Monday, November 29, 2010

When the Stebbins are away, Auburn can play!

In 2004, Ryan deployed for the first (and hopefully only) time in our marriage.  While it was very tough on us both, one thing that made it a little easier for me was that my Auburn Tigers went undefeated and nearly played for the national title.  As only other lifelong Auburn fans know, these seasons don't come along very often, and when they do, they are just so much fun. Of course it wasn't so much fun for Ryan-who I must say has turned into an even more devoted fan than I am.  We would make the joke that whenever he was out of the country, Auburn wouldn't lose.

Well, it's 2010 and we find ourselves unexpectedly out of the country.  And at the end of the regular season, Auburn finds itself sitting at 12-0 and #1 in the BCS rankings.  Could the two be related?  You be the judge!

Way to go Auburn Tigers-and a big War Eagle from Turkey to you all!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Day Blues

Today is hard.  We miss home on days like today.  Don't get me wrong-we love the friends we have made and the base atmosphere in general, but it's not home. And by "home", I don't mean any particular house or state, just America.  Today is a normal work day for the Turks on base-planes are buzzing all around.  All the stores are open in the Alley.  Nothing is different here-it is up to us to make it special.  And wouldn't you know it, I have come down with a stomach bug.  So, no Thanksgiving meal for me.  Just saltines and 7-up.  Ryan and William will head to our friend's house for a feast-and hopefully a piece of home that we so badly miss.

Happy Thanksgiving 2010 from Turkey!

Monday, November 22, 2010


One of the cool things about having a 2 year old is that W is becoming so much more aware of his surroundings, and in particular, the people surrounding him.  For the first time in his little life, he has friends.  Each day, he asks me if we can go to their house, play with them, or just see them.  Scott, Peter, Noah, Rowan, Isaac, and Caleb are common words in our house-he loves them all.  But he REALLY loves Elijah.  Elijah is Isaac's little brother and my friend Wendi's youngest boy.  They are two peas in a pod-loud and spirited and yet the same time sweet and kind.

 Racing each other to get a snack-all these two do is run, run, run!

 Sharing a wagon ride back from the park and making funny noises.  The giggles from these two are priceless.

Thank you Wendi for sharing your boy with me this day.  I couldn't pick a better first buddy for my boy than Elijah!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Treat

While running errands at the BX, I got an unexpected and totally wonderful treat-I saw my friend Deborah!  She is the one who was diagnosed with cancer a couple of weeks ago.  In 2 weeks time, she has had her colon re-sected, ovaries removed, and endured an untold number of biopsies and tests.  But there she was in the BX, looking fantastic, with the same warm smile and sweet words for me as usual.  Seeing her made my day, and reminded me of how the peace of God will fill us and sustain us if we will only let it.  Deborah has an uncertain future, at best, but she is leaning on the certainty of her eternal Father.  She is peaceful and radiant and joyful. 

What a witness.  What a lady.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Turkish/American Women's Club

One of the greatest opportunities that I have had here is the chance to be part of an organization combining American women living on or near the base with Turkish women living in Adana.  My neighbor here on base, Seyhun, first invited me to join this group.  She is originally from Istanbul, where she met her American husband Scott.  He is now a contractor on the base.  I was excited to get to know her more and jumped at the chance to join.  Our first outing was to an amazing private club in Adana.  We had dinner outside overlooking the city.  The conversation with our Turkish counterparts was just fascinating and so insightful.  These women are intelligent, thoughtful, funny, and kind-and the best part-they speak English!!  I learned so much that evening about what it is really like trying to be a modern woman in a Muslim world.  Truly an evening I will never forget.

The above pictures were from our second meeting-which was held at the Adana Hilton. This was more of a business meeting to discuss future plans and ideas for the group.  There are book clubs, gourmet groups, cultural clubs, and many more smaller groups all within the big organization.  Next month, the Turkish girls want to show us a traditional Turkish wedding and will even give us henna tattoos!  The American women are going to share Christmas traditions (and cookies!) with our new friends as the holidays approach. 

As I was leaving the Hilton on this particular day, one of the sweet ladies hugged me to say goodbye.  I told her how much I enjoyed the afternoon and how much I was looking forward to all the fun things we had planned.  She smiled and said "we may do many things differently, but inside, we are the same.  I am glad we are friends."  Me too.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Turkish Bucket List

I have never had a "bucket list" of things I want to see, do, and experience before I die. I've never seen the need. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing. On one hand, it must mean I am pretty content with my life thus far and don't need much to feel fulfilled. On the other hand, could it mean that I am dull and boring, with no dreams or goals?

Since Ryan posted a "Turkish top ten" of things he wanted to accomplish during these 2 years, I thought I would do the same. My list will focus on things I want to see and do while here. Hopefully by the end of our journey, I will be able to check them all off my list. Maybe it isn't an official "bucket list", but it's a start.

1. Visit Istanbul
2. Tour the Seven Churches(focus on Ephesus)
3. Go to Cappadocia and stay in a cave hotel.
4. See a Whirling Dervish performance
5. Ride a camel
6. Visit Europe
7. See Tarsus (no excuse for not checking this one off, it's only a 30 min. drive)
8. Go to Israel(this one will be a stretch)
9. Speak at least conversational Turkish
10. Go to Antioch

I will be checking #6 off the list in a few weeks. I'll keep you posted on the progress with the rest of them!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Veteran's Day 2010

Today is Veteran's Day. It's not much different here than it is back home. A day off, a hubby golfing, cooking out for dinner. But it feels different for me. I have had many experiences over the 3 months that make this day feel extra special this year.

Rewind to our long journey over here. After getting to Baltimore on commercial airlines, we checked in at AMC (Air Mobility Command) along with other active duty military members for the long journey overseas. Our flight stopped in Germany, Turkey, Kryzgystan, Iraq, and Afganistan. So, the plane was full of uniformed soldiers-most of which were heading to war.

The first thing that caught my eye was their youth. Most of them were still teenagers. I think about when I was their age-what a carefree, fun time that was for me. A college student with not a care in the world. Not these guys and girls. I also noticed that when I talked to them, they were very humble. As with normal air travel, you start a conversation with the person sitting next to you with the requisite "where are you going?" Only here, instead of answers like LA, New York, or Dallas, you hear Afganistan, Pakistani Border, or Iraq. They answered in a normal tone-like everyone travels to Iraq. They didn't see that what they were doing is that out of the ordinary or special.

I plan on saying many thank you's today. Thanking ordinary folks for stepping up to the plate and doing something I don't know that I would have the courage to do. Thanking folks for putting aside their own selfish ambitions for a more noble and higher purpose. And I plan to start with my husband, who has twice deployed in service to his country.

God Bless America!!

Bad News/Good News

This has been a hard week here at Incirlik. As I know I have mentioned before, one of my favorite things about this place is the closeness of the community. We are truly one big family-and last weekend, one of our own was diagnosed with cancer. This great lady has been such a sweet friend to me since I got here-always finding me to give me a hug, never forgetting my name, always there with a warm smile. Everyone here has been all out of sorts-shocked, sad, and upset. I guess that's the thing with close-knit communities-you never go through anything alone. I wish I weren't so affected by this, but am so thankful for the relationships that cause me to care.

Onto happier news, the Stebbins are heading to Germany!! Ryan and I agreed it was time to take advantage of our location and have an adventure. We both need the break and time of refreshment. I can't wait to see this beautiful country, and hopefully some of Austria too!! More details to come-

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Turkducken List

Some of you may be familiar with John Madden's infamous Turkducken (a turkey stuffed with a duck and a chicken), I honor his time honored tradition by presenting you with my Turkey List or Turkducken List. My top 10 things I want to accomplish before I leave:

10) Read 10 books
9) Shoot under par for the course
8) Run 1/2 marathon
7) Buy a shotgun (hey...Turkey makes the best guns in the world...when in Rome)
6) Smoke a Texas style Brisket. I've already mastered Pork BBQ...when in Rome!
5) Travel to Istanbul
4) See the Seven Churches and Ephesus
3) Travel to Europe and see 3-4 countries
2) Get my handicap to 5 or lower
1) Surprise my wife with a mind blowing, thoughtful gift that will go down in the lores of husbandry for all to remember. AKA...I want a PS3 for Christmas so I need to start planning now.

I hope you all have a wonderful Turkeducken Holiday.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Different Worlds, Same Country

We ventured out today to the M1 mall for a little Saturday shopping. After a slight detour(missing our exit and driving about 25 miles before there was another), we arrived. This mall is just gorgeous-marble floors, beautiful architecture, and very modern stores. On our way out of the parking lot, we saw a field with what appeared to be people gleaning-or picking the leftover crops for themselves. How could these two seemingly opposite ways of life exist so close to each other?

That's the thing we are noticing about Turkey-or at least the region where we are living. It's as if this nation can't decide if they want to be modern or old world. When traveling off base, it is not uncommon for us to see a Mercedes sharing a road with a horse-pulled cart. Seriously. In the mall, you see people dressed just like us mixing with people wearing traditional Muslim attire. The M1 mall sells paper-thin TV's and expensive haute couture just up the road from the open air meat market that sells lamb heads and cow stomachs.

Turkey has only been a sovreign nation for about 90 years-so they are a "baby" compared to many other countries. Perhaps they are still going through growing pains as a nation. Maybe they are still figuring out their identity moving forward. Regardless, it is interesting to watch and experience. Just don't ask me to go to that meat market.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Who Knew??

In preparing for this move, I tried to anticipate the majority of the big changes that lie ahead that would take getting used to. Most were pretty obvious-but not all. I have discovered several things I miss that I had no clue about prior to coming.

1. Clocks. That's right. In Turkey, the electrical circuits are different-so clocks plugged in to the wall will not keep correct time. No microwave clock. No oven clock. No alarm clocks by the bed. So weird to get used to.

2. Radio. There is one English radio station here-101.1. That's it. And if you don't like techno-Euro-pop, you're out of luck. Funny thing though, this station will play Martina McBride, Bryan Adams, and "My Perogative" by Bobby Brown frequently. Quite the trio, huh? I miss my christian radio, and in general, just variety on the radio. On the positive side, I have forgotten how much I like to jam to "My Perogative".

3. Commercials. We get AFN (Armed Forces Network), and instead of commercials, they show pretty amateur and comical morale boosters and reminders about military life and life in general. I could tell you anything you want to know about the different kinds of Power of Attorneys or how to put out a kitchen grease fire, but haven't a clue about what's on sale at Old Navy or the latest Ford Truck model. I also miss that Chik-Fil-A cow.

That's all for now-but next time you hear Bobby Brown, think of the Turks and the Stebbins, and smile :)