Sunday, November 30, 2008


We arrived at our house in America last Monday at midnight. We were tired. We were hungry. We were too excited to sleep or eat though. My mom opened our pantry and started telling me what she had purchased and what "my friends" had brought over. I had no idea what she was talking about. What friends? Who brought stuff to our house? She said that my friend t called her and brought a bunch of basics over so that I wouldn't have to run to Walmart the day after I arrived. Aw...thanks t! There were also cards from several friends sitting on my kitchen counter when I arrived. Evidently they took up a collection to help us get through these first few days. So sweet and welcoming! I needed that!

Here is a picture of my pantry. You can't see them, but there is a package of Reese's peanut butter cups in there. t knows me well! There was also a 72 roll package of toilet paper and some Tide laundry detergent as well as other cleaning supplies spread throughout the house. Wait...the toilet paper wasn't spread throughout the house. It was in my bathroom all nice and neat and still in it's package. Thank goodness they didn't spread that throughout the house. Coming home to a house wrapped in toilet paper wouldn't have been so sweet and welcoming!

AG posing with the large box of saltines we found in our pantry. We love these and have missed them so. The enormity of this box made us laugh!

We spent a few days registering the kids for school, getting a few things we needed from various stores, and having Thanksgiving with my family.

Then it was Black Friday. Despite the fact that I needed several things I had no desire to participate in the shopping frenzy that is Black Friday. We were going out to my parents' for burgers in the afternoon so we thought we would swing by the at&t wireless store on the way. I had been using my mom's phone since we don't have service at our house, and I thought she might appreciate getting it back. I walked into the at&t wireless store as a nice gentleman was walking out. He informed me that I wasn't too late...they still had iphones. I wasn't interested in an iphone, but I appreciated his concern for my cell phone needs.

I ended up buying two of these...one for me and one for Brian.

And I got all of this for free with my phone purchase. Um...hello. Buy a phone and get another phone, a bluetooth, a carrying case, and a car charger for free? Wow! Now Erica and Will have phones too. We had planned on getting Erica a phone since she is in high school, but Will wasn't going to get one yet. He got lucky! We got a family plan with unlimited texting so hopefully the kids won't use up all our minutes!

Then on Saturday my friend, Amy, called and wanted to give me this.

With this inside it. Now I just have to sign up for some sort of cable, and I will be good to go!

I seriously feel so blessed to have had such a good week of transition back to the states. People have been so wonderful to us. Thanks guys!

Friday, November 28, 2008

whoa...taking a time out to blog

Yes we are back. Yes we have been super busy. It's funny though...the busyness feels completely different on this end of the move. Way less stressful. I don't have a deadline for when I have to get my boxes unpacked. I don't have to decide what to keep and what to get rid of. I don't have to wonder what to do with the stuff I unpack that I don't want. And yes there are quite a few things like that! When we packed up our house 7 years ago there were many things that we boxed up to save. Yesterday I started to unpack some of those boxes. Wedding crystal and glassware galore was discovered. I never used that stuff before we moved to Turkey. I can't even imagine using it now! All I could do was shake my head and put it in the china cabinet that was passed from my mom to my sister to me. The one I didn't think I needed. That china cabinet is over half-full of stuff I never used. I was looking forward to being back and not having so much junk. Well I've unpacked boxes of junk. And really none of it is junk. It is nice stuff. I just don't know that I will use it. I guess I could use it anytime and not worry that it is china and crystal and the like. I guess I could take a crystal platter to my next potluck at church. Maybe I will. I had already decided that if I didn't use it I wasn't going to keep it. I wonder at the opulence of some of it all. Those feelings I will just have to wade through.

And now for a stateside conversation.

Uncle John: Jacob, can you go out to my car and get the dog kennel and bring it to the utility room?
Jacob: blank stare. blink, blink.
Natalie: Jacob, go get the dog cage and put it in the laundry room.
Jacob: ok

I love the looks on my kids' faces when people in America use words they should know but don't. So funny to me!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Welcome to Texas

Yes...you are at the Dixon's blog! A friend of mine was bored one day and messed around with my site. She gave me a fresh look for our move back to Texas. I was so excited to see something new here! She did such a fabulous job! Thanks, Pal!

Our time in Turkey has come to an end for the time being. We aren't sure what God has in store for us next, but we are super excited to see. Thanks to everyone for all the well wishes, calls, cards, emails, and hugs. Church on Sunday was bittersweet. So many good friends and memories there.

I also want to say thanks to all those who encouraged me after the comments on the blog post about my cats. With all the stuff I had going on already those comments really just crushed my spirits. That shocked me. I had no idea that I would react the way I did. I know that anonymous and Wondering Woman were just concerned about the cats and didn't mean to add to my stresses, and I do want to reassure them that we are doing everything we can to find a good home for the cats. Thanks for your concern.

Hopefully I will be back here soon with an update from the States!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Blast from the Past - Part 2

Ok. I know I said I wasn't going to write another blog post before I left Turkey, but I got an email today that makes it necessary! Remember that blast from the past post I wrote back in July? The one that talked about Adam Levowitz and Tina Schwettman? Go on. Go back and check it out if you have forgotten...I can wait. Just make sure to come back and finish reading this post.


Back? Good.

So my email today said this...

Natalie, this is Tina Schwettmann! OK, so that goes a long way back. Adam found me on Facebook and told me about this post.

In the email I learned that her last name is actually SchwettmanN. I seemed to have forgotten that last N. I also learned that she moved after 8th grade as well so none of the three of us continued on to high school with our other junior high friends. To "meet" again after all these years is so funny to me! Ah...the joys and wonders of the internet!

Friday, November 21, 2008

an explanation

I know I said I wasn't going to write another blog post before I left, but after a couple of comments on my last post I feel compelled to explain something.  I read back over my last post and realize I made it sound like we would just abandon our cats if nobody wanted them.  That is not true at all.  We are not throwing our cats away.  I would never do that.  I have no desire to throw them out on the street and have them fend for themselves although that is what most Turks have said we should do.  Street cats are abundant here.  We have tried to find them a home.  Unfortunately most Turks do not like to have animals in their homes.  Almost all of the foreigners we know either don't have pets so that they don't offend the Turks they invite into their home or already own their own pets.  Turkey doesn't have animal shelters so that isn't an option.  We do have a back-up plan for our cats, which does not include them fending for themselves in any way.  I was just hoping to find them a permanent home with a loving family before we left.  I will issue a plea on Sunday at church.  I am hoping someone takes pity on them.  If nobody comes forward our vet said he would take them and try to find them a home.  I just didn't want it to be up in the air like that that's all.  I'm sorry if I offended anyone with the callous way I talked about our cats.  Part of me has shut off my feelings as I deal with leaving this place I have called home for almost 7 years now.  It is much easier for me to deal with that way.  So many emotions that I can't even begin to express.  I hope you can understand that.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


There are approximately 78 hours until I board the plane that will take me away from this place. I can't believe how much I still have to do before then. I have given away or sold many of my things. I have packed what I want to take back to America. The rest is still scattered all over my house. Brian will be left with quite a job on his hands I'm afraid. So much to clean up, pack up, and haul off. He also has to deal with our two cats. So far nobody wants them, and we are unable to take them back with us. I have no idea what will happen to them. While I like my cats just fine they were never like my babies. I do hope that someone will adopt them though. It is sad really.

I am going to let this be my last post from Turkey. I could write a long goodbye post, but there are way too many goodbyes to say and way too many feelings that I have not sorted through yet. Those things will come later I'm sure. I won't have internet initially when I get to the states so any posting I do will be done from my parents' house where I will be celebrating Thanksgiving or from Panera where I will be celebrating bagels. I do have a little bloggy surprise for you while I am away so stayed tuned for that!

Natalie Dixon, resident of Turkey, over and out.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Taste Test - Final Turkey Edition

I promised in a previous post that we would do one more taste test before we left Turkey. Today I deliver on that promise. This time I decided to do things a little differently though. This time I let the kids decide what they wanted to taste. We all went to our local grocery store with one thing in mind. Taste Test Shopping. The only rule I gave the kids was that it had to be semi-Turkish and it had to be something they had never tasted before. Brian and I also picked something for them to try as well. Drum roll please...

Anna Grace picked this exotic orange, carrot juice.

Down the hatch.

It really doesn't taste like carrots. It just seems like orange juice to me. Yucky orange juice.

Hm...this smells like paint.

Jacob drank his whole glass.

Erica had been absent for every other taste test so she was a little wary of this one.

For good reason it looks like. She was not a fan of the orange, carrot juice.

Jacob was a little sneaky in his choice. He picked a brownie with caramel in it. We have tried the chocolate and the cherry but had somehow missed the caramel flavor. Ok...I guess it counts.

Proud of himself.

Will isn't a fan of caramel at all so he wasn't a big fan of this brownie!

Erica was quite happy with Jacob's choice!

So was Anna Grace.

Erica chose beef pastirma. Basically greasy dried beef.

It kinda tastes like beef jerky.

Yeah, but it's not as good as beef jerky!

No. I don't like it.

Jacob thought it was ok.

I chose celery root. Come on...someone had to pick something gross!

And gross it was.

Anna Grace agreed.

Erica said it tasted like celery, but it wasn't as good.

Jacob chewed but didn't swallow. It was too much for him.

Brian chose hurma. This is a fruit that looks and feels like a tomato.

Slimy, sweet, nastiness. It would take some getting used to.

That is disgusting.

As soon as Anna Grace put it in her mouth she immediately turned and spit it in the trash.

Jacob swallowed this time, but you can tell he didn't like it either.

Erica agreed that it was gross!

Finally we have Will's choice. Pomegranate iced tea.

And the glass is drained. I did notice that the glass made Will's teeth look remarkably huge and razor like. Nice.

Again...anything to get that nasty hurma taste out of her mouth!

Yes, this is good!

Can I have some more?

Since I was shooting the pictures none were taken of me trying the different items. That was fine with me! Because I know people care and will want to know here are my opinions...
Orange, carrot juice...not a big fan. First and last taste was carrot.
Beef Pastirma - I didn't try it this time. I have tasted it before and didn't enjoy the coating of grease left in my mouth after I swallowed.
Caramel brownie - ok. I love caramel and brownies, but I prefer the homemade kind to the store bought ones.
Celery root - very strong celery smell and flavor. Would be good in something that called for celery seed or regular celery. Not great eaten raw!
Hurma - slimy and honey like in flavor. I didn't think it was as bad as everyone else. I still wouldn't want more though.
Pomegranate iced tea - ok, but I am not a big fan of flavored iced teas.

And there you have it folks. I can't wait to see what fun new foods we can try in America!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What we've been doing...

One more week until we leave for the states. This week we've spent the majority of the time packing stuff we want to take to the states, preparing stuff for our give-away/sale, and prepping stuff to go into storage here in Turkey.



(Notice my poor neglected tree in the background. It looked so much better in the before pictures! I have been so busy lately that I've managed to almost kill all of my plants. I did have a kind soul take pity on the smaller ones and adopt them. She may end up getting that one as well!)

I took those last pictures of our salon before I hauled in all the stuff we were giving away. I should have waited. By the time I got it all in there it looked way worse!

There's still a lot left to do in the next week. Feel sorry for me, please. Thankfully I won't be here to take pictures of the after. I don't know if I could handle seeing an empty room!

Friday, November 14, 2008


That's how many more days we have here. It's also how many suitcases are packed. We only get 11, and at this point we have way more than 11 suitcases worth of stuff. It looks as though we will be paying for some extra luggage. I can't decide if I should pay the extra luggage fee or just buy new stuff. I hate to have to shop for stuff again. I am not a big fan of shopping in general so that is one argument for bringing what we have here. I also don't like the thought of bringing more luggage. And since I am indecisive I will probably wait a few more days before I do anything one way or another.

Yesterday we hosted a give-away/garage sale in our apartment. It is an ongoing thing so anyone who didn't get to come yesterday please come by anytime. We still have a lot left! Oh, you might want to call first to make sure we are home. Of course it helps if you live in Ankara. All you people who reside in other parts of the world are welcome to drop by as well. Just don't expect much in the way of hospitality from me!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Jacob funny

The goodbyes have officially begun. Well I guess they began the week we went to Cappadocia. While we were there we said goodbye to some friends who live there. Then yesterday Abby and Nat came from out of town to spend the night with us and say goodbye. Last night after dinner Abby, Jacob, and I were standing in the kitchen. Abby was looking in one of the cupboards to see if there was anything she wanted to buy from us. This is the conversation that took place.

Abby: Did you add a shelf in this cupboard?
Natalie: No. All those shelves were there before.
Abby: Well, it looks different. Are you sure you didn't do anything to it?
Natalie: Yep. Nothing is new or different.
Jacob: You just haven't been here in a long time. You have forgotten a lot.
Abby: I know. I guess you're right, Jacob.
Jacob: Um...it's Josh.

Totally cracked us up. Funny boy!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I keep thinking about this blog and how I should update it. We have so much going on but none of it is blog worthy. I guess I will give you a bullet point update.

~ The movers came and packed up the stuff we are sending back to the states. Mostly some books, Turkish items, photo albums, and glassware. We decided that none of those things needed to be put in storage.

~ Because we are getting rid of our apartment we have gone through what was left and packed some things for storage, some things for giving away, and some things to take back with us. This will be an ongoing process over the next 19 days.

~ laundry, cooking, cleaning.

See. Really nothing exciting to report. I am hoping to do one last Turkish food review before we leave here. I might take the kids to the store with me to pick out a few things. That might make it extra interesting!


Sunday, November 02, 2008

22 more days

It is November 2nd. I can't believe it. This is the month when so much happens...the month I have been anticipating forever it seems. I say anticipate, but I also mean dread. I am looking forward to going back to the states for sure, but I can't imagine leaving here either. I remember feeling that same way last time we went to the states for an extended stay. I wrote about how we were excited, scared, and sad all at the same time. I feel those same feelings again. This time though I have much to do to prepare. This time things are different. Last time we went to the states we chose to keep our apartment in Turkey. We had friends stay there for us. This time we have decided to give up our apartment and store our furniture. I have lived in this apartment for the last 6 1/2 years...the longest I have ever lived in one place in my life. Anna Grace, Jacob, and Will have all lived here for over half their lives. It is hard to give it up. I just know that it is the right thing to do for our family at this time. In the states we will be living in a place that is new to our family. Last time we lived in a house that had been in the family for several years. Things will be different this time. And while that scares me some it also excites me. I love a good adventure. I feel like this will be an adventure of a lifetime. We'll see.

And whenever I feel sad about leaving here I just remind myself of all the things I am looking forward to in America. Cheddar cheese, Mexican food, seafood, a neighborhood where we can ride bikes, a backyard, driving a car, Target, shoe shopping, grocery shopping (I know...but believe me it is great compared to grocery shopping here.), central air and heat, my family, and friends. There are so many great things about Turkey that I will miss. To read about a few of the things I was going to miss last time you can look here and here.