Greetings! A fresh blog with no words written yet is just like a new journal. Somehow I feel the words should be momentous and memorable. And so, I am tempted to put off writing until it seems the words are perfect. But if there is one thing I have learned after walking this beautiful earth, it is that perfection isn’t attainable. So I’ll settle for good enough and start writing.
My family is a family of four adults choosing to live together. We started out as two: young, impulsive, wanting a life together, wanting adventure, wanting children. So we started with a marriage, a move or two (Indiana, Texas, Ohio). Then we added two children in pretty quick succession.
Our children (Michael and Hannah) are as different as night and day. They always have been. Michael was born observing the world, seeing too much, hearing too much, finding patterns (and comfort in the patterns), inquisitive, and sensitive. Hannah was born watching the world, telling the world exactly what her feelings were, performing, guarding the defenseless, creative, and playful. Like I said Night and Day!
Kelly and I were still young, impulsive, and wanting adventure. So when, in a fit of emotional upheaval, I announced a desire to move . . . and to move far away, Kelly signed up an “accompanied, overseas, extended, tour of duty. Several weeks later the paperwork came in and we found out we were headed to Germany.
Germany . . . land of beauty, a new language (after 7 years learning it in high school and as my college major), a new start, and an adventure. Germany was an amazing place to live with small kids. It is clean. The water is clean. The public restrooms are clean. The air is clean. The people are clean. We arrived with three large suitcases and four backpacks. Each weekend we used the backpacks as we got out there, meeting people, seeing the sights, eating local food, and generally acting as if we were on an extended vacation.
Germany . . . also the land of base closures. We knew when we arrived that our time there would be relatively short. Pretty soon, too soon, we were looking at a list of bases we could choose from. We could stay in Germany, come back to America, Kelly could go to Korea alone, or Turkey.
Turkey . . . land of beauty, a new and much different language, another new start, and an even bigger adventure. The adventure started immediately: Kelly was being sent to Italy for training. The kids and I were going to be there alone . . . right away. In many respects, Turkey could not have been more different than Germany. And I fell head over heels in love with it. We were in far eastern Turkey, so all that stuff you know about Istanbul–none of it applies to where we were.
Turkey . .. dirt, sand, sandstorms, no rain (except during the rainy season and then boy does it rain), intermittent water outages (and then lovely “Water Buffalo” trucks that bring water to the neighborhood), intermittent power outages, and marble floors laid straight on the dirt. But the people and the food . . . it just doesn’t get any better.
The first person I met in Turkey was Çemile. She was young (17, maybe) and she was Turkish. We met as I was struggling to figure out how many Turkish coins to insert in a pay phone in the hotel lobby, while talking on the phone arranging permanent housing (as opposed to the hotel we were currently living in), and trying to keep two young, energetic, and hungry kiddos quiet and happy. Salvation appeared in the form of a lovely, slender, young lady, who picked up Hannah, motioned for Michael to follow, and led them to clear spot on the floor where she began to talk to them and play. She looked up hesitantly and I beamed my biggest smile ever. We were fast friends and we hadn’t spoken a word.