Sunday, May 20, 2012

In the Moment--Part 2

Here's Ryan's "In the moment list" in no particular order

  • Attending the 2011 British Open
  • Winning the 2011 Base Championship
  • Going to Rome w/my smoking hot bride
  • Spending time in Europe w/family during the Christmas season
  • Establishing G.O.L.F. Gentlemen's Preserve
  • Working in the best squadron on base while caring for families every day
  • Friendships.  Playing game night and watching college football into the hours of the night
  • Watching William grow into a little boy and playing w/his friends

Mother's Day

My friend Wendi emailed me a few weeks ago with what seemed at the time to be a great idea.  The base was offering an overnight spa getaway by train for moms on Mothers Day.  Everything here in Turkey is amazingly cheap, so the whole thing-from room, to food, to transport, to spa treatments, would run me only a little over 100 dollars.  Sounds too good to be true, right?


The train ride was nice enough (for Turkey), and the hotel wasn't the worst place I have ever stayed-but my standards have lowered quite a bit since living here.  But the "spa"?  It was actually a Turkish bath, or hamam.  I had heard about them, but never had even a little desire to experience them.  But experience I did.  I won't go into too much detail on a public blog, but I will say that I have NEVER been cleaner in my entire life.  I also don't think there is a doctor on earth who "knows" me as well as my spa attendant.

The best part of the weekend was the friends, as it usually is.  Wendi and Linda were such fun and always make things so much more enjoyable.  I loved getting to make one last Turkish traveling memory with them!

Linda and I before the hamam.  Look at us, still so excited and innocent.  Little did we know what awaited us.....

The dining car on the way there.  Love these friends!

Peace out, Turkey.  It's been real.

Friday, May 18, 2012

In The Moment

Ever had a moment that you couldn't believe that you were actually living?  It feels almost like you are floating outside yourself, and have trouble grasping that this is your life.  I have to admit that, before Turkey, these moments were few and far between for me.  But in the last two years, I have experienced it time after time.  So, in no particular order, I present you with my top "Sarah Stebbins from Montgomery, Alabama is actually doing this" moments:

  • Having a Good Friday service in St. Peter's Grotto at Antioch.
  • Watching the sunset over the Acropolis in Athens, Greece
  • Driving through the snowy Austrian Alps with my little family
  • Singing "Happy Birthday to Jesus" at Christmas Mass in one of the largest Muslim cities in the world (Istanbul).
  • Sleeping in a cave hotel in Cappadocia
  • Staring slack-jawed at the wonders of the Vatican
  • Listening to our chaplain read from Corinthians, Phillippians, and Thessolonians while we were standing in the ruins of Corinth, Phillippi, and Thessoloniki.
What a ride it's been...........

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I remember being a nervous wreck the day that W and I traveled solo to Turkey to meet Ryan.  We had made it safely and relatively soundly to Baltimore, and had made our way to the military terminal with the others traveling overseas on the rotator.  It seemed like everyone I talked to who wasn't in uniform deploying to Afghanistan was going to Germany.  I couldn't find anyone moving to Turkey.  Then, I spotted this sweet family and introduced myself.  What do you know??  They were moving to Incirlik.  Thus my friendship with Sarah and Dan and their little one, Peter begun. Once we landed in Turkey, we discovered that there were so many Sarah's on base that we all had to take nicknames.  So I have called her Sarahbee ever since.

To Sarahbee:
 To say that you have been an uplifting spirit in my life here is a huge understatement.  You are truly one of the most serene, joyful, and kind people I have ever met.  You just exude it.  Your smile just lights up a room, and others can feel your joy.  I never leave hanging out with you without feeling like some of you has rubbed off on me (which is a very good thing indeed!)  I will always treasure our walks and park playdates, and all the great conversations that took place in those times.  Thank you for being a listening ear for me when I needed it and the advice when I asked for it.  I will never forget you or your sweet family, and will miss you dearly!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

An Unexpected Surprise

You know that last post on goodbyes?  How they are so hard because we don't know when or where we will see these people again?  Well, God has a sense of humor.  Just 4 days after I wrote that post, we had a cool reunion with a great friend from Texas right here in Turkey.

Chad and Nicki wanted to start a small group at our church in San Antonio.  We were looking for a small group at the time.  So we met them out for dinner and decided that we would join them in this new group.  Others soon joined.  We shared each others joys, struggles, victories, and defeats.  It was and still is an amazing group of friends.  I remember when W was only about 5 days old, my mom and I had to take him to a checkup at the big hospital where he was born.  Ryan had to work.  Chad met us there, helped us park, and then made sure we were settled in the waiting room before he left.  That's the kind of guy he is.  That's the kind of people they all are.  We miss them.

Anyways, Chad and Nicki moved to California a year before we left.  Then, about 5 months ago, Chad deployed to Afghanistan.  He is on his way home safe and sound (Praise God!) and stopped off in Turkey on the way.  We met him at the terminal and spent a few minutes catching up.  What an unexpected blessing during a time when goodbyes have been so tough. 

Thank God, for the reminder that paths will cross again and that friendships never die.  I needed it this week.

Safe travels home, Chad.  Nicki-he is on his way to you!!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Yeah! Yet Another Post on Goodbyes!!

I realize that this is about my 8,165th post about goodbyes.  This is me, beating a dead horse.  I know this, but I can't help it.  If this blog is supposed to be a true narrative of our time here, then saying goodbye is a big part of that story.

Today, Casey and Angelica left.  They are the first two-and they are on the same flight out of Adana as I write this.  You would think that by now (Air Force move #3) this would be easier for me.  And truly, I have learned not to attach myself to places.  My mom is always surprised at how easily I can pull away from a home, a neighborhood, and a city for the last time.  It's not that I don't feel emotion, but I just don't let myself get attached to the "stuff" of one assignment or another.

The people, on the other hand, are what kills me.  Beating a dead horse again-I cannot put into words how intensely you bond with people at remote assignments like Incirlik.  They are family-that is no exaggeration. You see them every day, day in and day out, for 2 straight years. It almost feels like what I would think a divorce would feel like.  It hurts.

I know this is a small world and an even smaller Air Force.  My Texas best bud, Lisa, will live a few blocks from me in Virginia.  I know I will see these people again.  But it won't be the same.....and that is what makes it even tougher.  I am not only saying goodbye to friends, but to a part of my life that is ending.

Yuck. Don't like this one bit!