Monday, October 29, 2007

It is what it is

First off, let me say "sorry" for the long absence. Those of you that know our family well, also know that this is the birthday week for all four of my children. So, as you can imagine - I have been up to my eyeballs in treat bags and cupcakes. Every year I swear I'll have just one big party. But every year I give in and give them each their own. Usually because I feel Maryn's pain. It is hard being among so many boys. I think her exact quote this year was, "Mom, if we combine the parties then Dallen will be there with a bunch of first grade boys. AND you are giving them all Ninja swords. PLEASE don't do that to me!"

I immediately thought back to a time when I was ten. I had looked up a phone number and was reciting it to myself. As I walked down the hallway on my way to the phone, one by one, all of my brothers descended on me like locusts, pulling me away from the phone and shouting random numbers at me to make me forget what I had been saying. I still don't get why. But for this reason (and many others) my daughter gets her own party each year. =)

Besides - each of the kids requested a different theme. So unless has started making "Princess Ninja Pirate Duck" plates - I am out of luck anyway.

But I digress....

Michael made it back safe and sound. He said he felt "okay" about his test. We will see in three months. (Yes, they make you wait that long for the results. No, I can't believe it either) A huge "Thank-you" to Ken and Ashlee for letting him stay with them in Philly! I am holding you to your promise to come visit! =)

He also said that it was great being back in the U.S. But, he was kind to me and didn't rub in all the Restaurants he visited. Someone asked me once what I miss the most about America. I'd have to say that would be Restaurants. It is not that I don't like Turkish food (I REALLY do) It is just that, that is ALL there is! (Go Figure) I never really thought of that before coming here. In America, if you are in the mood for Thai, Mexican, Burgers, Soup and Sandwiches, whatever - you just go to the appropriate corresponding restaurant. But here, there is Turkish food. (And Taco Bell) It is not that they don't try, but even the "American" food on base ends up tasting Turkish. Because that is who is cooking it!

It is an interesting dynamic. ALL of the restaurants in Adana serve the same thing. The Turks are very traditional. They take a "this is what we have always cooked, and this is what we will always cook" attitude. Believe me, it is cooked VERY well, but sometimes I just want to go to an Applebees! =) I try not to think about the fact that Michael did - like four times!!!

As far as the political situation goes (regarding the Armenian Resolution) - we are still in a "wait and see" mode. Things are a little strained, but most of the Turks in our village are as nervous as we are. If anything happens to the base, their livelihood is gone. Besides - most of them truly do like us and want us here. We did have to be locked on the base a couple of times last week. There were some heated protests about the Turkish soldiers killed near the Iraq border. The protests were not anti-American (the people want the Turkish government to find the Kurdish rebels that did it) but our Base commander wanted to be safe. You never know what kind of looneys show up to those things. Just look at any University campus in California. =)

So unless the Resolution passes, things will stay calm here. Like I told my brother, there is no sense in freaking myself out about it. All I can do is make my opinion known to my elected officials, get my affairs in order, and go on with my life. The rest is completely out of my hands. It helps to remember that The Lord sent us here. I still truly believe that. I just hope He didn't send me here to teach me to not be so attached to my worldly possessions! =)

(Editors Note: The previous paragraphs were written a day before they were posted. We have since learned that Nanci Pelosi got a clue, the Resolution was dropped, and we can all let out our long-held breath.)

We are all well, safe, and happy. I am still trying to get Michael to sit down and write. Not only does he need to write about the Turkish Bath House, but he also attended a traditional wedding on Tuesday. We've got great video of him dancing! =) So far I have been unable to get him to log on. What? Does he think he is BUSY or something?

Oh, and one last thing. We have definitely decided to baptise Dallen in the River Jordan. It is possible with planning, so we are going forward. I mention this now so that anyone that wants to join us in the Holy Land has fair warning. We are looking at setting a date for the second week of November 2008 (Most likely Tuesday the 11th). We are planning on taking tours of the Garden of Gethsemane and Christ's Tomb, etc. So it will definitely be worth it! I can help with finding hotels and stuff, just let me know. I just thought I'd dangle the carrot! =)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Alone again...naturally

I am feeling a bit blue at the moment. My dear husband has flown to America to take his National Board Exam. So, I am anxious for him and feeling down. He will be gone for about 10 days. The test isn't until next week, but the "higher-ups" here wanted him to be well over his jet lag before he sat down to two days of life and death examinations. Okay, maybe not life and death, but certainly career and death. =) Any prayers for him these next few days would be appreciated.

Of course the day he left, was the day my busy-body neighbor decided to freak me out. For those of you that follow politics, there is a resolution before Congress about the Armenian genocide. I won't bore you with long descriptions, but apparently the Turks are VERY upset about it. All of the service members on base received a memo to be cautious and alert because if the resolution passed, there could be demonstrations. We were not placed on lock down or anything, just warned to be on our guard. ANYWAY - this neighbor of mine got me completely freaked out because she is convinced there will be violence and we will have to be evacuated. She was here at the start of the Iraq war, and she was evacuated then. Apparently you get very little notice and you must leave everything behind. They were displaced in Germany for two months before they got the all clear to return to their homes. But of course she darkly pointed out that THIS time it is an issue with the Turks, so we could be kicked out for good. In fact, she said that if that happens, we might never get our things back. "Oh, the Air Force will try to compensate you, but how can you put a price on family heirlooms and photos?"

Yeah, go ahead and just ROCK me to sleep tonight.

Fortunately, I talked to a few other people that told me how unlikely this all really is. But it is still in the back of my head. I still feel so out of place here. The adjusting is harder on me than I thought it would be. I don't know, maybe it is just that my husband is gone again. Just my luck that this all happens right as he leaves. Only 9 more days and counting....

Friday, October 5, 2007

Well, we THOUGHT we hadn't dissappeared!

Okay, so as soon as we get our computer back together, the internet goes down! (Yep, the whole world wide web - just up and died - thousands in shock- anarchy in the streets, the whole bit) OKAY! So I meant that OUR internet was down. But that is irrelevant, because now we are back on. After missing a few slightly important things like due dates for bills and Grandma Ada's 90th birthday gift. Grrrrr.....

I know it sounds trite, but there HAS been a lot going on. I actually drove for the first time off base and into the city. (Got terribly lost, paid a toll on the Turkish Otoban, asked a donkey cart driver for directions, smiled politely and nodded when I didn't understand a bit of what he said - you know - the usual) Oh - and a man was electrocuted on our front lawn. Don't worry though, he's doing better now.

So, let me start at the beginning. Last Thursday, I woke up and rushed around my house to get everything ready for the "Planned Power Outage"at 8am. Contractors were fixing a transformer in front of our house, so our whole block lost power that day. My friend Angie and I had decided to go into Adana rather than be stuck at home with no power. She showed up just as the power went out. We went to get into the car when all of the sudden we heard a loud popping/banging noise and a man was on the ground in front of the transformer with smoke coming out of the top of his head. Then everyone went nuts. (By the way - Turkish people are NOT calm in a crisis.) It took us forever to call for help, because of the aforementioned "power outage" no one's electric phones were working. (Note to self - get a corded phone)

At this point everyone is in panic mode. It seemed like every Turkish handyman on the base (there are A LOT) was running to try and help. Many of the Turkish nannys (there are even MORE) were crying. My neighbor's nanny just wrung her hands and kept yelling, "cok gec" (chalk gech - "it is too late") The lady next to her turned pale until I pointed out that the man was moving his hands and nodding his head.

The ambulanz finally arrived and he was whisked away. All of us were still pretty shook up, but we had to leave in order to make it back in time to get our kids from school. Besides, there was nothing else we could do at this point. So on we venture. (a sane person would have noticed that this experience did not bode well for the rest of the day, but since when am I sane?)

So, we leave the safety of our little base and venture out into the great wide world. Now I was trying to find the office of my Turkish friend, Delik. She had offered to take me to get a cell phone. Mostly because the prices on the base are more expensive. Anyway, I spent about 30 minutes doing what should have take 5. (I tell you, these roads are made by blind-folded, drunk donkeys!) When we finally found her office, I go to get her - and she sends out her Boss instead. Apparently she wasn't able to get away. I had met him a couple of times, so I felt only a little weird having him help. I probably would have said "no thanks" but we REALLY needed an interpreter.

So he takes me to the cell phone store, and again I feel as though I am 6 years old. I am standing there feeling stupid while they talk over my head. I basically have to trust that this man, Sefer, is actually buying me a cell phone and not selling me into slavery.

All goes well, and I am feeling confident enough to drop Sefer off before the I head over to the bazzar. He keeps asking, "you are sure you know the way?" "Of course" Angie says, "It is a straight shot right?" (By the way - this is the same Angie that accompanied me on my infamous "dolmus" trip. Something else a sane person would have noticed)

As I am sure you have guessed by now, we became lost. Very, very lost. Suffice it to say, asking for directions around here is like playing a twisted game of charades. Luckily for me, Sefer had programmed his cell phone number into my phone. We called him and he talked us back to the main roads. Thank heaven for bilingual friends. All these close shaves have made me study my Turkish even harder.

It is funny how being safe at home makes these stories funny.....

Next week Michael returns to Pennsylvania to take his National Board Exam. I might not get much written while he is gone, but I will try to post some pictures. Oh, and the man that was electrocuted really is okay. He had some pretty severe burns, but it could have been SO much worse! Here's to the next adventure! Gorusuruz!