Ataturk: Today at 9:05am city sirens blared, people got out of their cars, and everyone stood still in silence, marking the 77th anniversary of the death of Ataturk. Children at the school around the corner could then be heard singing what we assume to be a children’s song about Turkey and Ataturk that included a loud spoken “AT-A-TURK”.
Summer: It’s been over four months since my last post and it’s about time I caught you up on our summer. In July I traveled to the US for two weeks to attend meetings in San Antonio and visit family in Oregon. It was a huge blessing to see so many friends and spend time outside in God’s beautiful forests. Sharing my room at the GC with Justo’s parents, completing a 5K, a trip up the Gorge with my parents, down to Salem to see family, and some shopping at Bob’s Red Mill were highlights of the trip. I stocked up on quinoa, amaranth, chia seeds, Brazil nuts, and a few other things I can’t get or are very expensive here.
My Cool Grandma: My trip home also provided an opportunity for my grandma Betty to celebrate her 90th birthday by flying back to Ankara with me. With my language school on summer break, my grandma and I spent time creating memories. She amazed everyone with her youthfulness and spirit of adventure. She was up for a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, paragliding over lake Annecy when we visited my brother in Geneva, and a church field trip to Hattuşaş. She also climbed four flights up and down our apartment steps several times a day, was an active participant in our small church group programs, and enjoyed every minute of exploring Ankara.
Language: My language classes started back up in September and although my vocabulary is growing, I’m still struggling to keep up in class. A couple weeks ago we had some plumbing work going on in our building and did not have water on our floor. A humorous visit to the neighbor lady ensued, where I tried to explain that I really needed to use her bathroom and she meanwhile invited me in for tea, food, and a trip down memory lane in her photo albums. She is so kind and does not mind that we really can’t understand each other. I practiced my Turkish with mixed success. One day at a time! There was also a somewhat unfortunate haircut that was lost in translation. . .
Safety: The last several months we have also learned more about national and religious holidays in Turkey, and experienced a major election/re-election. I heard from a lot of you after the bombing in Ankara. Thank you for connecting! We have experienced some small protests in the part of town that we live in but we are safe here. Foreigners are not being targeted in Ankara and as long as we don’t attend any major public rallies, we are not in any danger. The other night we were walking home and realized that we are blessed to live in a safe place, where we can walk home late at night, something that we could not do in many US cities. As a woman I can travel around the city freely, although if I’m going somewhere I’ve never been I prefer to have Justo with me. But part of that is to have his help speaking/reading Turkish.
Fall: In October we took a short trip in Bodrum for some meetings and I spent a few days visiting my cousin in Amsterdam. Since then we have had visitors almost every weekend. Friends from Beirut, Istanbul, Cyprus, and Egypt have filled our weekends. We continue to discover new parts of the city. This month we will have one free weekend and I’m hoping it can be a peaceful birthday celebration.
I was recently voted church treasurer (these things happen when you are out of town for the church business meeting!) and have accepted the call. It’s a good opportunity to stretch my Excel skills. I marvel at God’s sense of humor in giving me this task. Thank goodness He is by my side!
This week I had lunch with an expat from Canada that I met at the airport this summer. We spent several hours chatting and running errands together. Speaking with a native English speaker was really nice. I saw a lot of Christmas decorations for sale in the malls. They don’t celebrate Christmas here but they do have a celebration for the new year that includes a Christmas tree, gift giving, and all the types of decorations we would use at Christmas time. Tomorrow I’m bringing in the plants from the balcony, hoping that they will overwinter inside. We are finding winter squash, pomegranates, chard, apples, and citrus in season. Fall is finally here.
How was your summer and what are you up to this Fall?