every other week. MOPs has a lot of kids and is in a room not designed for children. It may just not fit for them right now. MOPs is worth me getting a babysitter.
- Wait at least a semester before starting Tuesday Bible Study. This is hard for me as they are doing a Beth Moore study, and I would love to do it. But I think this is just too much for the boys right now.
- When we have our little Monday & Friday babysitting co-op, leave the boys for a very short period to get a break, but don't do it all the time and make sure they are comfortable in their environment.
Thanks everybody! I'll keep you posted on how it is going. And if you want to add more comments, suggestions, or emails, please continue to do so. I've ready every single one, even if I didn't respond to each one individually.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Thursday, September 09, 2010
I brought Elijah out with me for awhile and he sat on my lap pretty calmly sucking on his pacifier (which is against my "only in bed" pacifier rule). I returned to the room about thirty minutes later because I realized I had taken Isaac's diaper bag. Isaac was hysterical when I returned. And I decided that if I was 0-2, it was time to go home.
I know life with toddlers comes in waves. It was just a few weeks ago that I posted about not knowing what to do with the boys while I got ready. Life has already worked that one out. The boys are doing okay by themselves downstairs while I get ready. Or I use a video. Or I bring my makeup downstairs and get ready in the downstairs bathroom. It's gone a lot better. And I haven't even put a gate up at the top or bottom of the stairs.
And as such, I know that this will work itself out as well. The question is, what do I do in the meantime? We are currently putting the boys in nursery on Sunday evenings, Wednesday evenings, and then MOPs every other Thursday. Sunday is just an hour. Wednesday is just an hour. MOPs would be two hours but only every other week.
When we push the stroller up to the church, Elijah starts crying. He starts clinging to me.
I used to work in the nursery as a young girl and teenager and young adult. I know how it works. I know that if mom will just leave, the kid will stop crying. Or eventually, after a few weeks, the kid will be okay with it. I know that if you cater to the crying, they'll never go into the nursery. Or it will take longer.
So I've been doing that. I leave Elijah screaming at the door. He's yelling my name, and I walk away nearly crying myself. Sometimes JB takes him in and I don't even go to the door.
It sucks. I'd say "stink" but that just isn't strong enough. I hate it.
And so my question is this. I believe that putting him in nursery on Sunday evenings is sort of a "requirement." We need to go to church, and bringing him in with me is just not something I would like to do.
But what about the extras? What about Wednesday and MOPs? All three of these are in a different location. What do I do? Do I make him to go to all of them? We are only six weeks in a brand new place? Is this just too much for him?
Isaac cried today, but that isn't usual. The room he was in was very warm and there were a lot of kids crying. They came and got me to pick up Elijah. But with Isaac, I was just dropping off their diaper bag, when they opened the door. Isaac saw me and ran up to me, hot and crying and said, "Mommy, take off my name tag! Mommy, take off your name tag!" He was done with church for this day.
But Elijah is just distraught. Horrified. Miserable. I know he is "Elijah the Passionate" just like Elijah in the Bible as he fought the worshippers of Baal on the mountaintop. He's been passionate since birth. But I don't want to push too hard.
So, let's open up the floor of discussion. What would you do? What should I do?
If you want to mail us something, we would like to receive it! I would be happy to email you our address. Just shoot me an email at email@example.com. Remember that mailing something to us costs the same as a package within the U.S. as we have an APO Box. One stamp will get something here! And you can also get a flat-rate box at the post office, fill out a customs form, and send whatever you like!
If you have something you'd like to share with other military, I'd be happy to pass it along to people as well. Just let me know.
I silently thank the Lord for the good things about spiders. (Remember Corrie Ten Boom, author of The Hiding Place, who thanked the Lord for lice since it kept the guards from getting too close to them?) I know that spiders keep other bugs away. And that is a good thing. But man there are a lot of spiders. Inside. Outside. Upside. Downside.
At least spiders have a purpose. Cockroaches? I know they help the ecosystem, but I really believe their role could be fulfilled by another worthy adversary. Spiders are wayyyy better than cockroaches. So I am thanking the Lord for that too. Thanking him that the bugs I see everywhere are not cockroaches.
And thanking Him that they aren't poisonous. That's another check on the "positive" side.
My boys, especially Elijah, thinks any bug located is worthy of being picked up immediately. JB found a beetle outside today and had to introduce Mr. Beetle to Isaac and Elijah. Elijah immediately went in for the handhold, and I tried to keep my squirmishes on the down-low as JB believes that squirmishes are learned. He doesn't want my squirmishes transferred to them. So I squealed inwardly as we watched the beetle crawl all over Elijah and Elijah squeal with delight.
I have, however, informed JB that if he is not home to rescue the insect, that any insect found within the confines of my home shall be subsequently destroyed if not able to be shooed out immediately.
He wasn't happy, but he acquiesced because he had no other choice.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Wendi: "Maybe I see someone in the market. And I want to ask them, 'how do you say ... apple.'"
Hatice: "Elma. Elma is apple."
Wendi: "Right. I know apple. I know elma is apple. But what if I want to ask someone else how to say it."
Wendi: "So, like, I say, 'How do you say ... dog in Turkish?'"
Wendi: "Right. Yes. I know how to say dog. But what if I wanted to ask you how I could say the word dog in Turkish. How would I do that?"
Hatice: "If you go out of town, I will watch Mr. Scubby. No problem."
Josh and Sarah lived across the street from us in Kentucky from 2000-2003. Was it really that long ago guys? Man. Anyways, we will always have a special bond from those days of hanging out at each other's homes.
Love you guys!
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Today I realized how much English Hatice doesn't know.
Hatice came to the door today, entering, as she often does, the throngs of chaos. Isaac was naked from the waist down because I realized, in the middle of changing him, that I needed diaper cream. It was in the diaper bag in the kitchen which meant removing him from the changing table I have set up in the laundry room (I love having a sink next to my changing table by the way). So I had to set him down while I went to retrieve it.
Isaac is half naked. Elijah is playing with his cars on the bathroom counter. Scrubs is going bananas sniffing Hatice. I'm trying to say hello while preventing Isaac from peeing on the floor.
Elijah handed Hatice the picture the boys drew for her. We put a picture of the three boys (Scrubs included) and wrote Mutlu bayramlar! (Happy Festivals!) on it. Then they stuck stickers all over it and colored it for Nine (Grandma Hatice.) Thursday is a huge Muslim holiday as the end of Ramadan is celebrated. It is basically equivalent to our Christmas in scope.
Hatice got her normal hugs and kisses from the boys, but I could tell something was on her mind. We attempted to sit on the couch to discuss what was troubling her, but the boys were quite needy at the time. Elijah wanted to go outside. I put on his shoes and let him out in the backyard. By the time I put on Isaac's shoes, I found Elijah about to go down the pool slide and splash into a pool full of water (that I thought had been drained)! Ugh! He was completely dressed for our day out. That would have been a disaster.
So we moved our conversation to the front porch. It took us nearly an hour to get to the bottom of her distress. Hatice comes on Sali (Tuesday). Hatice has a bad foot. The doctor needs to see her every Tuesday for six weeks to work on her foot. It is the only day he can see her. But she doesn't want to lose me. And goodness knows I don't wan to lose her. She offered to come on Cumartesi (Saturday) for the next six weeks. She is booked every other day of the week.
But I didn't follow her train of thought. I thought she wanted her friend Nilgun to fill in for her on Fridays until she could return. She was actually only offering Nilgun if Saturdays were not acceptable for me.
We sat there with a calendar in front of us and my little handy dandy Turkish handbook. By the time I finally figured out that she wanted to work Saturday, she started crying she was so happy. Her daughter is getting married at the beginning of October (we are invited but may be out of town) and she really needs the money. She told me that my boys are like her boys and that she doesn't want to lose us but that she has to take care of her foot. She said she spent all weekend stressing about this. Unfortunately, conversing over the phone is nearly impossible since you don't have facial expressions and hand gestures to aide your conversation. So she was forced to wait until today to discuss.
In the end, we decided that Hatice will come on Saturdays. After JB got home from work, I went over to the Bazaar on Base to talk to the company she works for. Unfortunately, it may not be as easy as that. Her gate pass only allows her access to Base during the work week. It could take 2-6 weeks to get those dates changed. We are going to get the ball rolling in hopes we can work it out but Babar, whom I spoke with at the Bazaar, told me it could take one week or it could take six weeks. Sheesh. I am going to do everything I can to get this worked out. I am also contemplating allowing her to come in 1-2 hours each day (after the conclusion of her work day at her other houses) to try to help keep her getting paid from me.
As usual, when Hatice is here, we try not to be in the house for too much of the day. We went to the playgroup at the youth center where toddlers from all over Base take over the gymnasium. We went to the post office. We stopped at the library. And then we went to the Clinic so we could have lunch with JB. I love my little bike trailer. It's fantastic. The boys love it too although sometimes they start fighting midway through a ride.
We went to a little Turkish Cafe' on Base with Linda, the pediatrician JB works with. It was a fabulous little lunch. We ended up trying six different little dishes since we really didn't know what anything was. We also got a dessert. Oh and three waters. All for $12TL (about $9USD). Not too shabby. Linda is wonderful! She is such a beautiful Christian gal, and I look forward to spending more time with her over the next two years.
Hatice informed me when I got home that Scrubs got out. She put him in the backyard while she was mopping and Halil was mowing and had the gate unlatched and he ran out. She went to let him back in and realized he wasn't outside. He wasn't inside. She said she got a bunch of treats. Good thing Scrubby isn't a dog that will run away. He was so hot and so relieved to be back inside he came running right in.
We are busy getting ready for Bible Study tomorrow evening. We (well mostly JB) are cooking the dinner for the Bible Study. We are doing a fajita bar for about 90 people! Woah! JB is pretty courageous to take this on. They provide some of the funding and we provide the cooking. We'll see how it goes.
Güle güle! (Good bye.)