Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Castles, Conference, and Corn In Cup

Yippee! More pictures! By the way - while you are browsing, if you click on a picture a larger (and easier to see) image will appear.

Here are a few pictures of my trip to the Mall. I went with Angie (on the left) and Juliana (on the right) my two dearest friends in this great adventure. Funny how something so simple in the states was like a pilgrimage to Mecca here. We had to take a tour bus on a miserable 4 hour ride in the hopes of getting some remotely Western food. (We had a friend tell us that there was a Popeye's Fried Chicken) On our way inside the building we just had to stop and get our picture next to the uber-hip decor of metal hearts covered in glitter.

No Popeye's Chicken yet, but we did find Fisho. Look closely, yes that man is holding up an entire fish -head and all- that you can buy at his fast food restaurant in the food court at the mall. Mmmmm... Does Juliana look grossed out? I should think so.

Look over there! Is that an Orange Julius? A Cinnabon? NO! Its "Corn in Cup" Just in case you were out shopping and you got a sudden urge for corn. Where or where can you find some!? Relax, we've got you covered.
Yes, we found Popeyes'. Yes it was delicious. Still, unbelievably Turkish, but delicious. A happy ending to our story.

Here is a top view of Snake Castle. If you have some extra time, you can play "Where's Waldo" I mean, "Where's Dallen"
Juliana's husband Karl took this picture. You can see us in various stages of ascending the mountain to the castle. That is me toward the back in the orange shirt, and my kids are even farther ahead. Oh, and lest anyone think my husband is a cad - he offered to take the baby from me, and I refused. After all I AM a liberated woman. (at least until the path gets too steep) =)

On our way down the mountain, a farmer let his sheep out. It was neat to see them scrambling down the hill. It looked like the ground was alive because they sort-of blended in.

Here is our branch at Branch Conference on the balcony of the Hilton. I had to speak and Michael was on call (meaning he can't leave the base) so I took Maryn with me and he kept the boys. The man next to me with the red tie is our Branch President and the lady in the khaki jacket is the Relief Society president. We have a really great group of people.

Here is a better picture of the mosque we are standing in front of. It is quite a lovely building.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A few musings (or ramblings)

Well, Michael left me again! This time he went to America (Texas to be exact) for training in allergies and immunizations. That has always been one of the issues close to his heart, so he was excited for this conference. We have a neighbor here that won't vaccinate her kids and they have had a few "discussions" about it. My favorite was when this lady was harassing him for not recycling and he said, "Well, I help keep horrible diseases out of America, and vaccinate my kids so you don't have to. And you recycle and buy organic and reduce your footprint, so I don't have to. We cancel each other out, really."

That has always been his complaint, especially now that we are in a third-world country (Editor's note - those of you that told me I would not be going to a third-world country have obviously not been to THIS part of this country) He sees kids dying of these diseases. America is one of the only countries where the citizens have the choice not to vaccinate. Most everywhere else - if you don't, you die. I guess it just shows how great the vaccinations have worked. People in my generation don't remember having friends and neighbors dying of these diseases. So I guess now they think it isn't important. Maybe that is what the Bible means about the "love of men waxing cold" in the last days. (One meaning anyway) People start deciding that vaccinations are a choice or a conspiracy and they stop remembering that it protects all of society. Then these diseases can come back full force (they aren't extinct -come to Turkey if you don't believe me) and voila, we have another epidemic.

Well, that turned into a rant! You can tell I have been without adult conversation for awhile! - for the record, we would recycle if I didn't have to drive 2 hours to do it. In our little village, you are considered progressive and "earth friendly" if you burn your trash instead of throw it on the ground. The men that gather the base's trash think they have a racket going. "You mean we get paid to take your garbage away?" They think we Americans are crazy to pay when we could just drop it on the ground for free. I am not kidding. I will post some pictures.

On a sad note, we've had a real upheaval in our little Branch here. (Our congregation) A woman in our Relief Society (Women's Group) has decided to leave her husband and family and run away with a Turkish gardener. Putting aside how much this grosses me out (if any of you had ever smelled a Turkish man, you'd know why) I am trying to grasp how a person gets to this point. How do you become so selfish, stubborn, and far from Christ's light that you can completely convince yourself that something so glaringly wrong, is right. She thinks she is living a some sort of "higher law". To see the pain that her family is going through, it breaks my heart. But nothing matters to her, but herself. She actually brought home flowers the gardener gave her, and danced and tittered around the kitchen arranging them. All this in front of her husband. When he asked her why she was rubbing it in, she shot back with, "What is your problem!? They are just flowers!" No sense of reality.

I am taking this so much harder than I should. Those of you who know me, know that I have an overwhelming sense of fairness. This just seems so unfair to her husband and her kids. To have no respect for commitments you made, and to just cast people you love to the side. It is evil. Be an adult, have some maturity and decency.

Sorry to vent, I just can't discuss it with anyone here, we are trying to spare the family gossip on top of heartbreak. Sometimes I wonder if my calling is going to be too hard on me. I take everything to heart and I want to fix everything. (Well, what I really want to do is take this woman by the shoulders and shake her, - but that isn't Christ-like either)

One thing this has taught me, is to appreciate my wonderful husband and kids. These last few weeks have been pretty stressful and they have been so patient with me. In addition to this church issue, I have taught two classes (scrapbooking), worked a full schedule of nail clients, attending Installation (base) meetings to lobby for a preschool, met with the school Superintendent on an advisory board for the same reason, planned the Relief Society Birthday Celebration, and saved the world from nuclear annihilation. (Okay, not the last one. Although we did have a bomb threat in our post office and they caught and stopped a suicide bomber two streets over - although neither of those directly involved me, nor were they nuclear. But really, that is just splitting hairs.)

All in all, I don't have much to complain about (although after reading the last few paragraphs, I am sure you could beg to differ) Leave it to me to find a way! =) Michael will be home in two weeks, and he was sent with a shopping list. When he called me yesterday he said he had already been to Target. I said, "Oh, how is Target? Does it miss me?" He said Target misses me but our checking account doesn't miss Target. =)

I have babbled on enough. Love you all!