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    Ice Skating Field Trip

    I have really enjoyed teaching my sixth grade students this year. My class is hard working and full of energy. A few weeks ago, we went on a field trip to Lozanpark Buz Pisti (Lozanpark Ice Rink).

    Now, ice skating is something fairly common to a Michigander like myself. However, some of my kids are from countries with a warm climate and several had never even seen an ice skating rink before.


    Falling down


    Prior to the field trip, we took an in depth look at ice skating from a scientific perspective. I introduced Newton’s laws of motion and we discussed how these related to ice skating. We also watched a National Geographic I Didn’t Know That video that discussed the possible reasons why ice skating works. The kids were excited and talkative on the bus ride to the rink.


    Ice skating in the rink



    We had forty minutes of skate time. I was impressed. Everyone attempted to skate and the students were so good at helping each other. We had lots of fun falling down, getting back up, and sliding around the ice. At the end of the forty minutes, we were all worn out.


    Group shot


    Silly group shot


    After taking off our skates and an intense game of tabletop foosball, we headed to a local mall for lunch.


    Conquered skating!


    I was so impressed by the way the students conducted themselves. They followed directions, got along with one another, and were smiling and laughing throughout the entire trip.


    Ready to skate


    It was refreshing to spend time with my students outside of the formal classroom setting. I enjoy my time in the classroom, but events like these give me a chance to connect with my students in a more personal way. It’s often easy to get distracted by the regimented schedule. I forget how important it is to show my students I enjoy having fun just like them. While I still maintained the position of teacher, I had a blast goofing off on the ice and laughing with my students when we ran into each other or fell down.


    Massage chairs



    Our New Apartment

    Due to unforeseen circumstances, David and I had to move out of our previous apartment in June before summer vacation. Two of our friends left last year and we got their apartment. All of the buildings in our area were built similarly. However, our new place is a lot nicer of an apartment and we’re loving it. (Especially the view!)

    We rent our furniture from our employer. We inherited a few new rugs and furniture pieces from some of our friends.

    I found a metal “B” for $2 over the summer, brought it back to Turkey, and covered it with twine for some front door decor:


    Front door decoration


    Here’s the entry foyer area:


    Foyer area




    I made this wood pallet art last year. The pipes made hanging it a lot easier this year:


    Wood pallet art


    Here’s the kitchen. The shorter counter by the window is a great height, but the rest of the counters and cabinets were made for giants. It’s kitchen Olympics every time I cook. I can barely reach the lowest cabinet shelf without the step stool.






    Kitchen counter


    The balcony is right off the kitchen. Some pigeons welcomed us when we first moved in, but we quickly vacated them.




    This is the hallway to the bedrooms:




    First door on the left is the spare bathroom. No squatty potty this year! This is our cleaning supplies storage closet.


    Spare bathroom


    The second door on the left is the full bathroom. We don’t have to put the drain hose in the shower any more when we do laundry! It’s amazing! This bathroom is all fancy with fancy tile and gold accents. We like it a lot better:




    Our bedroom is on the right. I plan to add some decorations to the walls sometime soon:


    Master bedroom


    Master bedroom


    Master bedroom


    Also on the right is our guest bedroom. It’s pretty sad looking, especially since I haven’t put any linens on the bed yet. It has a small porch behind the curtain:




    The room at the end of the hall is our “dolap” room. (Dolap is a Turkish word for any kind of cabinet.) We couldn’t get the chair to fit in the living room, so we put it in here. This was originally supposed to be the guest bedroom since it’s larger, but it’s where the movers put the dolap. It ended up working out better this way, I think. We hang our laundry to dry in this room.


    Dolop room


    Dolop room


    The living room and dining areas are off of the foyer. It’s amazing what a difference crown molding makes! (PS. See my peace lilly on the right? I didn’t kill it over the summer! I cut the dead shoots away and it’s growing again!)


    Living room and dining room


    The art on the wall by the table was a print we purchased in Bruges. We got the frame from Ikea. It ended up matching our light fixtures:


    Dining area


    Living room area


    This couch is amazing. We rarely have the footrest put away:


    Pull out couch footrest


    Our cabinets, TV stand, and buffet are all against one wall now:


    Living room wall


    So that’s the new place! Home sweet home.


    A Lovely View

    When we first got back to Turkey, we posted a photo of the view from our new apartment. Since then, we’ve taken a few more shots!

    We live on the top floor of our building and love watching the sunrises, sunsets, and everything in between!


    Ankara Sunset


    Ankara Sunset


    David took this one with a zoom lens… it’s of the Kocatepe Mosque in Kızılayı:


    Kocatepe Mosque at night


    Ankara Moon


    Ankara Sunrise


    We’ve seen sunshine:


    Sunrays in Ankara


    And rainclouds (rarely):


    Ankara rain clouds


    Ankara lights


    It’s been warm and we keep our bedroom window open at night. The sunrise usually wakes us up if our alarms don’t go off first. It’s hard to be grumpy in the morning when you wake up to this:


    Ankara sunrise


    It’s been cool to see the mountains. We don’t typically notice them when we’re on ground level:


    Sun setting behind mountains


    Hello from the top!


    Back in Turkey!

    We made it safely back to Turkey! We had no plane delays, made all of our connections, all of our baggage followed us, and all of our furniture made the move to our new place. We have much to be thankful for!

    We’ve spent the last day and a half putting our apartment together and starting on our classrooms. In service starts tomorrow. We’re looking forward to meeting the new teachers and preparing for the school year ahead!

    We’re loving our new place. We’ll share some photos once we finish decorating. Until then, take a look at our view:


    Ankara at night


    Neighborhood Noise

    There have been many protests happening in Turkey the past couple of days. You might have heard about them in the news.

    It’s been an interesting time in Ankara. Most of the activity is happening in the downtown regions, which we’ve been avoiding. There has been some commotion in our neighborhood, though. (We feel safe – the protests are not targeting foreigners.)


    Car protest line


    David took a couple videos last night:




    Please keep the country of Turkey in your prayers.



    Eating in Ankara: Certioğlu Konağı

    We went to Ulus today to pick up a few things before we travel home for the summer. We’ve heard about a great manti restaurant from several of the other teachers. We ran into some friends while we were there and they told us where to find it.

    Certioğlu Konağı Kafeterya was down a side street (on the left side) when you walk towards the Ankara castle.


    Certioğlu Konağı


    The restaurant had a warm, comfortable atmosphere. The man told us it was a “family” restaurant and we could either take off our shoes or put plastic footies over our shoes. We ate upstairs where they had floor seating and Anatolian-style copper tables.


    Lunch date in Ulus


    David ordered beef manti and I ordered potato manti. It was some of the best we’ve had! They made everything fresh in the restaurant. Manti is kind of like a ravioli. It is typically served with yogurt, oil, tomato, and herbs on top.


    Turkish manti


    For dessert, we had a honey and wanut gözleme with çay.

    After we paid our bill, we got to see  the cooks roll out gözleme dough and cook it on the hot, round stove.


    Making gözleme