Quote from N

May 28, 2015

Today, N said, ‘I was just thinking. It’s almost as if as you grow older, life gets harder.’

Hmmmm. Enjoy those Legos, buddy because you’ve stumbled on some truth!

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Home School Co-op

May 18, 2015

Co-op has been going strong this semester. We meet every other Friday. We alternate between studying a composer or an artist. The kids have a time of recitation where they recite all that they have memorized since our previous meeting. Then, we do a little value added learning on whatever subject seems pertinent. On this particular day, we learned about Vivaldi, an Italian composer. Check out The Piano Guy’s mix of Vivaldi’s Winter and Frozen. Incredible! After that inspiration, we had a knot lesson. With a rope for each child and a few YouTube videos, we made some knot tying experts! :) Then, we went to a local naval museum that also had naval knot tying stations.

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The guys think more along the lines of knots to hang the war enemies they capture.

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The girls think more along the lines of knots to tie off the necklaces they make! There were knots for everyone and we had a great time!

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Rockin’ the naval museum!

Local Hospitality

May 16, 2015

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I left the kids with a babysitter and went to visit a friend for tea. This is the table that awaited. A home-made sweet, a savory, fruit, tea and then coffee. Fresh flowers on the table and in pots from the balcony rails. How different this is from meeting a friend at Starbucks in the states! Both feed the soul…I miss time with dear women in America but I also treasure these afternoons both for the joy of sharing life with other women!

Strawberry Season

May 14, 2015

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Look how big these strawberries are! Seriously! Compare SK’s fist to the size of that strawberry! They are every bit as good as they look too! We are so much more aware of seasons here. This is partly due to fruits and vegetables only being available in their rightful season. It is also due to living among more nature where flowers, trees and plants make seasons more visible. On the same day, all the oranges turn from green to orange, the roses all pop at once, or the wisteria makes a grand entrance. I love seeing God’s creation in this way and I also love partaking of yummy fruit- home-grown and freshly picked!

Denim Day

May 12, 2015

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We do have a dryer but it doesn’t work as well as an American one would. I usually use it for socks and underwear and hang everything else as this seems to be the quickest way to get the laundry job done!

When to Ask for Help

May 10, 2015

Something that helps us thrive  here is knowing when to ask for help from locals. Do you see what is strange about this picture?

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The climbing vine is hanging mid-mid air, without a base. The right side is our home and the left side is our¬† neighbors. We share an adjoining wall. We had decided together to have the climbing vine cut down. The maintenance crew was just leaving when I came home. I asked them to finish the project before they left and cut the WHOLE vine down, not just the base. No, they said, too dangerous. Well, can my husband borrow your saw then? No. Well, if I get a ladder for you, will you finish? Thinking for a second….”OK, if you pay me 50 lira” (25 dollars) I didn’t know I was supposed to bribe maintainance men to do their jobs nowdays. Time to call in the cavalry.

In this situation, the Calvary is a neighbor who is always home, always knows who or what is coming or going, in short, doesn’t miss a thing whether you want her involved or not. This was the type of thing she lives for.

All I had to do was tell her about the proposed bribe. One phone call later and the vine was GONE!

Thankful for knowing who and when to ask for help!

Preschool Open House

May 7, 2015

Last Saturday was SK’s spring open house. We got to tour her class room, talk to her teachers and see all the crafts they have been working on at school.

This is SK’s English teacher. There are always two teachers in the classroom. One who speaks English and one who speaks the local language. She has had the same English teacher for two years in a row now and she has been such a gift to us!

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This is SK’s local language teacher. She is also super sweet and SK likes that she “always dresses lady-like.”

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Interestingly, they had both individual projects and ‘class projects’. Here is SK explaining how she helped with one of the class projects.

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As Americans, we are generally more individualistic. It was interesting to see how a more co-dependant society more highly valued group work. There were several group projects. This was one of my favorites.

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There was also a Merry Christmas banner on the wall because, hey, it’s in English so lets hang it on the wall!

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Loved SK’s artwork and interesting last name!

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There was also a clown who painted faces.

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At the end, there was a drum and song performance. SK looked bored throughout her drum show. Afterwards, I asked her if she was bored and she said no, she was hot and squished. It was a hot day but I made her keep her sweater on, just for the performance because it was culturally inappropriate to have short sleeves at that time of year, even though, to us, it was hot. I guess I paid for that decision with a bored drummer!

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After the drums, they sang an English song. At the end of the song, they repeat, “all together now.” But, SK sings this with a local English accent. She can’t even tell what she is saying. When we try to tell her she’s saying, “all together now” she adamantly explains that no, in fact, she is saying, “ahh toogeta naw” Oh well, thankfully, she’s there to learn the local language, not English!

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Sweet Friends

May 5, 2015

Nothing like a day of dress up and crafting for little girls!

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A Little Snow

May 3, 2015

“Drive ‘just a little bit further’ and you’ll see snow!” the mountain restaurant owner said. He was so enthusiastic that we decided to oblige him and see for ourselves. The drive up the winding dirt road was beautiful.

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When we finally arrived, there actually WAS snow! And, cars pulled off the road in every direction, their riders romping, and laughing with delight. Many were villagers, some seeing snow for the very first time. We were quick to park, jump out and join them.

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The ground was rocky and the snow cover sparse but nonetheless, we had fun enjoying the novelty of it all.

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There was a camaraderie among the snow-revelers. Absent were the usual, “you’re gonna get ill from playing in the cold” remarks that usually pepper outdoor play. Everyone was united in rebellion.

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My favorite part of the snow play was a potentially-senile-woman who thought she knew me. “Faaatttmmmaaa!!!” she yelled, in my direction. I gave her a half wave. Mistake. Just the encouragement she needed! “How’s Mehmet? How are the kids?”, she asked? Before I could stumble out an answer, she yelled for me to tell them all hello which I assured her I would. It made her day to see “Fatma’s” smiling face. I only wish I could be a fly on the wall next time she sees the real Fatma and asks her how her day in the snow was! :)

As for me, the Fake Fatma, my day in the snow was grand!

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My Birthday

April 30, 2015

I knew exactly what I wanted to do on my birthday…it has become a tradition.

I wanted to go to a village breakfast at our favorite spot in the mountians. It was a cold day but not cold enough to be uncomfortable next to the wood burning stove by our table.

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I love the traditional village breakfast with tomatoes, cucumber, eggs, bread, cheeses, jellies, olives and special spices for dipping.

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After the meal, Baba and I sit, talk and drink glass after glass of chai while the kids play outside in the garden where there are farm animals and a playground. They welcome the chance to run until their cheeks are read and their bodies are too tired to go on, chasing chickens, spotting rabbits and playing ball. Baba and I welcome the chance to be together. I’m full of gratitude as I watch the kids playing with joy.

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This year, I was given a surprise gift. We struck up a conversation with the family sitting next to us. We ended up sitting together to drink tea after the meal. They have remained special friends and my birthday will always mark the begining of our friendship. I wish I could post their picture here!

We always buy fresh honey before we leave. Look at this guy’s determination!

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I hope we don’t wait a full year before returning here!

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