Monday, February 28, 2011

Doing What You Have To Do

One of the most common comments I get from well-meaning friends back home regarding our move to Turkey goes something like this-"Better you than me, I could never live that kind of life or do what you are doing." I understand the intent of statements like this.  My friends are trying to encourage me by telling me I am being brave or courageous in some way.  Maybe they are trying to tell me they admire what we are doing.  I know this, but the comment still makes me cringe.

I just want to tell them that they absolutely could and would do the same thing I am doing if that were their only option.  No one knows what they are capable of until it becomes a reality that they must navigate. 

Why am I rambling about this now?  My mother is coming to Turkey this weekend.  My mother, who has never been over the Atlantic, is coming to Turkey.  I am sure if you asked her a few years ago where she wanted to travel, Turkey would have been near the bottom of her list-or not on it at all.  Yet she is spending a fortune to come here.  She is flying to the Middle East by herself.  Even as I type those words, they are hard to believe.  She probably thought for a long time that this was something she could never or would never do.  But her whole perspective changed when this move became reality.  Her daughter is in Turkey.  Her grandson is in Turkey.  So she is coming to Turkey.

You do what you have to do.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cyprus in Pictures

A monument of some sort in the nearby town

I thought these were really cool looking doors.

If oyu know me, you know I ALWAYS find animals to photograph.  This guy posed perfectly.

Turkish Delight is, in a word, delightful.

Beautiful, rugged coastline

Charming looking apartments in the town.

My travel mates and good friends.  We had a blast together!

A Christian church?  In Turkey?  I had to get photographic evidence!

Monday, February 21, 2011

From Left: Angelica, Wendi, and Linda
  I have lived here 6 months and have had the wonderful opportunity to make many new friends.  Four of us decided to take a weekend away from our families and lives at Incirlik for a relaxing weekend together.  We just returned from a fantastic mini-vacay to the island of Cyprus.  I will write more later on the trip-but I wanted to introduce my travel buddies one by one.  Starting with them, I hope to highlight other friends we are making here on this blog so we can look back one day and remember all of the great times and wonderful people we are sharing this adventure with.  So here goes:

Angelica-I met Angelica very soon after I arrived.  Her son Noah is 3 and daughter Rowan is 16 months.  They are great playmates for W.  Angelica and her hubby Dan attend our church service.  They are strong Christians-in fact, they met when Dan's family were missionaries in Angelica's native Spain.  I love Angelica's exotic accent and her fiery spirit.  She is a passionate person-about her faith, her family, and her friendships.  She is such fun and so sensitive to the needs of those around her. 

Wendi- Wendi was a "cyber-buddy" before I even moved here.  She is just a force of nature, that girl.  She does it all and makes it all look so easy.  She is a mom to 2 boys that are 8 months apart, she runs a charity, she writes a marvelous blog, she started our babysitting co-op, she has learned the Turkish language, and has the kind of "take charge" attitude that has thrust her into the "social coordinator" position among my friends.  One of my favorite things about my friendship with Wendi is that we are perfectly comfortable around each other.  We can be together and not have to talk at all.  I love friendships that reach that level.  But if I need or want to talk-she is always right there, and willing to drop everything at a moment's notice to listen.

Linda-Linda and I have only recently begun to really get to know each other.  She is the pediatrician here on base, and I feel so blessed by that fact.  She is more reserved than the other two girls-but once she opens up, she is so much fun.  She also has great insight on so many different subjects.  She is wise beyond her years-and it makes you want to just pick her brain in the hopes that it spreads to you.  We had a "spa date" on the trip, which was one of favorite things about the weekend.  We laughed so hard we cried in that massage-what a great feeling! 

So, more on the trip later.  But I have already covered the best part-the friends who were with me.  Look for many more "friend profiles" as our Turkish adventure continues!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

  For those of you unfamiliar with Auburn University, the above live oak tree is part of an area known as Toomer's Corner-the main intersection in town.  The trees here are more than 150 years old.  After a big sports victory, fans roll the trees with toilet paper-probably one of the coolest traditions in collegiate athletics.

  I have many, many found memories of Toomer's-most of them having to do with rolling the trees after a football victory.  I also remember celebrating the millenium here, in what was known as "Toomer's 2000".  There was a guy named Ryan Stebbins who drove up from Montgomery to hang out with me that night......and the rest is history.  Even last summer, Ryan and I spent our anniversary in Auburn, and seeing Toomer's Corner put a huge smile on my face.

 Why am I writing a blog post about random live oak trees?  Because of this:  Apparently, some discontented Alabama fan decided to poison the soil around these trees, and they-along with most of the other trees, bushes, and shrubs near them-will most likely perish.

 This kind of stuff makes me so angry.  I am a huge football fan-as this blog will attest to-but the idiocy of some so called "fans" is really shocking sometimes.  Killing beautiful, historical symbols of a university because you are mad about a football season is ridiculous.  Especially in my home state of Alabama, people take what teenagers do on a 100 yard field on a fall Saturday way too seriously.

 I am sad that I may not have the opportunity to make more memories at Toomer's.  I am sad that I might not get the chance to show my son these trees or watch as he throws his first roll of TP on their limbs.

 What a waste.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

News from back home.....

These past few days have been filled by drama supplied by our little dog Rudy.  She sustained a back injury late Saturday night and her status was very much in limbo most of the weekend.  As of today, she seems to be doing better and headed towards recovery-but things would have been very different if she would have been living elsewhere...

My sister Katie and her hubby Charles took Rudy on when we moved to Turkey.  She is not the easiest of pets to have.  She barks a lot, likes to hide, hates getting a haircut, and the list goes on.  But Katie and Charles have been committed to giving her the best home possible and have done an outstanding job caring for her.  Charles sat at the all-night vet clinic late in the night with her on Saturday waiting to be seen.  Most people (including me) would have just waited for the morning.  If he had done that, she would have been paralyzed.  He drove back to check on her more than once.  On one of the visits, she stood up when she saw him, which is more than she was doing before.  This gave us all the first signs of hope she would recover.  They have since brought her home and taken her to get a second opinion to make sure we had the best information.  She faces a bit of a recovery, but couldn't be in better hands. 

Thank you Charles and Katie.  Thanks for loving our dog like we love her and going past the call of duty to make sure she gets the best care.  You have made leaving her so much easier on us.  And Rudy- get well soon.  We love you, girl.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I have been trying to be a little more intentional about exercising lately for a lot of reasons.  I am planning a beach trip this summer and don't want to horrify the masses when I put on a swimming suit.  I also want W to grow up with two parents who make physical fitness a priority.  Ryan has always been good at this.  Me-not so much. 

So I have been hitting the gym often.  Usually I have W, so we go in a special room that has equipment for me and toys for him.  It works out fine, until he inevitably gets bored or frustrated and ready to leave right as I am starting to break a sweat.  I was going alone today because W was at a playgroup.  I should have been excited at this prospect, but I was having a hard time finding motivation this morning.  I just wasn't feeling it.  But I went anyway-determined to have the discipline to get it done.  My feet felt like cinder blocks as I dragged myself into the gym.  And then I saw what has now become my inspiration. 

Incirlik is home to many different kinds of troops.  Some are like us-having moved here with family for 2 years to work.  Others are deployed here, and still others come here for a short time to prepare to go "downrange"-which I have discovered usually means Iraq or Afghanistan.  The man on the treadmill in front of me belonged in this group.  He was dressed in normal Air Force standard issue exercise gear-but with one exception.  He was wearing heavy, tall combat boots.  He had a huge backpack on his back that must have weighed at least 40 pounds.  He was carrying a fake wooden rifle in one hand.  And he was running-fast.  No doubt training for active duty where he would have to run to escape or catch an enemy with all the above gear with him. His physical fitness could literally mean the difference between life and death.

And I was grumbling about a mile.  In tennis shoes.  For a beach trip.  I shook my head and silently told myself to suck it up.  I also said a silent prayer of thanksgiving for this guy and the many like him. 

Think about this soldier the next time you feel "blah" about exercising.  It might just give you the extra motivation you need.  It worked for me.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Last Minute Date the Hospital!

Ryan and I seldom (if ever) go out without W unless it is an AF function.  We love our date nights, but they just don't seem to happen as much as we'd like.  It is a shame that it takes a friend's baby in the hospital to get us out together, but that's exactly what happened last night.

Sarah, Dan, and baby Peter have been friends literally since I got on the plane for Turkey.  They were on the same flight as I was, and were so helpful to me since I was traveling by myself with W.  Ryan met them soon after we arrived, and enjoys them just as much as I do.  Peter got sick on Wednesday with high fevers that just wouldn't go away.  He began having what we think are febrile seizures on Thursday and Thursday night was taken to the hospital by ambulance.  As of yesterday, the family was still at the hospital.  Our friends Wendi and John (who is one of Peter's doctors) were planning on going to visit in the evening, so we decided to tag along.  Our awesome friends around the corner came over to watch W.

It was the first time I had seen Acibadem Hospital.  It is the newer of the 2 hospitals in Adana, and the hospital where most of the folks from the base go when they need care.  I was seriously impressed.  It was VERY nice.  Probably the nicest hospital I have ever been in.  The lobby felt more like a museum than a hospital, and the rooms were cozy and sparkling clean.  The staff seemed kind and helpful.  It made Ryan and I feel good to know that we could get there ourselves if needed, and we felt even better once we were inside the facility about the care given there.

Peter looked great.  He is feeling better and hopes to be released today.  Dan and Sarah were obviously relieved and in great spirits.  While we were there, we found out that another friend, Shane, was also at the hospital after a bicycle accident.  His wife Linda is the pediatrician here on base and has become a great friend to me.  So we went from Peter's room to visit Shane.  I felt like a candy striper!  Shane was in a lot of pain, but was glad to have the impromptu visit.  Poor Linda is trying to divide her time between Peter (her patient) and her husband.  Shane will have surgery but hopes to also be released today.

We left the hospital and enjoyed a great Chinese dinner with Wendi and John at the Adana Hilton.  What fun.  I am thankful for such a great night with my hubby and friends, but hope that next time it won't include a visit to the hospital.  Please keep the families of Incirlik in your prayers.  It is hard enough to have a medical crisis, but even harder when you are so far from home and facing a daunting language barrier.

We are hopeful that we won't be going to Acibadem too much in the future, and also hopeful that the future includes lots more interesting date nights out and about in Adana.