Tuesday, October 25, 2011

About A Boy

I remember it like it yesterday.  Laying on the cold table in the ultrasound room and staring at the monitors.  It was time for the big reveal.  "See that?", the nursed asked.  I knew what that was.  I was going to have a boy.  Ryan grinned.  I stared blankly at the that and thought about what mothering a son would be like.  I was scared.

Being a girl, I always wanted a girl.  I know girls.  I grew up with a sister only.  She was the mother of a baby girl at the time.  This boy thing blew my mind.

Fast forward 3 years.  I am a total boy's mama.  I love building train sets and racing cars.  I have learned the names of various construction trucks and their jobs.  We like to find frogs at night on our walks and jump in mud puddles after it rains.  He is just such fun.

This post may seem random, and it probably is.  It might look like it has absolutely nothing to do with life in Turkey.  It is, however, an example of how God gives us what we need, not necessarily what we want.  I am so glad he gave me my little boy.  And I am beginning to be so glad that he has also given me Turkey, even though it was not what I wanted.  I am starting to see it may have been just the thing I needed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Islam 101

Before moving to Turkey, my only real contact with the Islamic religion was through my TV.  Like most other Americans, I watched the planes hit the Trade Centers and burned with anger.  Osama Bin Laden became the poster child for Muslims-all of which, I thought, were evil terrorists who hated America.

Then I moved to Turkey, a nation that is 99% Muslim.  I became the minority, religiously speaking.

I have been given the opportunity to learn about the Muslim faith from a new perspective, and to erase some erroneous ideas and prejudices I never knew I had.  Before I share, let me be clear.  I am a Christian.  That will never change.  In fact, my own faith has deepened during my time here.  Learning about another faith shouldn't threaten your own.

I have learned that Turkey is pretty progressive in the Islamic world.  It seems to me that the faith is more of a cultural thing and not so much of a personal belief thing.  The same, I think, can be said about America.  Many people calling themselves "Christians" don't practice the faith necessarily.  But they grew up going to church and hunting Easter eggs and celebrating Christmas.  So culturally, they are Christians.  Get my drift?

When the Call to Prayer sounds 5 times daily, no one stops what they are doing.  Things continue as normal.  Most women here do not wear a burka or even a head covering.  When I have had conversations with some Turks about their faith, they all take a very universalist approach to it.  They believe what they believe, but don't make any effort to evangelize anyone.  They think that many roads lead to God, and think that what works for them doesn't necessarily work for you.  Again, Turkey is progressive, this is not always the case in the Middle East.

I have also learned that the events of 9/11 sicken most Muslims.  Some of my friends here on base have actually been given apologies by Turks for what happened.  I think I know how these Turks feel.  Exactly how I would feel if people viewed me in the same light as radical so-called Christians who bomb abortion clinics or picket military funerals.

So when I return home and see a news story about Muslims, I won't think of Osama Bin Laden anymore.  I will think of Seyhun, Hatice, Cigdem, and the many more friends I have made here.  I will also think about how learning about anothers faith has the curious effect of strengthening your own.  And for that I am really grateful.

Friday, October 14, 2011

W Lately

**This post comes with the warning that it will probably only interest grandparents.

I am trying to remember to blog about our little boy's likes, dislikes, interests, and milestones from time to time.  It has been awhile, but here you go:

  • TV Show: Thomas the Train, Ni Hao Kai-Lan, Seasame Street
  • Song: ABC's, Down by the Station (Lately, he has also started singing "Baby" by Justin Bieber.  Long story there.)
  • Toy: Thomas, Thomas, and more Thomas.  He is OBSESSED. 
  • Can peddle his tricycle well.
  • LOVES going to preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • Is fully potty trained and usually doesn't need any help anymore in the bathroom.
  • Knows his first, middle, and last name
  • Continues to be very social and loves playing with his friends. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I Love Hatice!!

It is hard to believe that this will be my 136th post since arriving in Turkey.  I've had a lot to say, I guess.  But I honestly can't believe that it has taken me 136 posts before I mentioned maybe the most important relationship I have formed since arriving, and maybe the single greatest thing about living here.  Her name is Hatice (pronounced Ha-tee-jah) and she is our housekeeper.  She comes every Monday and cleans my house top to bottom for 3 hours.  And it costs me a whopping $25. 

At first, I was bound and determined not to get a housekeeper.  I can manage to keep my house in order, after all.  It was just an expense we didn't need if we were going to be serious about saving money while living here.  However, after seeing and hearing all my friends gush about it, I decided to give it a try.  I only hired Hatice for half a day, which means she doesn't have time to cook or do laundry (which she occasionally does anyway).  She is fabulous.  The house is sparkling clean and smells oh so fresh.  I haven't had to deep clean a bathroom or kitchen in over a year-and I gotta say, it feels good.  I also feel good about helping this sweet lady.  Hatice has a huge heart and is one of the kindest people I have met here.  As with many Turks who work on base, money is always tight for her.  She is a hard worker that just wants to do her part to provide for her family.  It is a pleasure to have her in my home on Mondays and I consider her a friend that I will miss when we leave.  And my husband?  I think he would marry her if something happened to me.  She irons his uniforms-he was blown away!

So, there you have it.  A big "pro" to living in Turkey.  I wonder what kind of cleaning I could get for $25 in the States?