Monday, May 30, 2011

Cell Phone Ramblings

It's Memorial Day-we have had a nice, relaxing 3 day weekend...and I feel like rambling.

So, I'm thinking about cell phones.  A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I hadn't used one in about 10 months.  Seriously.  Not once.  The closest thing I have is my I-pod, I can check e-mail/facebook in a place that is Wi-fi enabled (try finding that in Turkey).  The big surprise?  I don't miss it a bit.

I haven't ever really been a technology junkie.  I don't need or even want the latest, greatest computer, TV, or phone, or camera.  Even back in the States, my cell phone was bare-bones, no frills.  And that was fine with me.  I will confess that I was never without it.  I talked to multiple people many times a day.  If you would have asked me at the time, I would have definitely called it a necessity.  The first thing we bought for our move to Texas and the last thing that we canceled when we left was our cell phone plan.

Being in Turkey, I have gotten some fresh perspective on a lot of things.  Certain items are so readily available and commonplace back home that we never even have to think of not having them.  But, believe it or not, most of us can recall a time when we didn't own a cell phone.  And then, we had "car phones"-remember those dinosaurs that flipped open, were stored in a bag, and weighed about 10 pounds?  We kept them in our car, and only used them in case of emergency.  And now, most of us think we would be totally lost without a phone attached to our person at all times.  For some of us, this would include not just a phone-but e-mail, internet, and facebook access 24/7.

If you stop to think about it, it really is silly.  Do we really need to update our status on facebook that often?  Won't most e-mails wait until we can get to our computers?  And 95% of our cell phone conversations really aren't that important-just nice chats to help pass the time while we are in the car.  Yet, we have convinced ourselves that all of these things are a necessity, not a luxury.

I know when I return home, I will get another cell phone.  And I will probably be told by some slick salesman that I NEED one with all the bells and whistles.  It will be fun to have it again-and I am sure once I am home for awhile, I will absolutely be glued to the cell again.  But for now, I am enjoying a simpler, less accessible lifestyle.  One I will surely miss.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Few Favorites

**This post will probably only interest Grandparents-so, fair warning!

W's favorites lately:

TV Show: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (he is re-obsessed with it lately!)
Movie: Cars
Song: "The Wheels on the Bus"
Toy: Trains and train tracks
Phrase: I don't sink so (I don't think so).  Example: Me-W, will you put up your trains?
W-I don't sink so.      
Foods: Apples, muffins, chicken fingers, french fries, oatmeal
Book: "Pooh book" (as he calls it).  It is a Winnie the Pooh mystery book-no clue where we got it!

Some Milestones:

~knows every letter of the alphabet -even when in random order
~can USUALLY count to 10
~knows his colors
~says "please"and "thank you"without being prompted. 
~sleeps in a toddler bed without a paci!

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's Been Awhile.......

So, I have been in Turkey going-on 10 months.  I got to thinking.....what are some things that I haven't seen/done in 10 months?

1.  Used a cell phone
2.  Been at an intersection (as the driver)
3.  Gone to a grocery store on a Monday (the Commissary is closed on Mondays)
4.  Been to a mall/shopping center by myself just to shop
5.  Had my own car
6.  Been to a drugstore
7.  Watered my own grass (gotta love a gardener)
8.  Had a glass of water at a restaurant (it's ONLY bottled water here)
9.  Been through a drive-thru
10.  Seen a movie that is a new release at the theater
11.  Had a good steak/good seafood
12.  Had fresh blueberries/raspberries

And folks, that's just scratching the surface..........

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Little Goodbyes

Our good friends Wendi and John leave tomorrow for Germany.  They are expecting a little one, and chose to have her there.  They weren't supposed to leave until next month, but early contractions moved the date up.  W and I stopped by to say our good-byes today.  I was surprised at how difficult it was.  I mean really, it's only a couple of months.  But when you live here, you become so intertwined with each other that you don't know what to do if one of your "family" isn't there.  Wendi and her boys are part of our daily routine.  It will be so strange not to have them for awhile.

It made me realize how hard those final goodbyes will be.  I saw an acquaintance at the BX tonight and she was having her last meal here before heading to the airport.  I thought about what that moment will be like for me.  I am sure I will be excited to get out of Turkey-that is actually an understatement.  However, leaving our friends that have become family will be excruciating.  It will be like losing an appendage.  We all just function as a group.  I don't even want to think about it yet, really.  And I don't have to.  I have a year still to get ready.

We will miss you Wendi and boys!!  Bon voyage and get back to us soon!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Steel Magnolias (aka Military Spouses)

I witnessed an all too familiar scene while we were preparing to leave Germany last week.  We were in the security line for the rotator-along with lots of men and women in uniform on their way to a deployment.  I think I have explained the military rotator system before, but here's a refresher.  The Air Force contracts an airline (the oh so lovely World Airways) to fly from Baltimore to Germany to Turkey to Krgyzstan and back again.  Once troops arrive in Kyrgyzstan, they take smaller planes "downrange" to Afghanistan.

Anyways, there we were in line.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a husband, in uniform, standing with his wife-who was clearly upset.  I immediately got a familiar sinking feeling.  They were stationed in Germany and he was deploying.  She was there to see him off.  She walked as far as she could with him in the security line.  When she could go no further, she stood behind the ropes and watched him, in tears, until he disappeared into the waiting area.  My heart hurt for her.  I thought about all my friends here who will be saying good-byes to spouses soon who are deploying.  I thought about my friend Amanda-who has a 2 and 4 year old, pregnant with number #3 and without her husband who is Afghanistan.  She was in Japan when the earthquake and tsunami struck.  She traveled across the world back to Texas with both kids to prepare to prepare to have #3 at home.  I thought about my friends Luke and Katie.  Katie is currently deployed and Luke just found out he will be leaving on a deployment a little before his wife is scheduled to arrive back home.

I have discovered a little secret since becoming a military wife almost 8 years ago.  It isn't for the faint of heart or spirit.  It usually involves a lot of heartache and tear and frustration.  I am quite frankly in awe of some of the ladies who have crossed my path.  Their strength and spirit are inspiring.  You just don't come across these type of people everyday, and I am thankful for the chance to know them.

Please remember military spouses in your prayers.  Lots of marriages get torn apart temporarily for our freedom.  I hope I never forget the face of the women in the terminal here-or how it felt to be without my husband for 5 months.  I think it will give me gratitude for the rest of my life for the sacrifices made by so many on my behalf.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Germany-Take 2, Part 2

I am sitting here in our hotel room at Ramstein reflecting over a wonderful 3 day vacation.  Ryan and I both agreed that while 3 days seems short, it was actually the perfect amount of time to be gone.  Any longer, and our toddler might have crumbled-any shorter, and it's not quite worth the effort.  Here's a brief synopsis of our adventure-

Day 1-Rhine River Tour
We took a trip with the base tour group to see the famous Rhine River for Mother's Day.  We had luxurious (by our Turkish standards) double-decker buses that made the 1.5 hour ride quite comfortable.  Our itinerary included a tour of a medieval castle, stops in 2 villages, a lunch cruise down the Rhine, and a cable car ride.  It was a hectic day, but so wonderful.  The villages and towns that dot the Rhine's banks (and for that matter-the side of the autobahn!) are so picturesque and charming that it is hard to believe they are not fake.  It is like some Hollywood movie set that someone forgot to take down.  I kept looking for one that was at least moderately charming, and failed.  Everything is like a storybook here.  Perfection.  We ended the day back at Ramstein with Subway sandwiches-and oh, how we've missed them!!

Day 2-The Prisk Family
We drove north of Ramstein this day to visit with some friends stationed near Darmstadt, Germany.  Ryan and Luke have worked together several times and we have gotten to know their family quite well.  They live in the cutest German house filled with antiques they have collected during their time here.  We enjoyed lunch and fellowship, and W LOVED playing with their children.  It was so great to reconnect.  The drive to and from the Prisks was made more enjoyable by our great rental car.  Ryan has thoroughly enjoyed driving the autobahn how it was meant to be driven-in a BMW.  This car had more gadgets and technology than I could believe-but Ryan was in heaven with all of it.  I think at our fastest, we were going 170 km/hour (105 mph)-but in a BMW, you don't even feel it.  When we got back to base this day, we enjoyed Chili's for dinner (fajitas-YUM!) and a shopping trip at the B/X.

Day 3-Viva La France!
Since my high school days, I have always wanted to see France.  We decided this day to take the short 2 hour drive to Strasbourg, France and take in the sights.  Again, the drive was fun and easy.  We parked and walked around an area of town called La Petite France.  We read that it might be the most charming neighborhood in the whole country.  I can't disagree.  The smells alone made this place unforgettable-fresh breads baking and savory sauces filling the air.  There were cafes and restaurants everywhere you looked.  Most were outdoor with huge shade trees and flowering vines decorating the area.  There was a canal that wove through the neighborhood and charming buildings.  We finally settled on where to eat after a long search, and made the perfect choice.  Ryan and I both agreed that it was some of the best food we have ever eaten.  I was able to communicate with the locals in their language-which was fun and empowering for me.  We had a great day-France didn't disappoint.

It has been a wonderful few days for our family.  We feel so blessed to have the opportunity to see all of these places and have these adventures.  Pictures to come soon!

PS-THIS IS MY 100th POST!!!!  Wow!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Germany-Take 2

Not long ago, Ryan and I decided that we were in desperate need of a vacation OUT of the Middle East.  Since one of our goals during this time to save as much money as possible, many of the places we wanted to go were a little pricier than we wanted.  Even though we have been here recently, Germany fit the bill-easy, inexpensive, and the perfect change of pace. 

Our flight to Ramstein Air Base from Turkey was pleasantly uneventful, given we have a 2 year old.  You never know what you will get with the rotator in terms of customer service and timeliness, but everything was smooth.  We got a sweet rental car (BMW 5-series) and a cheap room on base. 

After checking in and settling down, we went to dinner and the B/X.  I know, sounds like a pretty boring evening.  But when you live in the Middle East, dinner at an American restaurant (Macaroni Grill) is pretty special.  I can't describe how nice it felt.  The B/X here is HUGE.  I'm talking about twice the size of a Wal-Mart with a car dealership, a spa, a Basset/Broyhill gallery, and a TON of other things.  I have to admit, I felt a little bitter.  Our B/X is about a fourth of the size of a Wal-Mart with about a tenth of the selection.  Coming here makes one acutely aware with just how rough an assignment to Turkey is in terms of amenities.  But I have to remember that no amount of grumbling will change my circumstances, so I just need to roll with it......

Moving on now.  This place is just a breath of fresh air.  It feels exactly like home.  It looks much like home.  Whenever I am here, I just feel renewed and refreshed.  More to come in the days ahead about some fun day trips that we are taking.  Stay tuned!

Auf Wiedersehen!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Quote

"A smooth sea will never teach us how to best sail the boat"



Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A "Major" Accomplishment

I know I am a little behind in posting this, but we found out that Ryan will be promoted to the rank of Major a couple of weeks ago.  We expected that he would make rank, but were pleasantly surprised to learn he is also a "school select".  This means that he was in top 20% of everyone who is being promoted. We will be going for a year of school somewhere in the US in a couple of years.

I try not to be a "bragadocious"(thanks for the word, Dad!) person, but I am really proud of Ryan.  He loves his job, and truly loves to serve his country.  He wants to do the best work possible, and that excellence rubs off on those around him.  He is deserving of whatever good things come his way in this career.  Oh, and he is a pretty great dad and husband, too :).

Way to go, Ryan!!