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