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    Adventures in Marathon Training

    David has been training for the Istanbul Marathon again. He’s only a few weeks out! The race is November 16.

    He ran over a half marathon after school last week! After runs like that, he usually comes home caked in salt. He brought back a couple of casualties on his windshield, too:


    David after running


    David with bugs



    Pre-Field Training in Mississippi

    It’s been a busy couple of weeks and several thousand miles since we left Michigan in June!

    After our first anniversary celebration in Tennessee, we traveled to Oxford, Mississippi. One of my dearest friends from college and her husband live there, and it was just an hour from where our training took place. Noelani and Devon spoiled us with wonderful hospitality and delicious food. It was so fun catching up with them and seeing where they lived.


    Playing games at the Newburns


    After relaxing in Oxford for a few days, we drove north to Southaven, Mississippi for Pre-Field Orientation (PFO).

    PFO was a two-week long program that took place in a local school/church. David and I were two of over 130 participants preparing to teach in one of 21 schools in 16 different countries. PFO helped prepare us for our lives as expat teachers through lectures and activities centering around personality tests, Third Culture Kids, and what we might expect in our transition. Learning about Third Culture Kids fascinated me most.

    What’s a Third Culture Kid?
    A Third Culture Kid is an individual who, having spent a significant part of the developmental years in a culture other than the parents’ culture, develops a sense of relationship to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Elements from each culture are incorporated into the life experience, but the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar experience.

    A variety of students including children of embassy officials, children of international businessmen and women, military children, and other international children attend the school in Turkey. TCKs are a different kind of student and people with ever-changing host countries, friendships, and independence.

    We spent most of our time at PFO in this lecture hall. Training consisted of a LOT of acronyms. This was the PAC. (I don’t even know what that stood for!)


     The lecture hall


    The participants of PFO not only learned a lot, but we also ate a lot. PFO was southern hospitality at its finest! Every morning, we attended a lecture, then we’d break for snacks. Another lecture, then lunch. Another lecture, then another break for snacks. Another lecture, and dinner. An amazing team of volunteers prepared the food. Every single meal was absolutely delicious!

    During PFO, we met some of the former, current, and new teachers at our school in Ankara. Southaven is right on the border of Mississippi and Tennessee, and our director treated us to dinner in Memphis. It was David’s first time to eat at the Rendezvous.  The Rendezvous is famous for its dry rub barbecue ribs. Yum!


    Rendezvous ribs

    Oasis Ankara at Rendezvous


    David and I were blessed to stay with an amazing host family! They were so personable, hospitable, and kind to us. One of the sisters will also be teaching at an Oasis school (not pictured below). Below is a picture of us before the international dress up night.


    Our Host Family


    We also spent quality time getting to know the people in our small group. We were placed with 4 other couples who are each at a different school.


    Our PFO Small Group


    David and I were so glad we were able to attend PFO, and are more excited than ever to teach in Turkey!


    DiSC Personality Profile: What I Learned About Myself

    Leah and I have been attending pre-field orientation during the past two weeks to prepare us for employment with Oasis International Schools. One of the things we have completed is the DiSC personality profile. According to, “DiSC is a personal assessment tool used to improve work productivity, teamwork, and communication. DiSC is non-judgmental and helps people discuss their behavioral differences.”


    DiSC personality assessment


    Completing this assessment has helped me learn some very revealing things about myself and how I approach others. I was scored as a high category “I” with influences of “S”. Through these scores, I was able to outline some key strengths and weaknesses.



    • High aspirations (dream big)
    • Strong social interactions
    • Optimism
    • Motivator and leader



    • Lacks follow through
    • Fails to pay attention to details
    • Socially overpower others
    • Impulsive
    • Tendency to over-commit due to people pleasing tendency
    • Lacks organization

    I have put together five steps to overcoming my weaknesses.

    1. Listen — Sometimes I tend to be so concerned with my upcoming social interaction, that I fail to pay attention to others or details they are explaining to me. By making a conscious effort to listen, I hope to also eliminate my tendency to overpower others.

    2. Don’t Stop Until it’s Finished — I often get real passionate about something I commit to at the beginning. However, I sometimes get sidetracked by other commitments and fail to follow through. By implementing this step, I hope to complete tasks with quality effort.

    3. Just say no! — I am a people pleaser. I like to make everyone happy, all of the time. However, I have realized that this is not always possible. I will commit myself to only take on what I think I can handle. I often over-commit and am found trying to juggle too many things at once.

    4. THINK! — As stated in my weaknesses, I often act impulsively, hence social overpowering, over-commitment, missing details, etc… I am making the commitment to think before I act, speak, or commit. Proverbs 17:28 says, “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” I hope that by taking more time to think, I will be able to have better discernment.

    5. PLAN! — This mostly applies to my teaching. I often become organized because I don’t take time to plan. For someone who already struggles with being impulsive, I really need to make sure I take the time to plan out my days so that I can teach and use my time efficiently.

    With all that being said, I would also like to add that Leah and I had fun taking this analysis. We were polar opposites and have learned much about our personalities and  how we can work together to strengthen our marriage. This is most important. I’m excited to see how we grow in the coming months!