Monday, August 30, 2010

It Takes A Village....

to get the Stebbins settled in Turkey! Things have been going remarkably smoothly for us, but I know that is because of the help and kindness of so many. Just a few examples:

~My wonderful parents let me and my 2 year old crash at their house all summer. Their beautiful house turned into Romper Room and their routines were thrown into disarray, but they were gracious and supportive. Happy Anniversary you two!!

~ My sister and her family sweetly offered to adopt our dog. This was a huge relief for me as my little dog and her care was causing me much stress and worry. Did I mention that they also just brought home a new baby? Yet, they stepped up and gave my dog a wonderful home.

~Our Texas friends, who gave Ryan a place to stay for a few weeks after our furniture shipped. He bounced from house to house and doors were always left open for him.

~Ryan's parents, who hastily put together a last minute trip to Texas to see us and spend time with W before we left. It meant so much to us.

~All of you who have sent kind e-mails, phone calls, encouraging words, and prayers our way. Each and every one has meant so much. We have the best support system and we know it. We love you all!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Since arriving in Turkey less than a week ago, we have gotten out and about quickly-maybe too quickly. In the span of the last 3 days, we have been to a lake in Adana, to a Turkish restaurant, the M1 mall, Sunday Market, and all over the Alley. I am exhausted from jetlag and all the activity-but I've identified something else that is making me tired-something I am calling cultural exhaustion.

When you spend so much time immersed in another culture, it can be very draining. Until recently, I had not been a worldwide traveler. The furthest I had been was England-and I wouldn't say that was a huge cultural shift. Those of you seasoned travelers out there understand the exhaustion I am referring too. There is not one thing outside these gates that is even vaguely like what I am used to. The customs, dress, architecture, goods, food-everything is new and different. And then there is the trying to be careful not to offend anyone here. I learned that the word "peach" is translated to a not-so-nice word here. I said it many times at the market accidently and felt badly. My friend Wendi, who is blonde and over 6 feet tall, gets looked at a lot. Your mind is in a constant state of processing and assimilating and trying to understand. All of it, in a word, is exhausting.

I think I'll stick around the base this week to recover a little before venturing out again.


Friday, August 27, 2010

The Outside World

Living on an overseas base, you can easily forget that you are not in America. The grocery store and BX have all familiar items and your neighbors are Americans like you. It is a nice little bubble I live in.

Today, we went off base for the first time to buy paint. The base will give us basic white and brown, but I wanted something different, so the guy here on base recommended a paint store in the "Alley". The Alley is a big circle of store fronts and restaurants right off base that sprung up to cater to the Americans on base. Most people in the Alley speak at least broken English, and many places take the dollar.

So, off we went. To get off the base, you must have a gate pass and then have your car searched by the (armed) Turkish guards. Same thing when you come back. Once off base, everything instantly becomes totally different. The buildings look like they are made of cardboard and could topple on each other any minute. Driving is a daunting prospect-traffic rules and lanes are a suggestion, not a rule, and people weave in and out and around as they please. We drove around until we found the paint store. There are men hanging out in groups everywhere. I guess in this culture, women don't socialize as much outside the home, so all you see is men. That will take some getting used to.

Anyhoo, we found the paint store and the owner was, as usual for the Turks, very nice and helpful. We paid him in Turkish lira and loaded our goods. I saw several restaurants that people here have talked about-so maybe soon we will try one. I think our next off base adventure will be to the Sunday Market. More on that to come......

First Impressions Part 2

We took our first adventure as a family outside the base...and driving around certainly requires your full attention, i.e. don't think I'll be texting while driving (I can't text anyway, but it gives you an idea). While outside we drove around in what's called the Alley and found our paint store and, hence, our project begins. I wonder if I can contract painting out?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First Impressions

About 10 years ago, I strolled in to Frazer's college Sunday School class (late as usual) and was greeted by the SS president, a tall guy in the Air Force named Ryan Stebbins. He was nice enough, but I didn't feel any sort of "spark". He would later tell me he thought I talked incessantly and seemed a little flighty. Fast forward 10 years, and we are happily married. So, I guess you can't always trust first impressions. Keeping that in mind, I present you with my first thoughts about Turkey:

1. It is REALLY hot. I thought I would be prepared for it given my Alabama upbringing, but I am not. It is a whole different ballgame over here. The temperature isn't that much warmer, but the intensity of the sun is greater. That being said, I hear it cools down quicker here than in the states, so hopefully the worst of the summer is almost over.

2. The base is quite charming and cozy. It reminds me a little of Mayberry. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming. I can tell it is a close-knit community. I like that. The BX and Commissary (grocery store) has everything we need and a lot of cool items they don't have in the states (the olive oil is amazing!)

3. Our house is older, but has a great deal of charm. It is simple, but with a coat of paint here and there and our furniture here (hopefully soon!) I think we will be very happy.

4. The Turks are great. Very friendly and helpful. We hope to go off base this weekend to Sunday Market. They have wonderful fresh produce for very little money. We were over a friend's last night who went last weekend and the heirloom tomatoes I saw had me salivating. I can't wait. The mall in the nearby city of Adana is very modern and has American stores like GAP and Ann Taylor Loft. Hopefully we will get there soon. I think the only thing about this culture that will take some getting used to is the Muslim call to prayer. We hear chants on loud speakers several times a day. It reminds me that for the first time in my life, I am in the religious minority-which is a somewhat strange feeling.

Hopefully pictures will come soon-our camera is dead and we can't find the charger in all of the chaos of moving.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Merhaba(Hello) from Turkey!!

After 4 months of waiting and wondering, we are finally calling Incirlik Air Base home. The trip over was hard and long. I don't think I'll be doing it alone again, but it's one more thing to check off the list of things I never thought I could do. I have a feeling I'll be checking many items off that list in the next couple of years. That's all for now-I am pretty tired and feeling some jetlag. More details to come!


Friday, August 20, 2010

Food Stamps in Turkey

Well, our first small shipment of household goods arrived and after receiving and seeing the total weight I quickly realized I should have sent A LOT more, i.e. golf bag, trash cans, etc...oh well. Got the computer up and running, skyped with Sarah and William Wednesday night for the first time. But...turned the computer on Thursday only to realize that it is no longer a part of this family...good thing I made backups. I purchased a laptop (first time ever) and bought another modem, this time wireless, oh, did I mention Sarah closed on our house which leads me to the food stamps...I think I can use them here. How's the food you ask, well I had lunch Thursday at the bowling alley, I know what you're thinking, but they have Chicken Donners every Thursday...and they're verrry good...reminds me of a healthy version of Moes or Chipotle minus the extras those two wonderful establishments offer. I've played golf about 5 times...I could get my handicap down to a ridiculous number...but wouldn't be a true handicap since this is the only course around. Sarah and William arrive next week and I CAN'T WAIT to see them. Ryan

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Turkish Fun Facts

While working on a change of address card to send out, I came across some cool facts about Turkey:

~Istanbul has been designated "The Cultural Capital of Europe" for 2010

~The official state flower is the tulip, and it was Turkey who first gave tulips to

~Turkey is the birthplace of 2 famous saints: Paul, and Nicholas. That's right-Santa Claus was a Turk!

~Noah's Ark is traditionally thought to be buried on Turkey's Mt. Ararat

~Though thought of by the world as a Muslim country, Turkey is actually a secular state with no official religion.

I am sure we are in for a lot more interesting information as we get to know our new home. We can't wait to start exploring!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Getting Started

I've caved. I swore I would never do a blog. Nothing against all of you bloggers out there, but the idea of filling everyone and their brother in on all the details of my daily life never really appealed to me. Besides, outside my immediate family, I really thought no one would care.

That all changed last April with a phone call from Ryan at work. "We got our assignment" he began before a long pause-"and it's not good". We had been waiting for word of where the Air Force would move us next after 4 wonderful years in San Antonio. I had tried to prepare myself for every possible scenario-from Minot, North Dakota to Alamogordo, New Mexico-and everywhere in between. The only thing I hadn't considered-overseas. Ryan thought that would be, at best, a remote possibility. I took a deep breath and asked where my new home would be. "Turkey" he said, "Incirlik, Turkey." What? How? Why? My head was exploding. The sweet, normal, non-interesting, status quo life that I had worked so hard to cultivate was blown to pieces. Other people move overseas and have great adventures and do crazy things, but not me.

So, all of this brings me back to this blog. I have no idea where it will go. Ryan and I hope it will serve as a journal of how God works through us and in us while we are doing something that, at least for me, will be very difficult at times. We know that we will see and experience things that will change us forever. Come along with us, won't you?