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    Liberty University Alums in Ankara

    I don’t think I heard much about Turkey before we announced we were moving. David and I have been amazed at the connections our friends and family have to Turkey. My dad has a coworker from Turkey, a former coworker of mine had a Turkish roommate, my best friend’s cousin has a friend in college whose family lives in Turkey… the list goes on and on!

    A friend from our previous home in Lynchburg, Virginia let us know her friend and fellow Liberty University alumnus would be in Ankara for a basketball tournament. (David graduated from Liberty.) After school on Friday, we hopped in a taxi and took a short ride to Tobb Etu, a college in Ankara.

    The campus was pretty. We had a couple of wrong turns trying to find the “spor salonu” (gym). Several college students who spoke English helped us out. We found our seats a few minutes before the game started.


    Tobb Etu Ted Ankara


    Megan Frazee plays for the Samsun Basketbol team. The city of Samsun is about 250 miles northeast from where we live and is along the coast of the Black Sea. Samsun played Ted Ankara Kolejliler last night. The two teams were very competitive and the game was fast paced.


    Samsun Basketbol Team


    We cheered for Samsun. Megan was recovering from an injury and was not able to play. It was a close game, but Samsun lost.



    Afterwards, another game of the tournament started and Megan sat with us in the stands. It was such an encouragement to meet her and hear about her story and experiences. God has been doing so many cool things in her life and sports career!


    Meeting Liberty Alum Megan Frazee


    Megan has a great website and blog – please check it out!

    We hope the rest of the tournament goes well and will be praying for your quick recovery, Megan!


    Things To Smile About

    Sixty degree fall weather made a quick appearance last weekend! I’m hoping it decides to visit again soon and stay forever. Fall is my favorite season. The color on the trees, the cool weather that’s perfect for scarves and sweaters…

    I miss some things about fall we had in the states: pumpkin spice lattes, corn mazes, football games… But there are many things I am smiling about this fall in Turkey!

    Some color on the trees and vines (even though we’ve had mostly 80 degree weather!):


    Fall leaves in Ankara


    This candle.… Even if I can’t drink a pumpkin spice latte, our house can smell like one! (David got this for me when he was at the U.S. military base. He also got me a Rice Krispie Treat and Cheez-Its. He sure knows the ways to this girl’s heart.)


    Pumpkin Yankee Candle


    A sweet thank you card from the cutest little Asian kindergartener:


    A thank you card from a kindergartener


    The beautiful roses outside the entrance to the school:


    Roses outside the school


    The impressive work my Computer Graphic Design students are creating:


    Computer Graphic Design high school class projects


    Great deals at the mall… I got this cute necklace for 5 lira (less than $3 USD), originally 20 lira! I’m still a bargain shopper even in Turkey. This reminds me of my late grandma; she always liked owls:


    Own Necklace


    Evening walks with wonderful friends… I took this photo in Kizilay. Let’s pretend these are Christmas decoration lights:


    Nighttime in Kizilay, Turkey


    I have much to smile about here in my new home! To name a few more: worshipping with other believers in church on Sunday; diving deeper into the Word in the women’s Bible study I attend; hearing sweet, little voices greet us in the mornings at school; getting to know students more through extra curricular activities… the list goes on and on! God has truly blessed us here!


    Home Sweet Türkiye

    Welcome to our apartment tour! We live in an 11-story building in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Ankara.

    The picture below is our entryway. We usually pile our backpacks and shoes on the rug.




    Also part of our entryway is this dolop. Dolop is a Turkish word for any kind of closet or wardrobe. It’s nice to have a place to set our keys, hang up our coats, and store extra shoes.


    Entry dolop


    Connected to the entryway is the kitchen. We love the marble countertop! (There is a lot of marble used in the buildings in Turkey, especially on the outside.) The strangest thing about the kitchen is the cupboards. Giants must have built the kitchen (or very tall Turkish men who don’t ever work in the kitchen). I can reach the front of the bottom shelf, otherwise, I have to use a step stool. That was one of the top things on my shopping list after we first moved into the apartment! We have a gas stove, fridge, and microwave. You can see a blue water jug on the left hand side of the picture. We order water jugs for drinking water. It would be OK to use tap water, but excessive use over time can cause kidney stones. Across from the sink, there is access to a porch.


    Turkish Kitchen


    Next to the kitchen is the dining/living room. It was nice not to have to shop for furniture here in Turkey. Transportation can be a little complicated. As of now, we are renting comfortable furniture from the school. We have a good sized table with 8 chairs. There is also a china cabinet type thing. We’ve filled the drawers with office supplies and electronic cords.


    Dining room table and chairs


    Beyond the dining room table is the living room. This set is very comfortable. We don’t really use the loveseat or armchairs much, but we love the full sized couch.


    Living room


    Can you see why? Most couches in Turkey have this awesome pop up footrest. Super comfy!


    Living room and comfortable couch


    We also have a nice entertainment center and bookcase set. We were just given a DVD player, so we hope we’ll get a cast off TV sometime eventually.


    Living Room Shelves


    After entering the apartment, directly to the left is the hallway to the bedrooms and bathrooms. We have two bathrooms, one of which we never use. It is the Turkish bathroom – the squatty potty. We have a cover for it and store cleaning supplies in this tiny room. The door always remains shut! Sometimes it can smell a little weird. The ventilation system for all the apartments is connected to this toiletroom.


    Turkish Bathroom


    And then there is the regular bathroom (which I know you’re dying to see…). We have our washing machine in the bathroom.




    Here is our bedroom. When we were shopping, David didn’t understand why we needed a comforter. Afterwards, he agreed it looks nice. The mattress lifts up for more storage.


    Master bedroom


    This dolop is in the master bedroom. I so graciously allowed David to use it as his very own closet.


    Master bedroom closet


    Because the next room’s dolop is all mine! Just kidding – I share. He uses one section and we store linens, towels, and extra bathroom supplies in it, too. There’s a small balcony off of this room.


    Dolop room


    The third bedroom is our guest bedroom slash laundry room. And by laundry room, I mean we hang dry our clothes in here. Hence the drying rack and clothesline.



    God has blessed us with a roomy, comfortable place! We would love to paint some of the walls and get a couple rugs for the floors. However, right now we are okay living with just the essentials.


    Exploring Ulus

    Last Saturday David, another teacher, and I took a dolmuş  to explore Ulus, an old neighborhood of Ankara. Ulus is about 5 miles from our neighborhood. We were on the hunt for an electronics store, Turkish puzzle rings, antique stores (I really want an Ottoman Empire skeleton key), and a Turkish pottery store. We didn’t have a lot of luck finding those things, but explored other areas! It was a perfect, sunny day to be walking around the city.

    Ulus is an older, more traditional area of Ankara. We walked around the busy market streets, got some lunch, and decided to walk up to the castle.


    The streets of Ulus, Turkey


    After we passed through the busy market streets, we made it to a quieter set of shops. There were some antique shops, though I didn’t find the skeleton key I wanted. We found two puzzle rings, but the sizes were too small. I did, however, have one great find! Over the past couple of years, I’ve collected letterpress and printing press letters. On our way out of one shop, I found a container that had several piece of of sheet music plates. There were several different sizes and I grabbed one of the smaller ones. I asked the store owner how much it cost. He replied it was 10 Turkish Lira and rattled off a price for the larger pieces. Now, I love to barter. It’s been difficult to barter here because I haven’t learned all of the numbers yet. I thought that 10 was too much and asked him if he would take 5. He shrugged and said ok. We just covered typography in the graphic design class I’m teaching, so I thought it was fun to show the students the printing press plate. It’s a bit difficult to read, but the song has something to do with water.


    Turkish Sheet Music Printing Plate


    There was road construction and we had to take a few detours to make it up to the castle. We walked a lot of cobblestone and gravel streets. I liked the look of the bricks in this building. It’s ironic to see these old, old buildings with satellite dishes.


    Old Turkish building with a satellite dish


    Before making it all the way to the top of the hill, we passed a pazar market. I love the bright colors of the different grains, spices, dried fruit and veggies. I got a half a kilo of dried cranberries. Yum!


    Market in Ulus


    We finally made it to the top! The citadel overlooks almost all of Ankara. We were amazed it was free to enter! According to “The foundations of this structure were laid by Galatians and eventually completed by the Romans.” It was fun and scary to walk the ledges and walls of the castle. There were limited steps and no hand rails or guards.


    Ulus Castle in Ankara, Turkey


    Ulus Citadel in Ankara, Turkey


    What a view of Ankara!


    View from the Ulus Castle in Ankara, Turkey


    View from inside the Ulus castle


    A lot of the city is this gray-brown color. I think the texture of the rooftops are interesting.


    Roofs of Ulus


    This was the first time we went someplace where we didn’t have someone as our guide. We plan to go back to Ulus sometime with friends who can show us where certain shops are located.


    Lightning Storm in Ankara!

    After many days of dry air and no rain or moisture whatsoever, a lightning storm crept up on us. I’ve always been fascinated with storms. I love to sit by the window and watch the lightning shoot across the sky, right before I feel the rumbling from the resolving thunder.  I’m not sure what feeds this fascination so much. I think it is mostly due to how storms remind me of God’s power and strength. I think my fascination also stems from a love of storm photography.

    Since I was a young boy, my family has frequented a restaurant called Good Time Pizza. Many years ago, there was a photo of a lightning strike hanging on the wall. I remember musing about this picture. I asked my dad how they took such a perfectly timed photo. After explaining time exposure to me, he went on to say that he had taken some lightning photos in the past. I think way back then I told myself I wanted to take pictures of lightning for fun one day.

    Anyways, as the storm in Ankara began, I ran around the apartment to get my camera and mini tripod. I do not own a DSLR at the moment, but have found useful settings on my point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot A3000. I recently discovered this camera has up to a fifteen second time delay. So I set my time exposure somewhere between three and six seconds and started shooting. Most of my photos turned out with nothing but brightly lit buildings, but I was able to capture a few lightning shots.

    The pictures below are some of my favorites.


    Lightning storm in Ankara


    Psalm 148:7–13
    Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
    lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
    stormy winds that do his bidding,
    you mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars,
    wild animals and all cattle,
    small creatures and flying birds,
    kings of the earth and all nations,
    you princes and all rulers on earth,
    young men and women,
    old men and children.
    Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.


    Lightning storm in Ankara


    The storm made Leah think of the praise song Every Time:
    Everytime I watch a storm I know the awesome power of my Lord.
    I don’t know why so many things seem to get in the way of seeing my God’s glory.
    But I try everyday to see and thank Him for all the things He’s given me.


    Lightning storm in Ankara


    Psalm 29:7
    The voice of the Lord strikes
    with flashes of lightning.


    Lightning storm in Ankara


    Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.”
    – Mark Twain


    Ulus, Ankara Castle

    This past Saturday we took a dolmuş into the old neighborhood in Ankara called Ulus. We walked up cobble stone roads to see the ruins of the citadel. We were amazed it was free to enter!

    According to “The foundations of this structure were laid by Galatians and eventually completed by the Romans.”

    It’s the highest point in the area, and it was fun and scary to walk the ledges and walls of the castle. There were limited steps and no hand rails or guards. What a view of Ankara!


    Castle Climbing in Ulus, Ankara