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year in review

    Our 2015

    I’m know I’m a little late on the train to the new-year/year-in-review stuff, but it’s still January, so I say it still counts. It’s fun to take a look at all we’ve done and where we’ve been in the past year. We experienced a great deal of change and transition in the last 12 months. Here’s a glimpse at what we were up to in 2015:


    We traveled back to Turkey after spending the holidays in Michigan. I broke my arm (first broken bone ever!) and had surgery. I spent January and the next several months in recovery and physical therapy.


    Titanium plate, radius bone


    We seriously considered the possibility of moving to Korea and David had a phone interview. We had fun with our students during Spirit Week and I wrapped up the elementary cheerleading season. David and I started a no-poo hair care regimen (stopped using shampoo and conditioner products).


    Elementary cheerleaders


    We officially decided to move to Korea for the 2015–2016 school year. David ran a half marathon in Antalya. We traveled for Spring Break and spent a few days in Paris (1, 2, 3, 4).


    Us with the Eiffel Tower


    We spent the rest of our Spring Break exploring Italy: Venice, Florence, and Rome. Back in Turkey, I started taking language lessons from a sweet Korean mom.


    Leah and David by a Venice canal


    We took an incredible trip to Northeastern Turkey with friends and saw Ottoman bridges. We also spent a few hours in the country of Georgia! May was a busy time as the end of the school year came to a close.


    Ottoman bridge


    June was a fun, crazy, and emotional month. I traveled to the southern coast with the senior class and spent time in Kalkan and on a boat cruise. We said far too many goodbyes – to our students, our church, our community, our friends (that became family), and the country we came to love so dearly. David’s parents and two of his brothers came to visit and we toured them all around Turkey (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10). We celebrated our fourth anniversary.


    At Ikiz Restaurant for dinner


    After we packed all that we could into seven suitcases, we flew to the States for three weeks. We visited Michigan and Arkansas and got to see my mom’s new house for the first time! We arrived in Korea July 22. David began training and orientations at the school.


    Gyeongbokgung guard


    David’s first day of school was August 10. I said goodbye to my 19-year-old cat named Blue. David started assistant coaching the high school cross country team.


    David's classroom


    I started taking Korean language classes. We experienced our first Korean jjimjilbang (bathhouse). We took our first trip outside of Seoul to Sokcho and climbed Ulsanbawi.


    Celebrating making it to the top of Ulsanbawi


    David’s cross country coaching season ended. A friend from David’s hometown (who currently teaches in Japan) came to visit. We continued to adjust to school and life in Korea. David started an online grad school class.


    Eating bingsu with a friend.


    I volunteered on a school retreat in Daecheon and made over 300 pancakes. I also started an online portraits shop. We traveled with a school group to Suncheon Bay and Yeosu.


    Travel group


    David finished his first semester teaching in Korea! He also wrapped up his grad school class. We flew to the States for our three week Christmas break.


    Christmas 2015 with Grandma and Grandpa


    What a year it has been! Through it all, Lord has been steadfast and gracious. It’s encouraging to look back and consider all the ways He guided, directed, and provided. I look forward to all that 2016 holds!


    Check out our other year end posts here:
    » 2014 Year in Review
    » 2012 Year Infograph



    Our 2014

    What a wonderful 2014 we had! Thinking back on the year, I’m amazed at the things we got to see and do.

    We celebrated the new year in Michigan and traveled back to Turkey on the 4th. David’s brother and sister-in-law gave birth to their second child and our first niece! We traveled to Bodrum the last weekend of the month and watched camel wrestling. Our school hosted its first spirit week. I turned 26 on the last day of the month.


    Camel wrestler


    Teachers on Character Day


    There was a basketball tournament at the beginning of February. My cheerleaders wrapped up their season.




    School Valentines


    David ran a 10k in Antalya. We traveled out east to Van. David took his sixth grade class ice skating.


    David running towards the finish line


    Overlooking Akdamar


    We traveled to Croatia and Slovenia for spring break. David turned 26. Our school participated in a soccer tournament and we met some really nice young men from one of our sister schools.


    Round bench


    Our travel group


    The elementary grades celebrated their international days. Leah went on a girls trip to Cappadocia and hiked the Ihlara Valley. We attended our first Turkish wedding celebration. David took his sixth graders on a field trip to an aquarium.


    David's sixth grade class


    Cappadocia: Ihlara Valley


    Henna application


    We finished year number two in Turkey and said goodbye to some dear friends who moved away. We met our niece back home in Michigan. My sister got married in Tennessee. We saw my mom’s new place in Arkansas. We celebrated our third wedding anniversary.


    Thumbs up


    Mom on her new property


    We traveled from Michigan to Arkansas once more and took David’s youngest brother with us. I visited my alma mater with my mom. We helped celebrate the first birthday of our best friends’ babe.


    Arkasans welcome center




    We went camping with David’s family and traveled back to Turkey for year #3. We attended a great staff retreat at Sakintepe in Bolu.


    View from airplane of Turkey


    Students on the first day


    We spent September falling back into routine. David helped coach volleyball. My obsession with succulents began.


    Volleyball huddle


    We traveled to Pammukale and Didim during fall break for a belated anniversary trip. There was a spirit week at school and Fall Carnival later in the month. We saw the San Antonio Spurs play Fenerbahçe Ülker in Istanbul.


    Pamukkale travertines


    Tourist Day


    At the Spurs game


    Mom cam to visit us in Turkey for three weeks! David ran the Istanbul Marathon again and cut almost 30 minutes off of his previous time! We celebrated Thanksgiving with Mom and took her to Cappadocia. Mom spoiled us with a couple of trips to the commissary.


    At the race start


    Cappadocia balloons


    Mom flew back to the States on the third. The days before break were a rush of concerts, a basketball game, apartmet repairs, a newly painted living room, and class Christmas parties. We traveled to Michigan for Christmas and spent a wonderful two weeks with family and friends.


    Cheer team


    Mom and Ethan


    Wilcox Xmas


    Here’s to an even better year in 2015!



    A Benedict 2012 Infograph

    Happy New Year’s Day!

    We flew back to Turkey on December 28 to give ourselves some time to get over jetlag before school started. We spent the past few days in Istanbul and came back to Ankara this afternoon.

    We’ll hopefully have a few posts about our Christmas and New Years up soon. For now, here’s an infograph of our 2012! I saw several great year in review designs on Pinterest, and was inspired to design one for ourselves.


    2012 In Review Infograph