I really dislike the "secretiveness" I have to execute when it comes to my blog. However, I know that it is not safe to let the whole world know where and when we are travelling. I also know that the only other option is to have the blog go private. And then I can only "pick" 100 readers. Not going to do that anytime soon.
So the next best thing is waiting to share our adventures until we return. Not the end of the world.
I wrote the next few blogs while were on our trip. But I am waiting to post them until now.
On Thursday morning, JB had to fly to Izmir for work. I've put a map of Turkey up so you can see where Izmir is. We live pretty close to Mersin (south central Turkey.) Izmir is all the way on the west coast. Izmir has a very tiny military base. So tiny, they do not even have a doctor there. Just a nurse. JB answers questions from the Izmir Base via phone and two times a year he will be coming to Izmir to check and make sure they have everything in order.
The boys and I decided to go with him since we could get round trip tickets for a grand total of $200! Only problem was, we couldn't get on John's flight. His flight wasn't the cheap one. So I had to fly with both boys by myself.
Call me crazy.
JB left early on Thursday morning via shuttle from Base. The boys and I left at 2pm via shuttle from Base. I did not take a stroller because the airport is not really set up to deal with strollers. There are tiny turns and tight areas and you are shuttled out to your plane. I also didn't think the boys would really sit in it very much.
Not having the stroller was hard. But having it would have probably been just as hard. The boys really did well. But two boys who are two and only one of me is not a great combination. If I was holding one of them going through a line for security, the other one would wander away. If I called them, they may decide they wouldn't come back. What do you do in this situation? You are holding another boy and wearing a backpack and carrying a diaper bag. Not a lot of options except to plead for them to "be a good listener."
Luckily I was in a country that thinks children are just the best thing ever. They would pick up a child when we had to go down a flight of stairs. They would hold a child's hands when one started wandering away. Random strangers. The boys were very welcoming of the attention which is not always the case. One woman even offered the boys one of the dry Turkey breads they always eat here. I think she got upset when they both dropped them. She made this "tsk-tsk-tsk" noice which is exclusive to people here in Turkey. I think it meant she dissaproved. Oh well. What can you do?
The boys made friends with a young Turkish girl and pushed their cars back and forth with her for quite some time. Eljiah made friends with her father too, and when one of the cars hurt his finger, he asked the man to kiss it. "Kiss. Hand." he said. The man did. Then he asked the girl too. The girl did.
I can ask questions in Turkish and receive answers in Turkish. But when someone starts talking on the loud speaker in Turkish, I am totally lost. All the flights left out of the same gate. They'd just tell you which one was next. So I would just ask someone next to me if they had announced Izmir. The person would tell me yes or no. And eventually, they said yes, and we boarded the plane. I figured the worst thing that would happen is that I'd wait in line to get to the plane and be told I shouldn't be in that line.
Once on the plane, things went down hill a bit. Firstly, I accepted a coke and juice from the flight attendant only to find out that it was 10USD! I don't think so. I told him I was sorry. I misunderstood. And I gave them back.
It was only a ninety minute flight but truly it felt like six hours. Elijah didn't have a seat since he was under two. Isaac did. This upset Elijah greatly. He wanted to share Isaac's seat. Isaac didn't want him to share his seat. It was quite a war of tears. I eventually got both boys calmed down with a movie for Isaac and stickers for Elijah. Isaac made friends with the man sitting next to him, and Elijah made friends with his stickers, and we eventually landed.
Once we landed, I paid for one of those handy-dandy push carts which the boys thought was something they were supposed to ride. They also wanted to ride around the conveyor belt. But then, we couldn't find JB. Language issues can cause major complications. JB was waiting at the wrong terminal. He doesn't speak any Turkish, and so he didn't know he was at the wrong terminal. He couldn't find us. I couldn't go look for him with one luggage cart and two boys who wanted to try and ride it. I went out through some double-doors only to discover I couldn't go back in once I went out.
So now I am outside and there is really nowhere to go with the the boys. We are sort of trapped waiting there. One of the things in Turkey that is different than the U.S. is that you can't always trust the safety of the things around you. There are no guard rails. There is a huge grate behind us that is wobbly and shaky. There are cars whizzing by. And I realize both boys have dirty diapers.
Again, strangers stepped to my aide. People love children and are so kind to them here. One grabs Isaac when he stops to walk toward the grate while I am chasing Elijah. I try to get them to stay in one place, and they do for a few minutes. But they are two. They can't sit in one place for an hour unless I strap them down. Which I contemplated. I have a friend who uses one of those leashes. She says, "Don't judge me," whenever she brings it out. I don't judge. When I am outnumbered, I think about doing it too!
During this time, I decided to try to change the dirty diapers fearing poop explosions times two. I lay down a pad and start to change Elijah. Isaac is standing behind me. I do not see that he has picked up a huge rock. Probably the size of a grapefruit. I also did not see him drop it. It landed centimeters from Elijah's head. Dirt splattered onto Eljiah's face. A lady came running and helped me move Isaac. There must have been angels blocking that rock. Egads.
I told Isaac to sit down and not move. He didn't. He could tell that I was fuming. I finished changing Elijah and when Isaac asked if he could get up I said no again. I told him I needed to calm down first. Then he lifted his chin and said to me, "Mommy, could I just have one more chance?" Oh melt my heart!
About an hour after arriving, JB found us! Thank goodness. It was wonderful to see him. Without cell phones, we had no way to find each other. I had no idea what to do if he didn't come. Next time I think we will try to plan better for those issues. Language barriers and lack of familiarity with your surroundings and the absence of cell phones. Too many variables for me.
We rode a nice bus back to our hotel. Our hotel is AMAZING! It is absolutely gorgeous. There is a playroom for the kids. An outdoor playground. An indoor pool. It's a Swiss hotel and so when I tried to ask in Turkish if they spoke English, the woman at the front desk was like, "Of course!"
Life here is VERY different from Adana. Adana is more the "back country" of Turkey. I'm realizing that now. Izmir is metropolitan and much more in-line with life in the USA.
Lots more to come over the next four days. Including, I can't wait ... Ephesus!!!!