Merry Christmas from the Benedicts! May your days be merry and bright! (We were the elves at the Christmas Craft Fair this year. Santa told us we were on the nice list.)
We made it home to Michigan! Just like last year, our itinerary didn’t go as originally planned. David and I laughed the only kind transportation we didn’t take this trip was a boat.
We flew out of Istanbul to Toronto. When we landed, there was freezing rain and several flights were canceled, including ours. The airline did pay for us to stay in a hotel for the night. Overall, we were not impressed with Canada Air’s customer service. Their representatives seemed very inexperienced. They told us to call and reschedule, even though they had already scheduled us for a Sunday flight. (The original flight was to have left Friday evening.) We told them that would not work. To make a long story short, we rescheduled a Saturday flight to Chicago, and my mom bought us Amtrak train tickets to Michigan.
We spent a lot of yesterday running. We landed a little late in Chicago, and sprinted through the airport to the tram station. We ran up to the ticket kiosk to purchase Metro cards. We must have looked a little frazzled and rushed as we asked about the correct stop and purchasing tickets. A young Metro worker answered a few questions, then ushered us to the gate and swiped us in with his card. I was really moved by the kindness from that stranger. We made it onto the blue line just barely in time. An hour later, we jumped off at our stop, shot up the stairs to the street, and ran to Union Station to catch our train. As we walked in, we heard the last boarding call for our train. We had just barely made it!
Mom picked us up at the train station and we had a nice evening catching up with her, my brother John, my sister Mary, and her fiancé Patrick.
I woke up at 3:00 am Michigan time (10:00 am Turkey time), and haven’t been able to go back to sleep. But a little jet lag is nothing now that we’re home!
Last Saturday was our school’s annual Christmas Craft Fair. Our parent association works hard almost all year to create hundreds of beautiful, handmade crafts. The fair is a fun event for our students and their families as well as for the community.
In addition to the crafts, there was a little cafe with hot soup, wassail, and sweets. There was also Christmas origami and story time for the kids:
We have one of the few Noel Babas (Santas) in Turkey. Lots of children came to tell him what they wanted for Christmas and to get a photo. We helped manage the line and tried to get the little ones to smile for the camera.
It was a fun start to the Christmas season!
One of our sponsors blessed us with a trip home to Michigan for Christmas!
Despite a few travel delays, we made it home safely and had a fantastic 12 days with family and friends!
David’s family and my mom live a 45 minute drive apart. We feel very fortunate to be able to spend time with both families during breaks and holidays. My dad moved to Georgia a few years ago, but still visits Michigan every Christmas, and it was good to see him as well.
Christmas for us is getting to see David’s brothers’ recitals, concerts, and games:
Hanging out with my mom, sister, and brothers, and having our usual Military Monday lunch at Applebees. We got to watch Skyfall with Mom and Matt. I was tickled to hear that people at Mom’s work said she reminded them of M. She does have an air of mystery and power about her, especially in uniform!
Seeing all of David’s mom’s side of the family at Wilcox Christmas. (Although, we missed David’s brother Joe and his wife Brittany! They are 8 months pregnant and couldn’t travel.):
Caroling Christmas Eve and the fondue after party. This year was the 29th annual!:
Christmas with the Fausts. (My Aunt Lois and cousin Vanessa joined us this year!):
Christmas at the Benedicts:
And connecting with sweet friends and family:
Other highlights included enjoying a few snow falls, eating American food, seeing church family, shopping at Meijer, and getting a new camera.
We hope your Christmas is filled with much love, family, and joy! Thank you for your support this past year. We treasure your friendship and appreciate your prayers!
We hope you are enjoying this Christmas season! One of our sponsors blessed us with a trip home for our break, and we are loving our time with friends and family.
Our travel home was interesting! Our original flight route was Ankara, to Munich, to Manchester, to Washington D.C., to Detroit. The runways in Munich were icy and we were rerouted to Vienna. We sat on the tarmac for an hour or two, then headed back to Munich. We had missed our other flights and stood in the service line for over 3 hours trying to reschedule. Thankfully, we were able to get a flight to New Jersey that left a half an hour after we booked. Unfortunately, once in the states, we got held up in customs and missed our flight to Detroit. But fortunately, the airline paid for a really nice hotel for the night and gave us meal vouchers. We were only a day late but made it to Michigan safe and sound!
We enjoyed celebrating Christmas with our students. David’s 6th grade class made a special video! Enjoy!