Sunday, November 30, 2008

Out of Order

So the other day I was updating the blog and realized I was no longer connected to the internet. It had gone down. Again. So I saved my file and planned to update later. Well Linda beat me to it. And now my post makes less sense but I am unwilling to change it. Interestingly, though Linda updated the blog she did not talk about any of the things I talked about. So I can still post my update without saying the same stuff. Here goes.
Well I finally got tired of waiting for Linda to update the blog so I am doing it. My wife is such a slacker. I mean she only has 4 kids (4 of whom had birthdays in the last three weeks and three of whom she has to drag to football practice everyday now) as well as her base responsibilities (she has yet to learn how to say "NO!" when people ask her if she will be the chairwoman for the Medical Spouses club, etc).
So we have had a busy month. We did find the opportunity to go to some historical sights though. On Nov 11 we went to Antakya, which was the city of Antioch anciently. At the time of Christ it was the third largest city in the western world behind Rome and Constantinople. It was a trip put together for the families in the Medical Group here (my military unit) and I was made the unofficial tour guide. Of Antioch, not much of its history remains what with the earthquakes knocking things down every few hundred years and the intermittent raids and sieges by Crusaders, Moslems, Mongols, Turks, Armenians, Mamluks, and the French (yes even the French got a piece of the action during WW1). But there is a very nice museum, a famous spring at Harbiye, and a famous historical church.

Antioch was where the followers of Christ were first called "Christians". And Peter, Paul, and Barnabus all taught here. The Church is believed to be one of the places where Saint Peter taught. This was during the Roman persecutions so the "church" was really just a cave in a hillside. A wall was built across the cave by the Knights of the First Crusade. It was neat to stand in this historical place and think of the people who had been there before.
In Haribye (the ancient Greek/Roman city of Daphne), we saw the freshwater spring which drew settlers as early as 1000BC. It is the site where Daphne, a daughter of a river god, was pursued by Apollo and, despising his advances, had herself turned into a Laurel tree. Thus the Laurel tree is sacred to Apollo and was used to crown the heads of victors both in sports and on the battlefield. At Daphne were both a famous Oracle to Apollo and an underground temple to Hades. Neither of which have been discovered. Most of the mosaics in the local museum came from the excavations of wealthy roman villas at Daphne. Haribye was a lush oasis in the midst of the otherwise arid landscape and the kids loved getting wet in the springs and pools.
We also stopped at Payas, an ancient harbor on the Mediterranean sea. There was a castle and caravansari (fortified hotel where caravans loaded with goods could stay the night without fear of being robbed) built by the Armenians and Ottomans respectively. Being newer (built in the 1570's) they were in pretty good shape. The castle being built on the flatland, as opposed to a hill or mountain, it is the first castle we have seen here with a moat. It was a busy but fun day and we are planning to do it again with some friends who didn't get to go.

For those of you who have not yet heard the news, we have received our follow on assignment. We have been "penciled in" (the military's way of reminding you nothing is definite) to a slot at Royal Air Force Base Lakenheath in England. While Linda is a little leery of going back to a cold place with dark winters (We will be at the same latitude as central Quebec) we are both really excited to be able to remain foreign while going to a place where we already know the language. While I have really enjoyed Turkey, it has been so very frustrating not being able to communicate when out there on our own.

On Thanksgiving Maryn and Dallen and I visited another castle. This one did not have a road to it so we had to do a little hiking. It was a Byzantine and Armenian castle and defended a pass through the mountains south of here. The castle is called Gokvelioglu Castle. I've included pictures.

Well thats it from the Carpenter Clan. We are having a great time. The winter here is really mild and in my opinion the best time to go explore places. We look forward to hearing from the rest of ya'll and hope everyine had a good Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Hello again! Yippee! We are back on! Believe it or not, nothing really happened while we were away. I pretty much have the exact same life as I have always had. Except that now I am doing laundry, attending parent-teacher conferences, and wiping snotty noses in a country that considers goats an appetizing form of meat. But doesn't that make everything more exciting?

The kids did start flag football a few weeks ago. Those of you who remember my husband or any one of my brothers (except maybe Roch) playing any kind of organized sport will know how that is going. But they all seem to be having a great time with it. Even Maryn has really gotten into it. She played her last game in the pouring rain and came home covered in mud, but smiling. As I stood there under my umbrella, I wondered why they didn't cancel it. But when I voiced this question later, she looked shocked. "Mom! You don't cancel football because of rain!" I stand corrected.

Bennett is by far the most entertaining to watch. He will spend most of the start of the game, stomping on the chalk lines to make "smoke". Somewhere around halftime he figures out he is supposed to try and get the ball. Hopefully before the end of the game he will remember he is supposed to run with it when he gets it. Most of the other players have learned not to pass him the ball because he just hands it to whoever tries to take it. Not because he is afraid, he just honestly thinks, "Geez, if you want it bad enough to chase me, you can have it. I'll go find another one." And then he does. He has this kind of "Look guys, there are a bunch of balls in the coaches' bag, lets not fight over this one" attitude. It is hilarious to watch him try to convince the rest of the team. He even says "Excuse me" when he's has to rush the other players.

The coach is so great with him, and so patient. He is firm enough to (attempt to) keep him on track, but relaxed enough to see the humor in his youngest team member. It's a good thing they don't keep score for this age, or Bennett would have added two touchdowns to the opposite team last Saturday.

Dallen's team is kicking butt and taking names. He is actually helping a little too. =) He might be afraid to catch the ball (he had a pretty nasty fat lip after one practice) but he sure can run when he finally gets it. Last game he got the ball and ran it almost the entire length of the field. He would have gotten a touch down, but someone yelled, "Stop! You lost a flag!" (he hadn't, but he stopped to check and got sacked) I told him next time don't stop until you hear a whistle. His team got the touchdown on the next play though. He had literally stopped a foot short of the goal line.

Dallen's other big news is that he no longer needs his glasses. (Listen for the Hallelujah Chorus) We went to the eye doc last week, and his vision has improved!!! Apparently if problems are caught early enough, they aren't too severe, and the child wears the glasses consistently, the eyes can be retrained. After going through 9 pairs of glasses with Dallen, I'm not sure about the 'consistent' part, but he apparently had the other requirements! We will have to make sure his eyes are checked each year of course. There is also a good chance that he might need them when he hits puberty (which is when most of the eyeglass wearers in my family needed them), but right now, we are celebrating!

Here is a picture we had taken in front of the Mosque in Adana. (The city about 20 miles from our village) See - I really AM working toward a Christmas letter. Lets see if it actually happens!

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Go out and do some Black Friday shopping for me!