Ramazan Mübarek Olsun!

This was a full month! Justo is walking easier now, although with a limp and still only short distances (although an unexpectedly long two-mile hike while we were in Lebanon tested his limits). I tried to get a post out at the beginning of the month, but we lost internet for a week and then things got really busy. So much for timely posts!

June 4: So we have started participating in a new Vakıf (foundation), it’s call Adventist Vakıf. Today I was the main speaker at the meeting. It was a blessing. We are mainly a group of international students and we are hoping to do community service projects and meet together for encouragement.

June 5: Today is the 10th anniversary of the car accident. Each year it gets a little easier but there are still weekly painful reminders. I am grateful for how far I have come.

June 6: Today is the first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramazan, as it (Ramadan) is called in Turkey. Last year, during this time of fasting and prayer, there were several new things that we learned and I’m looking forward to observing more this year. For instance, just like our big holidays in the  US, the grocery stores stock foods that are traditionally eaten during the holiday – dates and other dried fruits, special flat breads, rose water. Restaurants have special Iftar menus, meals that break the fast at sunset, soup is popular. Later in the evenings the streets are more crowded than usual as more people are eating out late at night. Then around 3am every morning we hear a drummer walking the streets, reminding everyone that fasting will start at sunrise and that they might want to get up and have a pre-sunrise breakfast. In Ankara you will still see many people eating during the day but for the next month there will definitely be a big shift in lifestyle in the city.

June 17: I have been working all week to help some friends apply for visas to Bulgaria this summer, for a one month healthy lifestyle training. It has been a complicated process to get all the documentation that they required put together. Today we successfully submitted all but two of the applications. I can’t go for the whole trip, but since I don’t require a visa, I may decide to visit them the last week they are there. (Update: As of today, only 2 of the 6 visas have been granted. The others are still in process. Please pray that they are approved, and on time.)

June 19-22: I traveled to Izmir with some musician friends. When we arrived it was 106 degrees outside and much more humid than Ankara. We practiced in the shade along the waterfront and then for the next three days recorded 24 songs. It was a tight schedule but between the 45 minute walk twice each day between our hostel and the recording studio, and dinner out each evening, we were able to enjoy a little of the city.

June 23-26: Justo and I traveled to Lebanon for a retreat at the Monastery of St. Anthony, located in the Quadisha Valley. It was so peaceful to get outside the city where we could see the stars! We hiked with friends, picked cherries, and with no distractions I was able to do some planning for the business I hope to open. More on that soon :)

Today: I’m just getting over food poisoning (from Beirut airport I think) but yesterday I visited some Turkish friends and also met with a former language classmate from Russia. The month is almost over and with it the end of Ramazan and the beginning of feast days.