Thursday, December 28, 2006
Currently, we are in California visiting Brian's family. We will be here until January 2 and then will head back to Texas to pack up for Turkey. We don't have plane tickets yet, but will let you know as soon as we know our exact plans. The unofficial date is January 12. Needless to say we have a lot to do before we can head back to Turkey. I keep having dreams that we are sitting in our kitchen in Turkey and I am remembering things I forgot to bring with me. Namely food items! I had dreams about food before I came back to America and now I am dreaming about forgetting food when I go back. I think I must have a problem!
Well that is all I am posting for now. Stay tuned for pictures next time!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Look at this yummy cake! Will's birthday was December 5, and this was the cake he requested. My thoughts...I could make this in Turkey sometime! Yea! Add this to my "American things I can do in Turkey" list!
Two 4packs of Bubba teeth and what a sight we are! I wonder what our host culture would think of these things!
Driving home from a Thanksgiving camping trip in my parent's RV. These things are incredible. You can do so much while you are driving down the road. I sat there and ate a snack then went to the bathroom and washed my hands. All while my dad was driving. Amazing!
Sitting around the campfire singing Christmas songs. It was a wonderful time with family.
I love America! We have been in the states for almost 6 months. I can't believe it! The time here has been really good. We have enjoyed spending time with family and friends and just being able to relax. These pictures are a glimpse of us relaxing in the good ole USofA!
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Which American trait do you like least about yourself, and which Turkish trait would you most like to adopt?
I think the American trait I like least about myself is the feeling of entitlement I have. I have noticed that we as Americans want things our way and in our timing. We have rights, and we are good at making sure our demands are met. I have mentioned this before, but I think it is important enough to mention again. When I am in America and sometimes when I am overseas I find myself expecting people to do things my way and I get upset if they don't.
In restaurants we expect the cook to prepare the food the way we want because we are paying for it. We ask for substitutions and make changes to the items offered on the menu and expect the restaurants to accommodate us. In Turkey and I would venture to say in quite a few other places in the world, people go to restaurants and order the food the way it says on the menu. They expect it to come like is says on the menu. The restaurants tell you on the menu how they cook it and if you don't want it that way you don't order it. Now, there are some places that will make exceptions, but mostly they do it their way, not mine. One sidenote...most restaurants in America don't mind making substitutions to their menus. They are happy to accommodate their customers. I have taken advantage of this quite a bit since I have been here. I am not complaining about that. It is the customer who tells the cashier at McDonalds that the french fries better be fresh and hot or she will bring them back that I have a problem with.
I also have a great example of getting my haircut in Turkey. The first time I went to a kuafor...hair salon...to get my haircut I told them how I wanted it cut. They did an okay job at following my directions, but it wasn't exactly like I had in mind. Now there was probably something lost in translation so I didn't worry about it too much. The next time I went back to the same place and told them that I didn't want my hair to be the same as the first time. I wanted something different. What did I get? Exactly the same thing. The stylist figured that he must have done something right the first time or I wouldn't have come back. I learned then that if I wanted my hair to be cut differently I either needed to go to a different salon or have a different person from that salon cut my hair. So that I didn't offend the stylist by demanding that someone else cut my hair I went somewhere else the next time I wanted my haircut. I actually like that I can go to the same stylist in America and have her do my hair the way I want and that it can be different every time. Very easy!
I think that Americans feel like we have earned the right to complain, pass judgement, and basically demand that things go our way or else. It wasn't so much like this in the 1950's and before. People were used to hardship and things not going their way. I think that when we were dealing with progress and civil rights (both good things) in the late 60's and 70's we got off track and became demanding of our own rights. We do have rights. It's how we demand that they be met that I want to flee from.
The Turkish trait I would most like to adopt is their idea of hospitality. For example...
1. Turkish picnics - they are an all day affair. You bring most of the food in grocery sacks and prepare it at the picnic. Tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, onion, and pepper chopped up and mixed together with a little oil and lemon juice makes a shepherd's salad. Turkish bread, some grilled meatballs, chicken or lamb, grilled peppers or tomatoes, mixed nuts and seeds, and fresh fruit makes for some good eating.
2. Visiting in people's homes - When we first went to Turkey I had problems with this. We would go to someone's house for dinner at 5 and they wouldn't even serve dinner until 7:30 or so. By the time they served dessert, coffee or tea, and fruit (the final course) we had been at their house for 5 hours! It was amazing. There is no such thing as a short meal or a short visit.
3. Neighbors who bring food - I love this! When Turks bring food to their neighbors they bring a real dish not a disposable one. When the dish is returned it is returned with food on it. My problem is I never know what to put on the dish when I return it. My neighbors will bring stuffed peppers, bulgur pilaf or cheese pastries (not a sweet dish) and I always wonder what they do with the muffins or cookies I put on the plate when I return it. They bring real food and I return dessert. I'm sure it says something about me, but I don't think they will like most of the American food I cook and I can't cook Turkish food nearly as well as they can.
Sorry for such a long post. Mentanna must have been tired of my fluff blogs and wanted some substance. Most of Mentanna's posts are long and full of substance and I guess she wanted some company. You can click on the link to her blog on the right side of your screen (you may have to scroll down to find her name) and read some really good stuff if you are looking for more substance! Thanks, MLG, for the great question!
I just wanted to post some pictures of our neighbor's yard. They have decorated for every holiday since we have been back. They had several inflatables in their yard for 4th of July and halloween, but their Christmas decorations take the cake. They have 12 inflatable decorations in their yard. Six of them are quite large and the other six are smaller. One is a snow globe with actual white stuff blowing around in it. You can see it to the left of the archway over the sidewalk. They also have a blow-up carousel that actually turns...on the right of the archway. Not seen in this picture is a huge santa Mickey Mouse, and you can barely make out a Christmas tree, and a snowman on the far right. The smaller inflatables are Christmas ornaments and Winnie the Pooh characters. There are lights on their house, a candy cane lined sidewalk, a flag on the side of the fence, a santa hanging from their garage roof, and signs that say "Reindeer Crossing" and "Santa stops here." Incredible. These inflatable things must be fairly new; because, I don't remember them from before we went overseas. And they aren't cheap either. To decorate this yard this much must have cost a small fortune! I took these pictures at night so you could see the lights, but during the day the inflatables really show up.
I guess there is so much electricity going through their yard they had to put up the following sign!
Friday, November 17, 2006
I'm not sure what all to say about Will's hair except that it is a far cry from the pictures of his hair posted here on May 4! He loved the long shaggy hair look when we arrived back in the states, and he had just gotten his haircut. He decided to grow it out then. That was June 12, and he hasn't had a haircut since! He wanted me to email these pictures to his friends, but I decided to just post them here instead. That way you can all enjoy goldilocks!
This picture looks a little distorted, but it was the only one I took with a view from the front!
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
As you can see from this picture we took advantage of the campfire and moved the TV outside. We watched a video called Your Girl which gave us lots of advice on how to raise godly daughters.
The girls! This picture looks a little more feminine than some I took! At least we had our legs crossed! We decided after no showers and smoky campfires for two days we looked and smelled a little manly!
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
family, mom, dad, Will, Jacob, Erica, friends, me, Eric, Tyler, Harley, teacher, Mrs. Fisher, church, school, Mrs. Campbell, Mrs. Lundy, Mikah, Mary Erin, Andrew, Nicholas, animals, squirrels, dog, cat, hamster, chipmunk, zebra, giraffe, body, food, drink, clothes, God, Jesus, us, grapes, bananas, pears, apples, house, everyone, TV, shirts, pants, mittens, gloves, scarf, candles, couches, chairs, pictures, camera, coconut, windows, girls, boys, cup, mug, plate, play, toys, people, Turkey, New York, Texas, Egypt, monkey, gorilla, fireplaces, computers, bible, cheetah girls, High School Musical, Zac Ephron, The Little Princess, jewelry, water, books, pillows, movies, furniture, cars, trophies, music, showers, baths, stop signs, stop lights, rocks, spirits, flowers, moon, sun, stars, earth, electricity, toilets, Jupiter, planets, coats, snow, closets, rugs, carpets
Interesting list...I know! She was proud of herself for coming up with that many.
So what are you thankful for?
Monday, November 06, 2006
1. Am I going to the craft fair tomorrow? Well, I went to the craft fair with Amy...thanks for asking...and I bought soup and dip mixes. I looked at all of the other items, but couldn't bring myself to buy anything that I was going to have to figure out how to get it back to Turkey. I kept thinking about the weight limit my bags were going to have and it was a good shopping deterant. I did see some pretty jewelry that wouldn't have taken up too much room, but we are saving for a new laptop so I just looked longingly at it and walked away.
2. Crunchy or creamy peanut butter? I am a crunchy girl myself. We usually buy both because the kids prefer the creamy, but give me some peanut butter with a little substance to it so I can justify the fat and calories.
3. When do we go back to Turkey? Well now, that is a good question. Our plan is to go back mid-January...like maybe the 11 or 12. We are still waiting on medical clearance from our company, but shouldn't have any problems.
4. Are we excited about going back? Yes and no. Erica is loving junior high in America, but will be fine once we get going. The other kids are all saying that they are ready to go back to their friends. Brian is really ready to go back, and I can do whatever. I am okay being in the states right now, but when the time comes I will be okay going back. One confession though....I might cry. I have never cried leaving America...not the first time or any of the times I have visited. This time I think I might be emotional about it. We will see.
5. What kinds of things have the kids noticed written on the bathroom stalls? Will came out of the restroom at a restaurant the other day and told Erica that if she was looking for a good time she could call Hannah at 281-***-****. We just about died. He thought that if a girl was looking for a good time she should have written her number in the girls bathroom where potential friends could read it. Oh, the innocence of youth.
6. Which country do I like better, America or Turkey? Now Abby, you know my answer. "They are very different from each other. They both have great things about them that I love. I like them equally well." Never commit to one or the other. It isn't good to bad mouth your home country or your host country.
7. Do I still make library cards for my personal books and then check them out to people? Why? Are you interested in borrrowing one? No, of course not. That is so high school! But, we do have a lot of DVD's in Turkey that we check out to people. They have to write their name in a little book along with the titles of the DVD's they are "checking out". Does that count? Those things are expensive, and after losing a few we got smart! Now we know who has what! And we are popular too...lots of people check out our movies! If you would come visit us, Mentanna, you could see if you approve of the system.
There were a couple of other serious questions that will take serious answers so I am waiting until I am in a more serious state of mind to answer them. Seriously!
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Another idea I had...when is it that your kids go from thinking you know everything to thinking you know nothing. With 4 kids in different stages of that thinking I just was wondering. And it isn't like Erica, the 13 year old, thinks I don't know what I am talking about. Deep down she realizes that I am almost always right. It's Anna Grace, the 7 year old, that seems to think that I don't have a clue. The boys don't seem to have a problem in this area. Jacob questions when he thinks I might possibly be wrong about something but usually takes my word for it. And Will, well who knows what he thinks! He seems to be pretty sure of what he thinks and doesn't ask for our opinion or advice much. Okay...so that is it for that topic.
I have also thought about writing about how while in America I am expecting more of people than I do in Turkey. I ask more of waiters...sauce on the side, no eggs even though the meal comes with them, substitutions. I don't know if it is because I know that they are used to it and expect to serve me or if it is because I can speak their language. In Turkey I might ask for sauce on the side except that would mean I would need to know how to say it in Turkish. And then I would wonder if they would be happy to get it for me or just think I am a demanding American.
All of these and many more thoughts have been floating around in my head. I just don't know how to write about them. I think I am in a slump. I was speaking to a group about our experiences overseas, and when I was done with what I had to say I took questions. Maybe that is what I need to do now. While I am in this slump....not able to come up with much to say myself...what do you want want me to write about? What do you want to know? Please...I am taking questions!
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
. I had to take a picture the second day we were with the Herrings because for the second day in a row they were dressed in Clemson clothing! Notice the paw prints on the pants! That night we went to a family member's television store and watched the Clemson game on a big screen TV. They won 63-9! At least we chose a winning team! The chairs, plates, and cups were all orange! Their great niece was also there dressed as a Clemson cheerleader!
The next night I took a picture of the Herrings and Brian who was wearing as close to orange as he wanted. Being a Baylor alumni it was a major step to wear burnt orange, but he figured it was closer to Clemson's colors than green and gold.
Not satisfied with the burnt orange, Bryan Herring bought Brian a Clemson shirt and cap to wear the next day! It only took three days to win him over!
While we were driving around on Saturday afternoon we saw a stand that sold boiled peanuts. I mentioned to Cindy that one of the guys on our team in Turkey loves boiled peanuts and even got some in a package that he shared with us. That night for a snack she made some for us to try...fresh, hot, boiled peanuts anyone? These pictures are for you, Patrick!
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Who - Brian and Natalie
Where - Lexington, South Carolina
Dates - October 11-15
Why - M conference
How can I be reached? (insert telephone number here) I don't want everyone in cyberspace to know my phone number so I won't insert it myself!
Stay tuned for pictures from Lexington!
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
I think they almost look too good to eat! I said almost....
Monday, October 02, 2006
CSI is currently filming in 15 different cities including Las Vegas, New York, and Miami. CSI:Waco coming to a television near you!
Everything really is bigger in Texas. The mosquitos look like small birds!
You seldom get asked to read your bible in church if all you carry is a Turkish bible.
The restaurant service industry expects you to complain so they replace foods that look too well done or are not substantial enough, and bring refills on drinks before you can even drink 1/3 of them. e.g. "Here are some more pancakes. The others I brought looked too done." "This bloomin' onion is too small. I ordered another one for you."
Watching poker on TV is much more exciting than playing it in real life.
American products such as nacho cheese, bacon bits, peanut butter, crunchy cheetos, and shredded wheat taste better when someone brings them to us in Turkey than they do when we buy them ourselves from the stores here.
You can email your digital photos to Walmart and they will print them in an hour!
Being able to choose from 8 different college football games on TV is not as exciting as Brian thought it would be, and trying to watch all of them at the same time gives his thumb a workout!
A 24 count box of crayola crayons only costs a quarter during back to school sales!
When you have nothing to do and lots of time to do it in going fire ant hunting is a noteworthy event!
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Brian went to the eye doctor today to see what could be done about his hazy PRK eye. He has one eye that sees fine up close and at a distance, but the other eye can't see very well at a distance. The doctor told him that he could get glasses if he wanted but that it really wasn't necessary. He opted to get them and just use them for driving and other activities when clarity is nice...golf, baseball games, etc. This isn't what I want you to ask me about or why I am writing; however, the visit reminded me of a funny story about Anna Grace getting her eyes checked in January. The problem is the story is only funny if I tell it to you. I can't describe it well enough on this blog to do it justice. Then I was at church tonight and a friend reminded me of a story about Jacob questioning our job. Again, not something I can share on this blog. So I thought I would write a blog to tell you that I have these funny stories to tell. If you see me and want to hear funny kid stories ask. There is also one about Will learning how to spell words in English....only funny if you hear it. I'm sure I can probably come up with something funny that Erica has done as well, but I need to think about it! And....she is 13 so she might die of humiliation if I share stories about her!
Monday, September 18, 2006
There was also an item called Cottonelle for Kids. I had seen a coupon for it and couldn't imagine why they would make a special toilet paper for kids. The package said that it helps kids learn how much to use. Evidently kids follow paw prints printed on the paper to a puppy and then tear it off there. It looks like about 5 squares. I thought this sounded silly, but wonder if I should buy some for Jacob! That boy uses more toilet paper than anyone I know!
Until next time...
Thursday, September 14, 2006
We have also noticed that almost every kind of candy bar has an ice cream with the same name. They also come in super size, regular size, miniatures, and bite size. You can have your chocolate in any size or shape you want!
Another thing I found interesting is how all of the snack items come in the old package sizes and new 100 calorie packages. I guess they are trying to control our portion sizes for us since we haven't been too good at it ourselves. They have cookies, crackers, gummy snacks, and other fun things in the new 100 calorie packs.
Lastly, we are somewhat concerned about Olive Garden's never-ending pasta bowl. You can create as many pasta and sauce combinations as you want. Those people who only had a 100 calorie snack pack at snack time must be starving when dinnertime comes! Olive Garden knows this and is coming through for them! I think the commercial said there were 42 different combinations!
So what do you think? Have you heard of any new food items that I might have missed? Let me know!
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Number 87, Willlllllllll Dixonnnnnnnnnn
Will went in and out every other play to deliver the play to the huddle. It was so fun to watch the coach interact with him. The coach told him "stay with me" then would tell him the play and he would run in to deliver it.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Brian loves the crawfish platter! On the right you see fried crawfish tails. On the left is crawfish ettouffe, and in the middle is dirty rice. He always eats the fried crawfish first and then mixes the rice with the ettouffe and eats that. He says he eats it this way because if he can't finish his meal the fried crawfish doesn't taste very good reheated but the ettouffe does! Planning ahead so as not to waste good food...good thinking!
This is a shrimp po-boy...my favorite...basically a fried shrimp sandwich. According to my brother-in-law the pickles are the best part! The other day we went to lunch at Pappadeaux's and I decided to branch out a little. The meals always come with french bread so I decided to get the fried seafood platter. That is basically 3 fried shrimp, a decent portion of fried crawfish tails, and a piece of fried catfish. I had the great idea of making three different small sandwiches by using the bread that came with the meal. It was missing the lettuce and pickles, but that wasn't a big deal to me. I made a little sandwich with the shrimp first and ate that then could barely eat anything else! I had to have the server pack up the rest of the meal so I could take it home to eat later. My mistake had been eating a piece of bread with butter while we were waiting for our food to come. I had filled up on bread! I don't know how many times I have heard Brian say, "Don't fill up on bread." The waitress asked if I liked my meal when I asked her to pack it up, and I told her that I was really full because I had eaten too much bread. I don't know if she believed me or not! I had left the whole piece of catfish, all of the french fries, and almost all of the crawfish on my plate! If she only knew how much I love Pappadeaux's! Before coming back to America I had dreams about it, and this is the second blog I've written about it! The only disappointment in the whole experience was that my stomach couldn't hold all the food on my plate so I had to eat the rest later. Oh, and I agree with Brian. The fried crawfish didn't taste as good when I reheated it for lunch the next day. He is so smart!
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Thanks for praying for me and for the encouraging notes!
Saturday, August 12, 2006
I am having surgery...an elective procedure. Many of you know that I have been working on losing weight. The grand total at one point was 44 pounds over a 2 1/2 year period. I must admit I have gained back 8-10 pounds just since I have been in the states though! Too much TexMex and ice cream! Anyway...after losing the weight I have been plagued by excess skin...maybe too much information for some folks! So after meeting with a plastic surgeon I have decided to undergo a tummy tuck. This will remove the extra skin from my stomach plus they will repair the stomach muscles and do some liposuction to even things out. This surgery does NOT shrink my stomach or involve any gastic bypass whatsoever. It is not designed to help me eat less. I am not doing this to lose weight but that will be a benefit. I am doing it so that the pants that fit around my stomach also fit around my waist without having to be taken in. I am doing this because after 4 c-sections no amount of dieting was going to rid me of "the flap" as we so affectionally call it. I am doing this because I want to, not because anyone else thinks I should. I am not ashamed to tell anyone, just worried that people will judge my motives or think less of me. I don't want people to be disappointed in me. I am telling you this so you can be comfortable and so I will be comfortable. I have been really open in small circles and think that people deserve to know and not wonder. If you have any questions feel free to ask. I would be happy to talk about it. And pray for me! My surgery is scheduled for August 14, at 7:30am central time. The recovery period is supposed to be about 8 weeks, but I will still have nerve damage and some slight swelling for up to 6 months! The first two weeks will be the hardest and most painful according to my doctor so I probably won't be online or out much if any. When you see me don't be shy. If you want to know something...ask!
Friday, August 04, 2006
On a side note...Will went to the doctor today because he has a cough and hasn't been feeling well. He has a bronchial infection and was given a prescription for an antibiotic. When I took it to the pharmacy the pharmacist asked when I would like to come back to pick up the prescription. I asked her how long it would take to fill it and she said if I wanted to wait it would only be about 15 minutes. I waited. All I could think was I am not coming back later! I haven't accomplished anything at all because I keep having to come back later. I wanted to be able to say that I had at least finished something!
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Since we have been back we have been asked how we are getting along here, if we are settling in okay, how the kids are adjusting, and other similar questions. My first answers have been something like fine, yes, pretty well, and we are having fun. After deeper questions...usually from the friends I've mentioned above...I have really thought hard about how we are really doing and what we are really thinking. My initial thoughts on the issue usually have something to do with how much easier it is to live in America and how simple life is here. I have said this to a few people and I don't think they liked it much. The more I think about it the more I think that it sounds somewhat offensive...like I think everyone has such an easy life and that my life in Turkey is so much harder than anyone else's. That isn't what I am meaning. I don't want to offend. How can I answer the question without offending people? Here is what I mean by life here in America is easier.
1. In Turkey life outside our house takes place in Turkish. I know some Turkish, but I am in no way even close to being fluent in it nor can I conduct the majority of my life in Turkish. When I go to the grocery store, the post office, the doctor's office, or anywhere outside of my house I have to be able to speak at least enough Turkish to be understood. That means I have to have a plan. I have to think about what I am doing or what I might want to say to someone ahead of time. Now those places I have mentioned are pretty easy for me. I do them often so I have memorized the script. Hopefully the Turks I come across know the script and don't ask me something that I'm not expecting. Because I am so used to thinking about what I want to say before I say it I start planning my words as soon as I know that I might need them. I will never forget the first time we came back to the states for a visit. I was taking Erica to the eye doctor, and I remember driving to his office and thinking about what I wanted to tell him and how I should say it. About halfway there I realized that I didn't have to worry about it. He speaks English. I know English! The same thing happened when I came back to the states by myself. I learned on the airplane that my flight from Chicago to Houston had been canceled so I was going to have to get another flight. I started to panic because I hadn't memorized the script about needing a new flight when mine had been canceled. A few mintutes later I realized that they speak English in Chicago. I should be fine. So, for me, life is automatically more complicated in Turkey because of the language barrier and the amount of planning normal living takes. I don't usually stress about it or avoid going places where I might need words that I don't know. I just plan my thoughts ahead of time or trudge through if I am unprepared. It works...most of the time!
2. The culture in Turkey is completely different from our culture in America. If you go for a visit you might not notice a huge difference. In our city people seem to be fairly westernized. But, under that western facade is a culture that has deep roots in Islam and superstitions. People may look similar to us or to western Europeans but they don't think the same way. Turks are a very passionate people. We tend to be go with the flow type people. We don't get worked up too much over things. Things are big deals to them. One of my American friends said that everything is either a drama or a trauma in Turk's lives. I felt like we lived from one crisis to the next while we were there. I love the passion though. Because things are a big deal to Turks, people are also a big deal to them. I think they live life deeper than we do. That can be a good thing, but it is tiring when you aren't used to it. They invest in people. The problem with that is that when people make mistakes or let them down they get deeply offended. They have a hard time with forgiveness. That makes for more drama and trauma! Just getting off the phone with a Turk is an adventure. We say something like "talk to you later, bye". They say "it was good talking to you, talk to you later, take care of yourself, tell everyone I say hi, kisses, bye". Even saying goodbye can be tiring because it takes so long!
I have a lot more floating around in my head, but I don't want this blog to be too long. I will add some more reasons later so just chew on this for a while. What do you think?
This is the front and back view of our house. Our front door is in the middle of the house. You have to walk up some stairs to get to it and when you get inside you are on the landing between floors. The upstairs floor has the main living area, kitchen, and kids bedrooms on it. The downstairs has another living area and our bedroom. It seems a little strange to go upstairs to get to the kitchen and carrying the groceries up can be a pain, but I can't complain. I only have to go up one floor...not 3! Brian is enjoying mowing the yard! He has also gone out and weeded the flower beds. Anna Grace commented that she thought our backyard wasn't very big. I told her it is bigger than her personal backyard in Turkey! The sliding door you see under the balcony goes into our bedroom
Here is our kitchen. I wish our kitchen in Turkey was this big! It seems huge!
This is the upstairs living room. There is a small table over to the right of the living area so we have called it the salon just to keep things simple.
Downstairs living room. Brian decided to call it the den to make it easier. Our computer is over in the back corner. Our bedroom is also downstairs off to the left of this picture.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Yesterday, we spent some time at my parents' house visiting with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. Erica and two of my cousins were making brownies in the kitchen. My mom reminded them to grease the pan and asked if they wanted to use Pam or shortening to grease it. I looked at Erica and I could tell she was confused. I asked her if she knew what Pam was. She said no. I asked her if she knew what shortening was. Again, she said no. I started laughing! We use oil or margarine in Turkey because they don't have Pam or shortening there! New vocabulary!
Anna Grace has also learned some new vocabulary since she has been here. One of her new words is pantry. She had no idea what that was! When I asked her to get something out of the pantry she just looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. In Turkey we have some food in the normal kitchen cabinets and some food in another cabinet unit that we refer to as a dolap (dole-ahp) which is the Turkish word for cabinet. If I had asked her to get something out of the dolap she would have known exactly what I meant. Also, Walmart is a new word for her. We left Anna Grace at my parents' one evening while we ran to Walmart to pick up a few things. My uncle asked her where we went, and he said she just tapped her head and said, "what was the name of that place again". He said any kid raised in America would have had no problem coming up with Walmart. He could tell she wasn't from around here.
I'm sure there will be more things to share with you as we live the adventure here in the states. Thanks for reading!
Monday, June 19, 2006
Our freezer. I love this upright freezer that Brian bought me for my 2nd mother's day in Turkey. The top two compartments have a plastic door that opens and the bottom four compartments are drawers that pull out. It is very handy!
Our balcony! Sitting on the deck off the back of our house in Texas just isn't the same. I was excited to be able to sit outside like we are used to doing but staring down into the backyard just doesn't compare to being able to look up and down the street outside our building. There are usually people walking around, wild dogs in the field across the street, numerous cars, buses and dolmuses driving by as well as many other activities. The weather is also really nice...no humidity to speak of...so we even eat out there sometimes. I will miss the good summer weather for sitting on the balcony. By the time we get back to Turkey it will be winter and too cold to sit out there.
I was going to post some pictures of foods that we will miss while we are in the states but I decided to wait until we actually miss them. So far we have enjoyed all the yummy things we have been able to eat and not really missed any Turkish food items. I'm sure it will come though!
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
1. Public Transportation!
It is everywhere you need to be. The small blue bus pictured below is called a dolmus (dole-moosh) in Ankara. In Istanbul these are called mini buses but no matter what they are called they are wonderful! To take a dolmus you stand on the side of the road and wait for one to come by that has a sign indicating it will pass by where you want to go. Then you just wave at the driver...he stops and you get on. You do have to pay to use them and the fare depends on where you want to go. Almost all places in Ankara cost 1.20 lira which is equal to about 77 cents. Then when you are ready to get off you just have to tell the driver to stop. It's that simple. This dolmus is passing right in front of my apartment.
The Taxi! Taxi's here can be flagged down or you can call the local taxi stand and have one pick you up from your apartment. The drivers at our stand know us and are always very friendly. When we call for a taxi we need to already be walking out the door because the taxi will be pulling up in front of our building in about the time it takes us to get out there...2 minutes! They are more expensive of course but when we are in a hurry well worth it.
And finally the bus. This bus stop is in front of the building next door to us so again we can catch it on our street. This bus uses a bus card which is purchased from a terminal downtown. When you get on the bus you slide your card in a machine and it subtracts the price of your ride. The price depends on if you are a student, elderly, or if you bought a multi-ride card. 20 rides costs 20 lira but one ride costs 1.20 lira. There are also pay buses that have a little man sitting at a desk about halfway down the isle who takes your money. This bus takes me downtown where I can catch another bus, a dolmus, or the subway if I need a second ride to get me where I am going.
I mentioned the subway above which is another form of public tranportation provided. It uses the same cards as the bus and the fares are the same. If I transfer from a card bus to another card bus or the subway within 45 minutes of my first ride the second ride is free! There are two subway lines in Ankara but in order for me to take one I have to take another form of transportation to get me to a subway stop.
The last thing I thought I would highlight is the service vans that most grocery stores have. After you shop you can take a free service van home. You usually have to wait a few minutes for them to fill up and then you have to give them directions to your house. A few of them will do pick-ups as well at scheduled times on certain days.
Oh, I can't forget to say my feet! I walk to a lot of places I never would have even thought to walk to in the states. Everyone here walks a lot! I will miss being able to walk to the grocery store, the tailor, the outdoor food market, and friends' houses.
So you can see I have not needed to drive a car for the last four years of my life which is a good thing because all the cars here are standards, and I don't know how to drive one. I plan on learning when I get back to the states though. But, my dad has assured me that a dolmus will drive down our street in Texas and take me wherever I need to go. And I'm sure the nice Kroger people will take me home if I spend enough money in their store. But it shouldn't be too much of a problem. I will have a car, and it's not a standard. The only problem is I have to share it with Brian!
Monday, June 05, 2006
Anna Grace and her friend Mikah pose for the camera.
Jacob and his friend Jacob looking not so ruthless!
Will, Sam and Josh are really good friends. Sam played the bully and Will had to act like he couldn't stand him. It was lots of fun because they really love each other!
Here is Will trying to score a goal on his dad. Mr. Greg, a good friend and one of the coaches, tried to stop him.
Mr. Greg giving Will his trophy! They both were making goofy faces at the camera.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
The cay danlik. That is the pot you see on the stovetop in this picture. Cay means tea in Turkish. Everyone has one and they are usually sitting on their stoves since they are used all the time. How to make Turkish cay... Fill the bottom part of the pot, or the kettle, with cold water and put loose tea leaves into the teapot on top...about 1 tsp of leaves for each glass of tea you want to make. I usually throw in a little extra as well. Put the kettle, with the teapot on top, on the heat to boil. When the water boils, pour it into the teapot until full and put it on the kettle, which should still contain plenty of boiling water. Lower the heat to medium while the tea brews for about 10 minutes. When the tea is ready pour it into your glass. Only pour a little...anywhere from a fourth to half a glass. They have tea strainers you pour the tea through so you don't get tea leaves in your cup but many people don't use them and just know how to pour it so very few leaves come out. Then use the hot water in the bottom pot to fill your glass. You can adjust the strength of your tea by putting more or less of the tea in your glass. Most people here drink their tea at medium strength. You can also order it acik which means light or kamyonculu which means like a trucker or really dark! And of course you can sweeten your tea to taste. The tea here is generally served with a couple of sugar cubes on the side or with a bowl of sugar cubes. When we are in the states please come by and we will make you a cup of Turkish tea! It is really yummy!
I got this picture off of a website just so you could see what the finished product looks like. These glasses are the normal tea glasses here. The ones we bought aren't quite this fancy...no gold!
Another interesting thing about Turkish ovens is the yogurt setting you can find on them. I have never actually made my own yogurt since you can find it everywhere here and it is very inexpensive. I know that you use about 2 tablespoons of yogurt mixed with about several cups of milk. After that I don't know what to do. The setting is less than 100 degrees celsius but I don't know what the exact temperature is. I have found a recipe for making your own yogurt at home by boiling milk and adding the yogurt to it at www.turkishcookbook.com but it says nothing about the oven.
So there you have it. Cultural lessons from an experienced cay maker and an inexperienced yogurt maker.
Monday, May 29, 2006
I am standing in the doorway to the outside. I don't know if there are actual doors that can close or if it is just a doorway. They are never closed if there are doors. Anyway... off to the right there are doors that lead outside as well. To the left are a few benches and a small booth selling things to eat and drink. Straight ahead is the sliding door that leads into the airport. In this picture it had just opened because someone walked by on the inside. My friend, Abby, is the girl on the left in the pink shirt.
Notice the people right next to the glass. They are trying to see through it which is next to impossible! The plane we were meeting was the only one coming in for a couple of hours so the room wasn't too crowded.
This is after the plane landed. All of a sudden people came from who knows where to meet the passengers. I am still standing in the doorway to the outside. There is still quite a bit of empty space in front of these guys. When more than one plane is coming in you can't even move in this room!
Just thought I would share!
Monday, May 22, 2006
I just had to post this picture of one of our coworkers. He was over for a meeting and it ran into lunch time. He, being the timely organized guy he is, had packed a lunch for the day. He took it out and I just about died. It was the lunch you hear about. The one you are supposed to eat. His sandwich was peanut butter and jelly. Both the bread and the peanut butter were homemade! The cookies were also homemade...not the slice and bake kind of homemade but the real thing...chocolate chip. The pretzels and the apple finished it off. I told him I could pour him a glass of milk if he needed it to feel complete. He opted for water. Anyway...just thought it was funny. Who knew a packed lunch could look so good!