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    Snow Day!

    Winters in Michigan bring a number of snow days. (Sometimes even cold days for negative wind chills.) One winter, my aunt and uncle from Texas came to visit. They were so amused by the fact that we needed to shovel snow off of our back porch to relieve some of the weight. My uncle was also tickled by the term “lake effect snow.” It takes a LOT of snow for a snow day in Michigan. Snow trucks and ice trucks and scraper attachments for pickup trucks are a way of life.

    Now that I’m a teacher and living in Turkey, snow still has a magical effect.


    Snow on window sill


    Instead of running to the TV to watch bottom of the news channel, we run to our computers and check our emails and the school website. The last two years were very disappointing with hardly any snow at all. But this year! Today was snow day number FOUR!

    There are BIG, fluffy flakes! It’s like sitting in a snow globe.


    Snowy street


    Snow on window pane


    Snowing by the school


    I ran errands on Tuesday and stopped by our little neighborhood flower shop and got these beauties. Hooray for a day of rest and for beautiful views both outside and inside. Here’s (“secretly”) hoping for another snow day tomorrow!


    Pink Gerber Daisy and white flowers



    Ending Break With a Break

    We traveled to Michigan for two weeks over Christmas and had a blast with family and friends. We flew back to Turkey last week and then I broke my arm.

    We gave ourselves a couple of days in Ankara before school resumed on Wednesday. We were a little bummed there was no snow while we were home in Michigan. Even though there was nothing on the ground when we landed in Turkey, snow started pouring down soon after!

    On Tuesday morning, I asked David if he was up for a snowventure. I hadn’t been to the forest in our neighborhood in a long time, and it’s a magical Narnian place when there’s snow. We wanted to hike up the tallest hill to see the view of the city. So we bundled up, put on our snow boots, and headed out.




    On our way through the snow, we came across several of our coworkers, students, and their parents sledding. Some parents had purchased large, thick inner tubes, which are great for sliding. David and I went down together once. I was surprised how fast we slid! We hung around for a while, caught up with our friends, and watched the kids go down the hill. Soon, people started talking about lunch and we wanted to continue our hike. “One last time for the Benedicts?” they asked. “Oh, sure!”

    David was to my left and I had my left arm wrapped around his back. As we descended, the tube spun around so we were going backwards. We picked up a lot of momentum and since we couldn’t see, ran directly into a tree. As you can tell from the photo above, the trees weren’t very big. My arm made contact first, followed by David’s back. The pain was immediate.

    We were fortunate there were so many people there to help. One of my friends is going into med school soon, and once they realized it was broken, they fashioned a sling from a stick and some scarves. We had maybe half a mile or so to walk to get to the exit and main road. Meanwhile, other friends called for help and a car met us at the forest entrance.

    One of our friends had a major accident about a year ago and knows an amazing orthopedic doctor. They called ahead and soon we were at the emergency room. I think this was around 2:00. An x-ray confirmed the break (my first broken bone ever!), the doctor set the bone (terrifying and painful), and I got a shot of something wonderful for the pain.

    I broke the radius bone in my left arm. It was a clean break. I had no interest in looking at my arm or seeing the x-rays, but David said the break looked about half an inch apart. They were able to get me in for surgery that night at 7:00 and mended me up with a titanium plate and 6 screws.


    Hospital bed


    We stayed overnight and they discharged me the next morning. I wasn’t even in the hospital for 24 hours! That amazes me. They sent me home with a soft cast, an ice pack, and pain meds. We had snow days on Wednesday and Friday, so I’ve only missed one day of school.


    Broken arm


    It’s hard to believe that was 5 days ago.

    This whole experience has left me overwhelmed, humbled, and blessed. I am so very thankful for our community both here and far away. We have friends who dropped everything to come to our rescue and stayed with us at the hospital to help navigate, translate, pray, and support us. I am so thankful for the prayers, messages, visits, and meals. The body of Christ is a beautiful thing, guys.

    David has been especially wonderful through it all. I have felt so loved. I couldn’t ask for a more patient caregiver.

    Every day I can move my fingers a little more and kind of hold things a little more. (It’s been helpful that I am right-handed!) We went in yesterday for a follow up appointment. The doctor changed my dressing and I took a look at the stitches. They are long and ugly! But there is no infection and everything is healing well. I get the cast off on Thursday and will start physical therapy. That’s 9 days after surgery! Isn’t that crazy?!

    Thank you for your prayers as I continue to mend!



    An Icy Winter Wonderland

    We had a white and icy Christmas in Michigan this year. I don’t think I’ve ever seen ice stay on the trees this long. The ice has weighted down the trees. Branches have taken down a lot of power lines in the area. There are some people who have been without power for almost a week. David’s family lost power for 3 days, but fortunately it was restored on Christmas Eve Day.

    The ice is beautiful and terrifying. Especially when the sun comes out, it’s as though the road is lined with crystal chandeliers. You can hear the ice and branches falling, especially out on the farm. It’s a chorus of shattering glass.


    Icy bush


    Icy bush


    Icy bush


    Many trees are so heavy, they’ve bowed over the road:


    Weighed over tree branch


    Iced over branches


    Tree with ice


    Icy branches


    Icy pine


    Icy branch


    This poor tree by one of the barns lost half of its branches. David said they will probably cut the rest down once it’s warmer. We’re fortunate that branches have not fallen on the house or our cars. We haven’t seen the damage inside of the maple woods yet, but we know it’s brought down some of the tap lines.


    Ice damage to a tree


    Icicles on the fence


    On our way to break, David’s aunt called us and told us to check out a bald eagle in someone’s yard. It was so cool to see it sitting on the icy branches:


    Icy tree and bald eagle


    David took the Gator out to the edge of the woods and ran into some deer. A couple of these were trophy bucks. He purchased his hunting license last night, so hopefully he’ll get some venison before the end of break.


    Deer in the snow


    Deer running in the snow



    Daytrip to Beypazari

    Yesterday, four of my friends and I visited Beypazarı to do some Christmas shopping. Beypazarı is about 60 miles northwest of Ankara. We took a dolmuş to ANKAmall and then caught the Beypazarı bus under the overpass.

    The little town was so cute! I loved the white and brown houses and cobblestone streets:


    Beypazarı streets


    One of the things Beypazarı is known for is its carrots. We saw several carrot juice stands. I didn’t try any, but I love the carrots in Turkey – they’re a lot sweeter than the carrots in the States.


    Beypazarı carrot juice


    By the time we finally got there we were super hungry, so we grabbed a quick lunch. We had a little room to ourselves. It felt so good to get in from the cold!


    Lunch in Beypazarı


    I ordered tarhana soup to warm up and a speciality of Beypazari called güveci. Güveci is lamb mixed with rice, some veggies, and spices.


    Guveji lunch


    While we ate our lunch, it started snowing outside. It was the first snow we had seen this winter! It started snowing lightly, but then the flakes got bigger and bigger and the snow came down faster and faster.


    Exploring Beypazarı with friends


    I think it was one of the first snows of the season in Beypazarı. Kids came out to play and throw snowballs and all of the Turkish shopkeepers were in a good mood. It was so beautiful and kind of magical! We didn’t get much snow in Turkey last year. I felt like I was home in Michigan crunching along in the snow.


    Leah in the snow in Beypazarı


    Aside from checking out shops and stopping for some çay and baklava, we didn’t explore a lot since it was so cold. I’d love to go back when it’s warmer out! There were a lot of empty street stands that I’m sure are overflowing with beautiful produce in the warmer months.


    Carrots in Beypazarı


    A few travel notes if you’re in Anakra: the Beypazari bus comes on the hour near ANKAmall. The ride one way costs 9TL and it took a little over an hour and a half to get there.