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living overseas

    Our First 30 Hours in Ankara

    After about 18 hours of travel, we arrived in Ankara yesterday at 3:30 pm (Turkey time). The three flights went very well; there were no long delays and all of our luggage made it to our destination. It was quite the experience for me as I had never before flown overseas. I think Leah got a kick out of me looking at our GPS location and how excited I was about flying over various places. This trip was our first time riding in a plane together!

     

    In-flight GPS

     

    Upon arrival, our director picked us up from the airport to take us to our new home. Immediately we noticed how the people of Ankara are packed in tight. The city is filled with high-rise buildings, and most people live in apartments. The “packed-in” feeling is also evident in their driving. There were several times when drivers filled the road five cars wide in a three lane area. Our director said the philosophy of driving in Turkey is “find a place that’s empty and fill it.” The Turks have a much smaller driving “bubble” than Americans, and it is not uncommon to be within centimeters of the car beside you.

     

    Ankara from the plane

     

    Our apartment is much bigger than we expected — even larger than the house we rented in Virginia. We have two balconies, a full kitchen, and were provided with plenty of modern furniture. Last night we sat out on the balcony and took in the noise of the city and the cool breeze. Some new sounds are the Islamic call to prayer and the packs of wild dogs that roam the forest next to our building.

     

    Ankara at night

     

    Last night, I thought I’d give Turkish grocery shopping a whirl. It turned out to be a bigger whirl than I had predicted. Leah stayed in the apartment because we were having issues with our keys and lock (which is now fixed). My first challenge was trying to order baklava; I realized I didn’t know how to say the quantity or number of pieces I wanted. I had two teenagers behind the counter laughing as we tried to overcome the language barrier. After getting about five times the baklava I wanted, I decided to try something where I could choose my own quantities. As I was selecting produce, I noticed a gentleman trying to tell me something. After many hand motions, I found that unlike Walmart or Meijer, this guy had to weigh the produce before I checked out. My last communication challenge came at the register. I didn’t realize it was bag your own food until my stuff started piling together with someone else’s. This bagging strategy makes sense — it’s my food, so if I want it in bags, why should someone else put it there? Eventually, I made it home and made our first meal in Turkey.

     

    Our first meal in Turkey

     

    Today, we went on a tour of our school and neighborhood and did some small scale shopping. On the tour, we ate at our first Turkish restaurant. Each meal comes with complimentary salad, a salsa type dip, pita bread, fried vegetables, and hot tea. For my entree, I chose Döner Kebap. This delicious dish consisted of fried strips of beef served over a pita with a spiced grain (similar to couscous).

     

    Eating out for the first time in Turkey

     

    We are enjoying our new home Ankara. The people are friendly, the food is good, and jet lag has not hit us much yet. We have a lot of language yet to learn in order to function well on our own. Until then, the few phrases we know in Turkish will be most important: “My Turkish is not very good” and “I don’t understand.”

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    The Last Few Days Before Moving Overseas

    We are getting so close to our departure date and only have three sleeps left in the United States. Over the next two days we will be concentrating on packing and saying goodbye to family.

    There are many emotions running high right now. We are excited about moving to a new place and the experiences and opportunities ahead. At the same time, we are experiencing the sadness of saying goodbye to family. We consider ourselves fortunate to have such wonderful, supportive families. Their encouragement has been essential to us these past few months. We are truly blessed!

    Our current state of packing is a bit of a challenge…

     

    Packing to live overseas

     

    As you can probably see, we are in need of prayer!

    PRAYER REQUESTS

    1. See-you-laters: Please pray that our goodbyes will be meaningful and thorough.
    2. Emotional/Spiritual state: Pray for our emotional and spiritual state as we prepare to move. We need to rely on God and each other for comfort.
    3. Packing: We have a lot of stuff and a limited amount of suitcase room! Pray we will be able to prioritize what to take to Turkey.

     

    Thank you!

     

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