A Road Trip: Part One

This past weekend Husband Jared, myself and the four Things decided to take a road trip.  We ventured to the town of Ayvalık, about 2 hours North of Urla.  A quaint town known for it's olives and olive oil.  The drive was uneventful, with exception of the occasional farmer passing.
This is a regular occurrence around these parts.  Whether carrying their produce to neighbors or their furniture to the next location this is how they travel. 
We arrived at our hotel destination for the night and the Things went for a swim and enjoyed the water slide.  For dinner we decided to venture onto the small island of Cunda, pronounced Junda.    It was once a Greek fishing village and it has retained the Greek architecture and culture.  Small cafes line the cobble stone streets,  an abandoned church sits in the center of town, and of course the market shops enticing passer bys.

We walked, took in all the sights and smells and stumbled across this interesting fish case.
Because what else would you have your fish do while they are waiting to be eaten? 
Enjoy some spirits of course!
The streets wound around and while we were walking in search of the church the Things became astutely aware of how narrow the cobblestone pathways were.
 
And just how different each and everyone was.  How everywhere you turned offered a feast for your eyes.
And then after climbing a small hill and rounding the corner we discovered the church. Standing, barely, with the sunlight shining on it and an archway remaining we took a look around.
 
The window glass was gone, bricks were missing and every way you turned there were supports to keep the structure from crumbling.  It was St. Nicholas' church, known by the locals as Taksiyarhis.  There are frescoes still inside dating back to the 19th century, most of which have been defaced.
After our explorations of the church and several antique shops we enjoyed dinner at a cafe and sat and people watched until the stars came out.
 

1925 Göztepe

Thing 4's Turkish football debut.
His team, 2002 Göztepe, had a match, Thing 4's first.  Can you spot him? They play 6 v.6 and it was intense.  They played an older team and lost 4-3.  If it weren't for an own goal scored early in the first half they would have tied.  If only.  Husband Jared and I have been nothing short of impressed with the trainers, staff and organization of this academy.  Göztepe actually has a second league team here in Turkey, trying to make it to Super Lig.  We plan on catching a few matches. 
Here is Thing 4 taking a free kick in the final minutes of the match. 
He almost scored, no kicking it into the wall for him! 
We are so proud of Thing 4 taking on this new challenge.  The language barrier does not seem to phase him.  He is thrilled to be on the pitch playing the game.  Go Thing 4!
 

Thankful Thursday #40

401. mom that will pick up your forgotten pants at the dry cleaner
 and send them to another country for you
402. football for all Things
403. windy evenings
404. coffee, coffee, coffee
405. chocolate chip cookies
406. pinkish sunsets
407. waves spilling over the wall
408. nerf guns
409. Pampered Chef timer
410. tiki torches

Today

Trees swaying in the wind, dancing to the rythym
Things swimming in the pool, gracefully, or not, gliding in the water
Sun beating in the windows causing my skin to glisten, I mean sweat
Eyes squinting at the brightness of the day unfolding
Dryer humming it's tune, washer shaking, working, cleaning
Vacuum waiting to be used, clean floors littered with popcorn kernels
Large tent, housing sleeping bags from sleep over and nerf guns
Footballs being kicked into a raggedy net
Blank pages waiting to be filled with placement essays
Tired eyes filling the house
Tap, tap, tap of the keyboard
The sounds of our house today

Some Stuff

In no particular order here is what has been happening around here. 

Girl Things had soccer, excuse me, football "tyouts", got stung by a centipede, drove to the beach on possibly the windiest day ever, Husband Jared flew, is flying, home, cleaned the entire house, had a camp out indoors, played yahtzee and registered for online classes for Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Just thought you might be curious.  And just in case you were worried, a more substantial post, will be coming soon.

Friday

That's it my friends.  Today is Friday, again.  Didn't I just blog about this?  Thought so. 
 Today I don't have much to say, only some photos to share.  Enjoy.  

Fig anyone?
I wonder how old this fig tree is?
Olives or pomegranates?  Not sure. 
 This tree was in the middle of the restaurant we ate at earlier this week.
Small waves lapping on the rocks.  I love that sound.

Thankful Thursday #39


391. the feel of new books in my hands
392. discovery of cilantro at the market
393. forgiveness
394. windy days on the beach
395. snail shells
396. girl Things' adventure across the sea
397. Thing 4 graduating to a bigger sail
398. encouraging words
399. chocolate syrup
400. my nieces

What Weekends Are For

This past weekend was filled with plenty of activities around the Hanson household.  To begin with Husband Jared returned home from Ankara.  Saturday morning was spent doing household chores and then that evening Husband Jared and I went to our first Turkish Super Lig football game; BUCA v.BEŞİKTAŞ
Take a look at this.  Yes, those are flares being lit in the stands.  The fans are intense and committed to their teams.  We learned new chants for BEŞİKTAŞ and were fascinated with the differences in Turkish football.   

Sunday was a "home" day.  This is what we did.  Played in the pool, danced around the pool and played some more.

.

And for Monday, which was part of our weekend, we spent the day picking up our finalized residency permits, driving to Fun Beach and then on to Alacati for dinner and walking.  Fun Beach has inflatables in the water to play on.  It also has these "floating" cabanas in the water.  Beautiful, quiet and fun, another new adventure.
Oh, lest I forget, we also had an indoor campout, bubble baths in our bathing suits and lots more fun!

Hope your weekend was good one!

Things' Debut

Alright folks, you've waited, you've been patient and now your wait has ended. We have video of the Things windsurfing. I take full responsibility for the quality of this video, well at least the shaky, fuzzy parts. Husband Jared has been editing my mistakes and compiling the best clips of the Things' showcase.
And now without further ado, we bring you windsurfing by the Things live from Türkiye.
(well not really live, but you know what I mean)

http://www.vimeo.com/14156269

Let me know what y'all think of this video feature and if it works we can add more.  If not, well, please tell somebody else. 

Oh Alaçatı, how I love thee

Really I do.  The Things and I discovered the quaint and quite charming town of Alaçatı.  I am in love.  Our friend disclosed the location of these shop lined streets a few days ago and the Things and I felt compelled to make another stop this afternoon on our way home. 

We saw walls covered in beautiful, green winding vines.  Streets with hanging gourds and cafe tables inviting you to sit for a spell and drink a cup of Çay. 
And walls with these lights on every corner.  Couldn't you just spend a day getting lost here?  I know I could.  All too easily.
We plan on it.  Quite soon I hope.  Husband Jared has yet to see this place. 
Today, since it felt like a million degrees here the Things also ate some of this while in Alaçatı.


This definitely helped cool them off.  And while they were eating I was able to snap some more photos of my new favorite place.

Nothin' Special

It is Friday, again.  Funny thing, happens every week just like the previous.  Yesterday was Thursday and our windsurfing lesson was cancelled due to the lack of wind.  Guess that is a necessity for W-I-N-D surfing.  The Things were mildly dissappointed and spent the next few hours of the afternoon complaining and whining and not being very nice. 

Today, however, is a new day.  Thankfully His mercies are new everyday and we can begin afresh on this Friday.  I did not respond well to their moods yesterday and I spent the evening thinking about why.  Why I couldn't just laugh it off, distract them or provide another activity for them.  The days like Thursday are not my favorite.  You know those days when you feel like nothing special is happening.  I just didn't vibe well with the Things, I wasn't the best Mom  I could be.  They weren't the best Things they could be.  We didn't shine. 

That being said, the day ended well.  The Things and I laid out on our lounge chairs and star gazed.  It was rather impromptu and so fun.  We all tried to determine if the blinking lights were stars or planes or satellites or planets.  It might be time for an astronomy lesson.  They asked questions this Mom could never dream of answering.  We were able to spot the big dipper and Thing 4 and Thing 2 saw shooting stars.  And then all at once we decided we were tired and it was time for bed.  That was the end to our day and the beginning of the anticipation for another day of wind surfing and somethin' special.

Thankful Thursday #38



381. windsurfing lessons
382. shell searching
383. proud Things sharing accomplishments
384. getting to witness Things learning
385. soft sand between my toes
386. Husband Jared holding my hand
387. peanut butter brownies
388. dreams
389. sunrises over the mountain 
390. family dinner

Windsurfing 101

This is how it began.  Well the windsurfing lesson that is.  The day actually began with the klimas going out once again, packing the cooler and towels and clothes, etc.  in the new vehicle and heading to Alacati.  Windsurfing capital of the world.  World people, that's right I said world!  In fact, the World Championships for windsurfing, sponsored by Pegasus Airlines, is taking place this very week right next to where the Things are taking lessons.

All 4 of the Things were scheduled for a week's worth of instructions.  Two hours everyday, beginning Monday and ending Friday.  In the above photo they are standing with friends who are taking the lessons with them and the two instructors. 

They were taught all about the equipment they would be using.  Names, it's function and how to handle it.  Then they were shown how to connect their sail to the board.  They were separated into two groups, the three girl Things and then Thing 4 with our friends.  And finally into the water. 
Here is Thing 2 learning how to balance herself on the board.
Thing 1, not so sure about how this is going to work out.
Thing 3 standing and starting to head out into the wind.
Thing 4 learning how to pick up his sail once he is on his board.  The instructor is standing on the other side of the sail helping.

The Things learned the basics.  By the end of the two hours they were on their own battling with the wind.  Husband Jared and I were impressed.  They were brave and excited and ready for more! 

There might be something to this windsurfing, for the remainder of the afternoon they were exhausted and worn out.  Not to mention starving.  The energy reserves were burned and I couldn't keep the food coming fast enough. 

It was so entertaining hearing their stories about taking nose dives off the board, avoiding oncoming surfers and then Thing 1 apologizing to Thing 3 for nearly taking her out.  Literally.  Her sail swung around and knocked Thing 3 in the back of the head.  Ouch.  Thankfully we have tough Things.  They laughed it off, since there was no blood that is.  

More to come this week.  And, if I can figure out how, I will post some video action of the Things.  

Sunday Thoughts

Some things I have learned while living abroad;
I am spoiled.  Really.
Just because it should be one way does not mean it will be.
If you are nice people will usually be nice to you.
A smile goes a long way...sometimes.
I am responsible for finding what I need.
Life is different here.

All that to say that I have had some revelations and insights as to who I am amidst all this change.  Some if it aint too pretty.  Let's just be real here.  Some isn't too bad.  And since I don't mind patting myself on the back every now and again there have been things I have done well. 

Here's the catch though.  I really haven't done any of it on my own.  None of it.  I am utterly dependent on a being far greater than I.  Thankfully.  I couldn't do it by myself.  Everyday brings new challenges causing me to lean further into Him.  Although, because I am a mere human, when those situations arise I do find myself trying to figure it all out.  Attempting to understand the "why's" and such.  Not my job.  My character is being shaped.  Molded.  And here's the prayer, that when this season is complete that I will be better in Him. 

Thankful Thursday #37


(photo taken drive -by style on our way home from Kusadasi -
it is of the ampitheatre from the ancient city of Ephesus - in the distance hill, small airport runway in foreground)
Today, August 5th, I am thankful for;
371. rare cloudy days
372. happy accidents
373. learning something new
374. communicating in Turkish
375. late night chatter from sleep overs
376. tired Things
377. celebratory dinners
378. new recipes
379. generous friends
380. peanut butter

A Happy Accident

I am sure that when some of you read the title for this post you may assume that this is another pregnancy announcement.  Let me reassure you all that it is absolutely NOT.  The six of us experienced a day yesterday that was filled with happy accidents.  Detours that lead us to unexpected and unplanned places. 

To begin the anniversary day with the Things, Thing 2 and Thing 3 rose early and decided to make Husband Jared and I breakfast.  Only to find that the ingredients are measured in grams and such and all our recipes are in the standard measure.  Ugh.  They were not discouraged though.  Husband Jared helped them with the conversions and they were on their way.  Maple walnut scones, juice and scrambled eggs. 
Rock stars in the kitchen!
After breakfast we had decided to make the trek to Kusadasi.  Another coastal town just south from us.  We had done research and were planning on visiting a Genoese castle on an island known as "pigeon island".  Kusadasi translated is bird island.  Apparently pirates once inhabited the island, even one so infamous as Barbarossa.  We thought the Things would be intrigued.  Anyhow, suffice to say we never made it to bird island or any other island for that matter.  Where we did end up was at the Zeus Magarasi.  An underground cave with a pool.  Supposedly icy cool water in summer and warm in winter, and a popular swimming hole for the locals.  That, however, did not deter the Things.  At least Things 2, 3 and 4.  Thing 1 dipped her toes in and decided it was much too cold for her liking. 
A happy accident. 

From there we debated on driving through the National Park we had stumbled upon or heading back to search for the island.  We decided on the island and lunch. 

Driving back towards the beach clubs and Kusadasi Proper we passed peach and citrus groves and several water front neighborhoods.  Beautiful sights.  By now the Things were ready for the surf and sand.  They were pleading with Husband Jared to find a beach already.  And he did.  Another happy accident.  After driving through, around and down some narrow, steep roads we found a beach club.  One that was even mentioned in our travel guides.  While it was crowded it was still the beach.  The Things immediately said, "this reminds us of California". It did bare some resemblance.  Remove the blue striped umbrellas and welcoming padded lounge chairs and sure it might have been Cali.  Oh wait, the water is clear and warm and the waves, not quite as large. 
Next, we found an Irish cafe.  Another happy accident.  Yes, you read that correctly, an Irish cafe, and stopped in for lunch.  Our waiter spoke English and informed us that all the pork products were shipped in directly from Ireland, and that their clientele was 95% Irish.  Who knew?  We did our best to savor each and every bite.  It really was delicious.  The Things immediately decided that we would be visiting here again. 
The Things begged Husband Jared and I to do some swimming with them so we ventured on to the crowded sand.  We jumped the waves, swam and were overcome with saltiness.  So fun!  By the end of the day we were ready for icecream and the drive home.  A magnum chocolate bar on the sidewalk was the perfect ending to a day filled with happy accidents.   

Anniversary Post, Year 13

Just the two of us
Happy Anniversary Husband Jared.
For all the memories, thank you.  For all the love you have given, especially when undeserved, thank you.  For the example you are for our Things, thank you.  For leading our family.  For showing me what grace looks like, thank you.  For having fun.  For saying yes, all those years ago.  For living an abundant life with me, thank you.  For being brave.  For the adventure, thank you.  For being able to see past and through and after all the mistakes we've made, together.  For your commitment.  For your laughter.  For just being you. 
I love you.  Here's to forever more.