Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Oh yeah...

We have some new friends in town. I've mentioned them before. They are the ones who lived with us while they searched for a new apartment. Having people new to the area reminds us of how it feels to be new. Watching them learn culture and have new experiences has been fun. Here are a few of their stories with our own blasts from the past...

1. The other day they took a trip to the zoo. While visiting the chimpanzee cage they observed some young people throwing nuts into the cage. The chimp picked them up and ate them. Then another person lit a cigarette, took a couple of puffs on it, and threw it into the cage. The chimpanzee picked it up and smoked it. Judging from the cigarette butts in the cage and the expertise the chimp showed in smoking the cigarette it was obvious that this wasn't his first time.

This reminded me of our first time to the zoo. The same thing happened when we were there. A man threw a cigarette into the cage and the chimp smoked it like he had been doing it all his life! I couldn't believe it! Sad and funny at the same time!

2. My friend had a neighbor from her building visit her the other day. After having a seat in the living room the neighbor cautioned my friend about having too many windows open in her house. There was a balcony door and a window open in the living room. According to the neighbor this was unhealthy. Each room could only have one window or door open at a time or people could get sick. My friend thanked her neighbor for the advice and told her that in America we don't often open our windows so she hadn't heard that before. The funny thing about this is that the neighbor's husband is a medical doctor.

Not long after arriving in Turkey we had our next door neighbors over for dinner. The couple was quite concerned that we were walking around barefoot in our house. They warned us that we would get stomachaches from walking on the cold floor while barefoot. They were mostly concerned about the girls because walking around barefoot could cause our ovaries to freeze. We all put on socks or slippers so that we wouldn't worry them too much. The craziest part of it all is that our neighbors are both doctors. And one of them is an ob/gyn. I wonder if he asks his patients who are having trouble conceiving if they walked around barefoot as a child!

3. During a language lesson our friend was asked to come up with a sentence about what he planned to do after class using the verb "to make/do". After carefully constructing his sentence it was his turn to share. What he tried to say was "I want to (make play) with my children". What he said was "I want to make children".

Brian has had numerous funny language mistakes as well. He has asked if he could "use" his wife. He once said "I am licking myself" when trying to say "I'm just joking". One of my favorite times was when a language helper of his learned he was from California. He said "oh, California...I love that song Californication." Brian trying to explain the difference in the two words was fun to watch!


Wow! I write a blog about being depressed and 35 people look at my blog that day. I didn't even send out a notice saying I updated. The word must have gotten around! I got phone calls, emails, and visits. Next time I need some attention I'm putting it on the blog! It was great. Seriously though...thanks for caring about me. Thanks for the attention. I am doing much better. Like I said in the original post...just realizing what was going on made me feel better. Just wanted to give a little update!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Happiness and Joy

I am usually a content person. I have been told by some that I often don't seem passionate about things, because I am content with how they are. I don't usually look at my circumstances and think of how they could be better. I accept how things are and make little changes when needed. But, not lately. Lately I have viewed all of life differently. Since being back overseas I have not been content. I was ok some of the time, but I kept thinking that as soon as other people showed up things would be better. As soon as our team was complete again I could function normally. The phrases "as soon as" and "when ... happens" were part of my thinking, but not my speech. Most people had no idea that I wasn't feeling completely normal. The past 2-4 weeks have been the worst. I haven't wanted to do anything. I haven't been a regular emailer or blogger or friend to anyone. I would rather be back in America. I have battled with a slight bit of depression for the last month. So very strange for me. I have not ever had much empathy for depressed people. I always want them to just snap out of it. I never understood how someone could always view life with a "grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" attitude. But lately I've been that way. I realize that this kind of thinking is wrong. I know that putting my hope in new people arriving here or in my circumstances changing in some way is not going to make me feel any better. Since I've been back several things have happened that I hoped would make me feel happier and when they didn't I looked for a new landmark or event to put my hope in. That is so wrong! Being in right relationship with God is the only thing that can help me be content with the rest of life. Joy will come. Thankfully I know this. It didn't take me long to figure out that what I was feeling was depression and the way I was dealing with it was wrong. Please remember me as I work through this. The great thing is that now that I know and recognize it I already feel somewhat better!


Ok...Mentanna has asked me to post a blog solely devoted to her. I find this amusing. I have mentioned her by name in 2 of my May posts and in several others over my blogging history. I also refer to her often as "a friend of mine". How many times has she mentioned me in her blog? Hmmm...let me count...ZERO, ZIPPO, NEVER! Am I offended by that...of course not. Her blog is usually a thought provoking, interesting read, and she rarely mentions people by name. My blog has been thought provoking, boring, interesting to only me, and who knows what else over it's lifetime. I often mention people who have influenced me or made me think. So now Mentanna wants me to sing her praises...only the good stuff she said. Well, it's all good. Even what was bad is now good. Thankfully God works that way. Yea, Mentanna! Yea, God! I know...this probably isn't good enough, but it will have to do for now.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Bütün ümüdüm kendimde. All my hope is in me. I read that today. It was written on a button pinned to a college student's bag. I saw her on the bus and wondered if she just liked what the button said or if she really believed it. The world would be a depressing place if everything I hoped for depended on how well I did or how good I was. That is what the people in this country are depending on. They hope that when they die they have done enough good stuff to outweigh the bad stuff. They hope that the scales tip in their favor. But they won't know until they die. Wait and see and hope for the best. Not me...

I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. Psalm 62:5

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. Jeremiah 17:7

Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again - my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:11

I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word.
Psalm 130:5

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Class of 1987

This year my high school class is having it's 20 year reunion. Am I really that old? Has it really been twenty years since I walked the hallowed halls of Amarillo High School? Amazing. I won't be going to the reunion since I live in Turkey, but I have thought a lot about who I would like to see if I was going.

Tonya...we were both new to the school at the begining of our junior year. I think that because everyone else already had their friends we just automatically had each other. She was fun...and funny! She drove a green Honda with fuzzy seat covers and a standard transmission. We were allowed to leave campus for lunch so she and I would go to Taco Bell or McDonalds...usually. Imagine trying to eat a taco and shift at the same time. Good times! I don't remember ever eating lunch with anyone else my junior year! And just like my family her family moved away from Amarillo after graduation. Where is Tonya now? We don't ever talk, but I do know she went to Dordt College, married a guy named Kevin who is a pig farmer (I think), adopted two children from Korea, and lives in Iowa. I got a Christmas card from her a few years ago with a picture of her family. And I'm pretty sure she doesn't even know there's going to be a class reunion so she won't be there.

Garret...we dated our junior year in high school. We shared the same homeroom and were in Chemistry together. He was on the wrestling team so I got to attend wrestling events much to my horror! He must not have had the same lunch as me since I don't ever remember eating with him. He was a cowboy who listened to heavy metal music...again...much to my horror! On one of our first dates we went to a halloween party at his church. He was a Nazarene. I dressed up as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, and he was Billy Jack who I had never heard of. Evidently there was a movie called Billy Jack which he loved. The plot...Billy Jack is a half-Indian/half-white ex-Green Beret who is being drawn more and more toward his Indian side. He hates violence, but can't get away from it in the white man's world. Pitting the good guys, the students of the peace-loving free-arts school in the desert vs. the conservative bad guys in the near-by town, the movie plays definitive late-60s themes/messages: anti-establishment, make love not war, the senseless slaughter of God's creatures, the rape of society (figuratively and literally), two-sided justice, racial segregation and prejudices, and basic socialist ideals. Okay I copied and pasted that last part. We broke up in the summer between our junior and senior years but stayed friends for the rest of our high school careers. Where is Garret now? The last I heard he is a chiropractor in Oklahoma, married to Shelly (I think), has two kids, and raises horses. I haven't actually talked to him in over 10 years, and I don't know if he is going to the reunion or not.

Jon...We dated the last half of our senior year and for a year in college. He was also in my homeroom class. He went to my church and was a lot of fun. For one date we went flying with my friend, Mentanna, and her boyfriend. Her dad owned a small plane so he took us for a ride over Amarillo. It was scary and fun at the same time. Another time I had to stay after school for detention, and he did something stupid so that he would get detention too! He went into the marines after high school and served during the first gulf war. Where is Jon now? I haven't talked to him in a few years so my news may be old. He is currently living in Belgium, married to Alicia...a Spaniard, and has two daughters.

Mike...another homeroom friend. He was crazy and fun! I don't think we ever did anything outside of school...except my graduation party. I do know that he had a graduation party that I wasn't invited to. The only reason I know that is because he sent me an invitation my freshman year in college! Um, a little too late! Where is Mike now? He is married to Laurie, has three boys, and is expecting a girl. He emailed the other day to ask if I was going to the reunion. Awww. It would be fun to go, but there is really no way possible at this point!

So there you have it. I would also like to know what several other people who weren't close friends are up to. Just people that were in a class or two and were always friendly. Some of them would probably not even remember me! I only lived in Amarillo for two years so there wasn't time to make and keep too many friends!

Oh...and the other day on my favorite TV channel here (Crime and Investigation Network) they had a show called City Confidential. It showcased a murder that took place in Amarillo. The guy was name Brian something or other, and he was into the punk scene which evidently wasn't popular with some of the jocks in town. One of them ran over him after a fight outside of an IHOP. This all happened in 1997 so I was long gone by then! They showed pictures of my high school which is evidently where he went to school and my church which must be where his funeral was held. The story was sad, but I did enjoy seeing pictures of the town.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

For Mother's Day we went out to eat. We piled 19 people in our 13 passenger van and went to the mall. Some of us had Burger King, and others had Chinese food. Only 2 of the 19 were actually mothers. Brian bought himself a coffee from Starbucks and the movie Nacho Libre from the book store. He tried to give me the movie after he bought it saying "Happy Mother's Day!", but I knew better. Jacob and Anna Grace each made a Love and Kindness coupon for me in church this morning. Jacob's coupon said "Today I will..." and he filled in the blank. He wrote "Today I will...ask for a Star Wars episode." I'm not sure how that shows love to me, but he liked it! Anna Grace made me a bookmark and two cards in school, Will made a fancy folding card in school, and Jacob said he left his present for me at school so I guess I'll be getting that tomorrow. Erica is in 7th grade which means no more homemade presents from school. I guess they are supposed to be responsible enough to do something on their own. She wasn't. The funny thing about all this is that I am not bothered by people forgetting Mother's day or my birthday or even my anniversary. I don't need big celebrations to feel loved or appreciated. I do enjoy watching the kids when they have something for me. I love seeing them get excited about their presents. That's probably the most fun! And after last year's FAG bag no present will ever compare! See my post from last May for a great picture! Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Week in Review

This week several exciting things happened around here.

1. Erica got her braces off! She is really happy about that, and she looks old! The following picture doesn't really tell the whole story, because it had to be a close-up in order to see her newly straightened teeth. You can almost hear her saying "Mommmmm!" in this picture!

2. I made granola bars. This is something I would have never done in America. There are too many good brands of granola bars there! The recipe called for raisins and walnuts, but I left those out and added chocolate chips. The kids loved them, and the recipe was easy! The only thing I didn't have was wheat germ which is hard to find here so I used flax seed that I ground into a powder in my coffee grinder. (I didn't have the flax seed either...I had to buy it at the store...geez...I'm not that healthy!) I will be making them again with coconut and chocolate chips! They were yummy!

3. I wore capri pants! The weather is finally warm enough that I can wear short sleeves and capris and not get chilled. The sun has been out which lifts my spirits considerably. I wasn't depressed or anything, but I love the sun! Not the heat mind you, but a nice warm day that doesn't make you sweat when you walk outside. (That happened in Houston a lot...the sweating when I walked out of my door part.)

4. Anna Grace got a black eye. She and a friend were walking home from school and somehow managed to bump into each other. She got home and had a nice red puffy place under her eye, and the next day it was black. We made up all kinds of fun stories about how she got her black eye, but in the end told her to tell the truth when asked!

5. Will won Honorable Mention in the science fair. He did his project on soil porosity. Brian went to several small towns around Ankara and collected soil samples for Will to test. He predicted which one would hold the most water based on their looks and feel. His prediction was wrong, but he didn't really care. We had so much going on the week of the science fair that Will said he didn't care what grade he made on his project. One of his best friends won Best of Show for a water rocket he built. Will thought the rocket was cool, but said he didn't want to work as hard as it would take to win Best of Show.

That's all folks.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Movie Meme

First of all let me say that I don't even know what the word "meme" means. I looked it up and got this definition.

meme –noun
a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes.

So because I saw this idea on a friend's website (thanks for the idea, Jay) and thought it might be fun I am transmitting this cultural item to you. Now on with it...

The rules are:
Go to IMDB.com and look up 10 of your favorite movies.
Post five (5) official IMDB "Plot Keywords" for these 10 picks.
Have your friends guess the movie titles.
Then tag three people.

Here are my picks.

1. outsider, tutor, sickness, knight, based on novel
2. actor playing himself, drunk scene, secret, old woman, airplane
3. brother, humiliation, popularity, Chicago, teacher
4. no opening credits, insurance agent, adoption, product placement, deceit
5. friendship, paparazzi, roommate, bathtub scene, title spoken by character
6. class differences, famous score, clock, suicide, swimming
7. women, nursing home, wedding, friendship, barefoot
8. train, roulette, remake, farce, sailor
9. FBI, Texas, punching bag, russian mafia, New Jersey
10. bad girl, diary, lies, prison, hanging

So there you have it. I'm not going to officially tag anyone, but Mentanna since you are such a movie buff I bet you would pick some good ones!

By the way...I said that I didn't even know what the word "meme" meant. Well that was only partially true. I didn't know what it meant in English. In Turkish it means breast or udder so you can imagine what went through my mind when I first saw what this game was called!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Finally flowing!

Yesterday Brian took the chocolate fountain back to the store. He explained the problem, and they gave him another one...after making sure it worked first! Tonight we tried it out. It worked beautifully! The chocolate came cascading down. I think I will need to make more chocolate next time, because the flow wasn't full enough. Also there are legs you can adjust to make sure the chocolate flows evenly. We had a lopsided flow. The kids didn't care though. By the time we were done everyone had chocolate faces and hands, the table was covered with chocolate drips, the floor needed mopping, and I had chocolate in several places on my shirt. I only ate two strawberries and a small cube of angel food cake dipped in chocolate, but I managed to get chocolate on the back of my shirt as well as the front. I think it was from some kid's hand or leaning on the table or something!

As I've shared the news about owning a chocolate fountain with several people I have started to worry. I am worried that people will ask to borrow it. After the experience of the first one not working and smoking up the house I don't think I am comfortable with loaning it out. It wasn't cheap, and I don't want to have to take another one back. I will give anyone the recipe for the chocolate fondue used in the fountain though. It is so yummy that I could eat it with a spoon, and the kids (and their parents) didn't even care that the fountain didn't work the first time...the chocolate tasted great drizzled over all the yummy sides! And it sure was less of a mess to clean up!


Since arriving back in Turkey I have started a new routine. Making breakfast. That may seem like a strange thing to some of you, but it wasn't a normal practice for me. The kids usually ate cereal, toast, a scrambled egg, or some other easily prepared item for breakfast. When they got up I asked what they wanted, and like a short order cook I made it. I really didn't mind, because most of the time they picked cereal. I wouldn't make anything that took much time on school days. Pancakes, biscuits, or cinnamon rolls were reserved for weekends. And then everyone had to eat the same thing since I was going to the trouble of making something. During our adjustment to being back in Turkey I realized that Anna Grace never wanted anything for breakfast. She fussed about whatever I decided to give her, because she would have rather had what someone else was eating. I think that having to decide in the mornings was too overwhelming for her, and since she isn't a morning person and would rather not eat anything right when she gets up she acted out. At that point I decided that I would get up a few minutes earlier and make breakfast. I thought that if I took the choice part away from her things might be better. Well, I was right! She still doesn't want anything, and will almost always say she isn't hungry. But, the fact that the other kids are all eating the same thing she has on her plate has helped. I have made pancakes, french toast, cinnamon toast, cheese toast, several kinds of muffins, eggs, breakfast burritos, waffles, hash browns, and several other things. The other kids seem to like that there are more options as well. Every couple of weeks we have cereal for breakfast, and they are always disappointed that I haven't cooked something!

To be or not to be a pirate

We were watching Pirates of the Carribean 2 this afternoon and Jacob said he didn't agree with something in the previews. I wasn't really paying attention and asked him what he was talking about. He said that the commercial said something about the best thing about being a pirate is the treasure. He didn't agree with that. He said he thought the best thing about being a pirate would be the adventure. The treasure is okay, but since it's pirate's booty and you can't even spend it like normal money what's the point! Arghh Matey. Okay he didn't end with arghh matey...I added that part myself!

Turkish Delight

When we were in the states several people asked us if they really eat Turkish Delight here. The answer is yes! In Turkish it is called Lokum, and it comes in several flavors. This plate is filled with Sade Lokum. Sade just means plain. This flavor is just sweet...kinda like honey. These are topped with hazelnuts, walnuts, and pistachios. There is also the plain with no topping on the right and a smaller one in the middle that is darker in color with a little stronger flavor.

Lokum also comes in several colors which are pistachio, various fruit, and rose flavors. Personally I like the plain the best!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

News this week.

Several things I keep thinking I want to blog about...

1. For those of you who have been asking...I am feeling much better. I have been taking an antibiotic since Thursday night which I'm sure has helped. I did come home from my weekend away to a husband with a head cold though!

2. Disney channel has come to Turkey! My kids were watching another cartoon network the other day and an anouncement came across the bottom of the screen. It said something about the Disney channel and four days later. I didn't actually read it myself, but responded to Will's excited remarks about what he read. He couldn't remember what it said exactly so I got on the computer and googled "Disney Channel in Turkey". He was right! Now my kids can watch Hannah Montana, The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, and many other favorite programs! I'm glad. I was so tired of the Japanese cartoons they were watching on the other station. Just in case you are wondering the Disney Channel can be watched in English or Turkish.

3. I went to a ladies retreat this past weekend and got several American goodies as gifts. The group that was hosting us brought quite a few treats to share with us. I came home with a box of macaroni and cheese, a blueberry muffin mix, and a box of Cheese Nips! I also got several packs of gum, some lip gloss, scented lotions, a cool water bottle, and a few other small items! It was lots of fun!

4. Yesterday I needed to make a dessert to bring to someone's house. I was supposed to go to the zoo with the third grade today, but I found a replacement so Jacob was sad. I told him that he could decide what I would make for the dessert hoping that would make him feel better. He decided on brownies with M&Ms in them. There is no such thing as a brownie mix here so I started looking for a brownie recipe. I found a recipe for Brownie Mounds that sounded easy. It seemed to be a basic brownie recipe, but instead of spreading the batter in a pan you just put spoonfuls of it on a cookie sheet and bake them. They only take 10 minutes to bake so it was considerably shorter as well. I put Turkish Bonibons in them because M&Ms are expensive here, and the kids loved them! I love finding new recipes!

5. Yesterday I subbed in the first grade at the kids' school. I didn't think anything about it. I was an elementary education major with an early childhood specialization. In the past two years I have subbed in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and even in some high school classes. This was my area...it should be a piece of cake. I mean how hard could it be? Well to answer my question...it was amazingly hard! There were 16 1st graders from 14 different countries! Wow! Most of them spoke English well enough for me to understand, but they had a hard time listening. I'm sure the regular teacher has things under control, because her lesson plans were great and very detailed. I'm sure they have to be! I think that diversity is a great thing, but when you have kids from Serbia, India, Romania, Turkey, USA, Finland, Jordan, Germany, Saudia Arabia, Nigeria, Iran, South Korea, Kazakhstan, and Japan in the same class things might just get a little out of hand!

Okay that's it. I am now caught up...or you're now caught up.