The family loaded in the van and headed to LP field to watch the Things run. We had the cooler packed and us along with thousands of other parents, grandparents and friends, cheered the runners on as they crossed the finish line.
Posted in family trip
Posted in travels
Posted in travels
Thing 1 has not wanted to SKYPE with us. She will casually walk past the computer screen when we are chatting with the others but she will not put the headphones and speak to us. I have missed her voice so last night Nani tore her away from distractions and she sat and talked to us. Well, she really didn't talk so much as just answer the questions that we asked. One word answers. Except for the "I don't remember" she gave us when we asked how she scored her goal in her game on Sunday. Really? Oh to be 13 again.
Things 2, 3 and 4 have been quite conversational and very interested in all that is happening here. After our house hunting adventure Thing 4 said, "Just make sure I can see the ocean and it has a pool". Why yes Prince William, your wish is my desire. Things 2 and 3 were concerned about my clothing situation and needed to approve my purchases. I had to be a model mom and do turns for them so they could see my outfits and offer their fashion advice.
Oh how I miss them. I simply can not wait to squeeze them and kiss their sweet little cheeks.
And lest I forget, my luggage arrived safely late last night after it enjoyed a nice vacation in Amsterdam.
Hopefully today will bring adventures in Istanbul and tomorrow will bring trouble free travels back to the states.
Posted in travels
I must say the Best Buy team here has been nothing short of wonderful. Husband Jared and I met "the team" for dinner last night at a traditional Turkish restaurant. A restaurant that began as what we Americans would call a "lunch truck". It is now a well established, incredible eatery. I only wish I would have taken photographs of the amazing display of food that was presented. Oh my, a foodies dream.
Waiting on the table when we arrived was a flower arrangement that took me by surprise. Thinking the restaurant had arranged it for the "Best Buy" people I nearly fell over when I was presented with a display of day lillies with lemon leaf and babys breath. All were concerned about my rough start on my first visit here. The flowers are simply stunning and the gesture so genuine.
After meeting all these people and being able to place faces with names I have only heard of I began to fell at ease. I must admit to having a case of nerves before the dinner. First impressions are important. I tried. We laughed and all the anxiousness began to melt away. Well somewhat. Introductions to the food, the style, the expectation of Turkish meals not to mention enlightening insights to each and every person sitting at the table was a treat. Each member bringing some unique talent and personality to the team.
What an honor. I am filled with respect and touched at the grand welcome I received last night. I look forward to returning the hospitality once we are settled in our new home.
Posted in travels
The first two days of this journey were fully scheduled. Meet with the administrators of the International school, meet our relocation agent and tour all the homes available for lease in Izmir and the surrounding areas. Well, the school appointment had to be rescheduled due to the luggage situation and there are not an abundance of available houses in Izmir. No worries though there was plenty to take in and see.
On Friday and Saturday we headed out with our English speaking relocation agent. What a welcome relief that was. We drove into the country side. Citrus, olive and fig groves surrounded the area and local produce stands littered the streets. Let me take a moment to describe the streets to you. Some were paved, others not. Some were wide enough for a single car to pass through yet two or three attempted the way almost always. Horn honking is a language unto itself. That should be a course for drivers ed here. Not sure they even have those classes.
The homes are different. Most are in compounds. Which are similar to gated communities in the states. Those that are not in a compound and are considered "private" still have heavily fenced yards, most with barbed wire and sliding steel doors and gates that surround the home. Washers and dryers are not the norm around here. Clothes lines hanging around the yards are common. Some homes have air conditioners, others don't. Some have floor heating and their own wells. Others don't. Each house is unique. We visited one home with full maids quarters, including its own kitchen with a "caddy" that sent the food up to the main kitchen where the family would be. Bizarre. No thank you.
And then we drove along the coast and into what once was a hillside olive grove. Hence the name Olive Park. There was a Dutch architecture company that partnered with a Turkish company and built 30 homes, all of different design in this compound. Most had their own pools and there was a recreation center within that contained tennis courts, basketball and football courts and even mini golf. It was beautiful. It was quiet. It is only 30 minutes from Cesme, the beach city. The house itself felt like home, if anything could this came the closest. It wasn't extravagant or showy. Simple design and enough space for four Things and their Dad and Mom. This might be the one.
While that was the one that caught our attention there were others on Saturday that were equally intriguing. One with its own orange groves and garden. The owner called it a garden but it was far from it. I would be afraid of losing the Things. There were rows and rows of citrus and jasmine trees. The fragrance intoxicating. And while I found myself loving the thought of living outdoors there the inside house was not as appealing. At least not for me. There again was an indoor pool and maids quarters and formal living space that just doesn't suit our lifestyle. But the garden, oh how I loved that garden. And it was only minutes from the water. Not a swimming or beach area but the water nonetheless.
So now for decision making. And yes I will have photos to share soon I just don't have the capability to do so while here in Turkey. I will when I return to the states.
My descriptions do no justice for the breathtaking views and the tantalizing sea that have captured my heart and continue to beckon me to call this place home.
Posted in travels
It is day 5 now with no suitcase. None of my own clothes. No hair products. No undergarments. No travel journal. No devotional. No running shoes. No work-out clothes. None of this in a foreign land where English speakers are few and far between. No small comforts from my home land. Dramatic enough for you, shall I continue? I really should stop. Really.
Yet another observation made by this outsider. And this for some reason really throws me for a loop. When you are ordering at a restaurant there is no lingering over the menu. When the waiter approaches the table you must be ready with drink, appetizer and main course order. Dessert is the only exception. Although if you sit back from your plate for even a moment it is gone. And if you did not become a member of the "clean plate club" at a meal you are asked if the food was to your liking or if something was wrong.
Not to mention the lack of personal space and manners. Don't misunderstand. The people here are beautiful. Generous and loving. There is no lack of P.D.A.(public display of affection) around these parts. Which actually is refreshing. They love children. Their laughter instantly brings smiles to faces. Even when they are running circles in a restaurant and driving their toy cars all over the guests' seats. No one seems to mind. I so appreciate that. I am soaking this in. Learning a new culture and finding new reasons everyday to learn the language. Acclamation is important.
I so love people, in fact fascinated by them. Enthralled with our differences, the similarities and all the life in between that makes us who we are. For me that may be the most challenging aspect of being here. When I am in a new place I want to hear people's stories. Know about their families. Where they live, who they are, make a connection with them, laugh with them. I have not been able to do that here. Well, with the exception of a waiter at a cafe where we watched the Man Utd. game on Saturday. We spoke football and no not the American sport. That was fun.
I will not give up. Husband Jared and I have braved Turkish shopping malls, wild taxi rides and even the Kipa together all in an effort to enjoy the journey. Kipa is the local hyper market out here. To clarify, the Hyper market is on the same scale as a Super Target. Except not. It was unnerving to walk into this store where I could not understand the labels or even ask for help. Jared and I searched the aisles for all the girly things I would need since my toiletries were M.I.A. Not only did I buy sampuan and kremi but also undergarments, in a grocery store. It totally went against my senses. I survived. And when I feel like crying about it I grab a healthy dose of perspective and smile. Or at least try.
Posted in travels
It all started with a tearful goodbye to the Things. What should have been an uneventful hug and kiss turned into squeezes and air kisses all the way to the crosswalk with the other Moms no doubt thinking that our routine was a bit too dramatic for a regular Wednesday morning. On to the airport. The flight from Nashville to Minnesota was easy in comparison. Other than the small plane and an apprehensive traveler to my right, however she was quite delightful and a writer no less. I enjoyed her company and the little wink that God sent to me on that plane.
After a four hour layover before my flight to Amsterdam I made use of my time enjoying lunch and a beer and purchasing some magazines. Mindless reading for the weary traveler. And no not People, Food and Wine and Runners mag, if you must know. I'm not knockin' People here either. Anyhow, after boarding the rather large aircraft for Amsterdam and the 10 hour flight that lay ahead of me I was overcome with anxiety. And just the way things work a sweet gentleman was sitting next to me. Eager to hear of my story and why in the world Best Buy would be relocating a family to Turkey I heard all about his family and his story. Everyone has a story. He had traveled the world and was quite the storyteller. Yet another wink from God. We sat on the runway for over an hour before departing. Seems as though the pilots were new and had not been trained completely on Delta's systems. No worries there.
Ok, let me just pause here a moment and ask y'all a question. How do those people, you know the ones I am talking about here, score a whole row of seats to themselves? In the middle of the plane? Sprawled out, sleeping with no care in the world, shoes off, blankets covering them and a load of pillows. Hello? No one asked me if I wanted to sleep, let alone stretch my legs. Enough complaining.
I digress. The flight was again smooth, yet long. And strangely enough I felt alright. That is until I realized the time in Amsterdam. My connecting flight to Istanbul left in less than 10 minutes. Boarding started 45 minutes ago when I was somewhere in the air, preparing for landing. I pushed past people on the plane, not my usual style and a challenge for me when no one understood my English. And then I ran through the airport in which there is not an abundance of screens shouting at you the gate and departure times. Spoiled much? Anyhow, I pass through security only to find that my seat has been given to another passenger. Pardon?! Oh and my luggage won't make it on the flight even if I do. Here I had to supress my inner Varuca. You know her, "I want a golden goose and I want it now", from Willy Wonka. Bad movie reference I know. I was her. I felt that whine began and then I stopped myself. Either I get on the plane and run into the arms of Husband Jared in Istanbul, or I wait, afraid and lonely in the airport. Not in Turkey. So, in my sweetest Leanna voice I asked if there was another seat and to the heck with my luggage. Not really. The luggage was scheduled for the next departing flight to Istanbul. So I boarded the plane and flew to Istanbul.
After a bumpy landing I was in Istanbul, Turkey. Not my final destination. With specific instructions on the Visa and customs line I again was thankful I had put my big girl panties on today. Without them who knows if I would have made it through all these grown up situations. I have never flown Internationally without Husband Jared at my side, able to navigate through the sea of unfamiliarity. I did it. And rather successfully I might add.
Husband Jared was waiting on the other side of baggage claim for me. Instant messaging me a thousand times it seemed asking me questions that I had no answers to. Where is your bag? Did they tell you when it would arrive? Will we be able to make our flight to Izmir? Is there a gate agent you can talk to? Uh, I DON'T KNOW. Yes, that was all I was ab le to say. Seems as though my big girl panties didn't make it through customs. And then, Husband Jared heard from his boss. Whom not only 2 days ago had to deal with lost luggage in Istanbul. He directed me to the correct office and we were able to problem solve together. Ok, not really together but at least via messaging on our phones.
A sweet agent named Arife guided me behind the screened desk and paperwork was assigned. After sharing all the needed information I was informed my luggage would be arriving the next day, Friday and they would send it through to the airport in Izmir. We would be able to catch our connecting flight and continue with our travels. I complimented Arife on her beautiful name and she told me it meant "Christmas Eve". She was an angel. She even marked my bag, URGENT. Can I get an Amen here? So, after yet another wink from God in a land unknown to me, I was feeling better. Kinda.
And then I saw Husband Jared. My man was a welcome sight in such a strange place. We boarded yet another plane together and landed safely, albeit abruptly in Izmir. My feet were grounded. Let the angels sing! On our short cab ride through the city and to our hotel I had my nose pressed to the window trying to take in all the sights and sounds of our soon to be new home. Overwhelmed would be the understatement of the year.
That my friends is all I have to say about that, for now. I am typing this post on Sunday morning in Izmir with a breathtaking view of the sea. Yet I still have no luggage. Seems there was a volcanic eruption in Iceland that halted all flights from Europe. I must remind my inner Varuca to be grateful that she was able to board the plane in Amsterdam when she did. Otherwise I might be writing this from some unknown "coffee shop" in Amsterdam. By myself.
Posted in TT #24
I think that my daily runs have become my tilling time. Time to think things through. Meditate if you will. Once I place those headphones in my ear and pick up my legs it begins. A flood of thoughts. A flood of emotions. And then sometimes just a clear head with nothing but pavement in front of me. That is refreshing. Tilling time.
Now, I don't know about having tilling time for 13.1 miles but you know what they say. Well actually I don't know and come to think of it I don't know who "they" are. Do you?
Posted in Holidays
Posted in baking
Posted in TT #23