Summer Migration

Since I have moved to Turkey, each year I have returned to the U.S. for the summer.  This year was no different, through it seemed to go by very quickly.  When I go home things are usually really busy.  I try to visit as many friends and family members as possible, as many times as possible.  This summer I was also able to attend two great friends’ wedding receptions.

This year was especially busy as we relocated.  I knew when my father died, it would make sense for my mother to downsize sooner rather than later.  The home I grew up in is amazingly beautiful, built in 1880, set deep in the country, with many acres of lawn and gardens and flower beds.   However, it is a large  property to maintain for a single woman.  

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The new house she found is great.  Big enough for our family, but small enough for her needs.  There is space for Elliot  when he visits and  for me to maintain migration pattern from Turkey.  It also is 20 minutes closer to the city, and she is practically neighbors with several of her friends.  And wonders of wonders, she is now a FIVE minute drive to a town where there is a grocery store, liquor store and several small restaurants! 

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The new place, dubbed “The River House” , is adorable.  Lest you think we are leaving we are leaving the idyllic country for suburbia…there is enough country there to make the transition easy.  Behind the house there is a field of wildflowers and waterfront on a river.   It does not quite compare to the view off the porch of the big house…but little would.

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Considering that we moved from a five bedroom Victorian to a two bedroom house the move went surprisingly well.  Between maintaining the yard at the new house, sprucing up the yard at at the old house, the move, two wedding and many visits with family and friends, the summer went by very quickly! 

Last week I completed my migration cycle and returned to Turkey.  I flew in on a Wednesday and the very next day drove down to Marmaris with my father-in-law.  I have about a week left at the summer house, with very limited internet access.  I am using the time to rest and rejuvenate before the school year starts again.   I plan on resuming regular posting once I no longer need to use my cell phone as a portable hot spot.  

School is starting soon or has start already for many. As a teacher, for me the start of the new year is not January, but rather September.  New year, new students, and life goes on.   Enjoy what is left of summer! 

Hoşgeldiniz to 2013

Welcome to the New Year!  I hope everyone had safe and happy New Years celebrations.  Bülent and I have been so busy lately that we welcomed the New Year from bed, where we had been snuggling and watching movies.  It worked for me!  Start the New Year as you mean to continue right?  I am sure many people are thinking about New Year Resolutions and how to make changes.  I think I am just going to continue the journey I started several months ago, trying to appreciate the good, and live a more balanced life.

It has been a difficult year.  This day last year I was packing my bags to go back to the U.S.  I  had taken a leave of absence due to my father’s health and was supposed to head back at the end of the semester in late January.  I had spoken to my family a couple of days before and I had decided to change my plane ticket on December 30.  It was expensive to change a ticket two days before the flight, but it was the best decision I ever made.  My father’s funeral was on the original date in January on which I was supposed to arrive. 

I had taken the semester off and my school had hired someone to take my place, so I stayed in N.H., grieving and healing with my family.  It was difficult to be separated from my husband for six months, but has changed our relationship for the better.  We are stronger and more united, we know there is nothing we wouldn’t do to help the other…been there, done that.  We have now had bad and trying times and just love each other more for our individual responses to them. 

My time in the U.S. last year was very precious to me.  It allowed me to spend time with my mother while she needed me, and while I needed her.  I was able to get to know my brother as the man he is now, as opposed to the boy he was when I left.  I was also able to get to know his long time girlfriend, who is as lovely inside as she is out.  I went to my college roommate’s wedding and celebrated her happiness with her, and our college friends, some of whom I haven’t seen in five years.   I drove from Texas to New Hampshire, meeting Bülent’s dearest old friends, and visiting mine along the way.   I also went to BlogHer ‘12!

My oldest and dearest friend made me an Auntie—albeit in a terrifying way.  Due to her daughter’s insistence to make a (extremely early) entrance I was able to meet her in the NICU before I came back to Turkey.  

Health wise: Bülent and I went vegetarian (almost six months now) and I joined a gym a few months ago.  The breast lumps have been vanquished—well not vanquished but at least identified as benign.  To top it all off, our dog, Butterfinger, is not letting cataracts get her down.   

The year has been challenging and rewarding.  I am hoping that this next year will be easier, because we kind of need a break.  But we are starting the year off right.  Last year my dad wanted to take our family on a last vacation, a cruise, due to his limited mobility, but he died before we were able.  

Well, we are taking that fucking cruise.  Come January break, my mom, brother and I are going to go.  We are going to celebrate what was, what is and what is to come, because that is what life is all about.  So 2013—bring it on!

Road Trip: The Big One

After our vacation, Bülent and I decided to buy a car in Texas, where the cars have less rust damage from salt and snow.  We would then drive out to New Hampshire in time for Bülent to start his teaching job at the university.  Our plan was to drive from Leave Texas, stop overnight in Memphis, Louisville, northern West Virginia, somewhere in Jersey and end up in New Hampshire.  ScreenHunter_04 Aug. 21 15.32

However, right from the beginning we had some scheduling issues.  Bülent found the car he wanted to buy the night before we leaving for the trip, but it was too late to buy it and take it to get checked out. So early in the morning he went to the dealership, bought the car and took it to the garage.  However, the work it needed, brakes tuned and new tires, took longer than expected.  Instead of getting on the road by 12 and getting to Memphis by 8ish that night, we couldn’t leave until 4.   We were tired, so we stopped in Little Rock, Arkansas around 10 p.m.   We figured we would stop in Memphis to and have an early lunch and visit with my friend from college (hence required stop in Memphis), and have an early lunch.

And that is the day Arkansas became dead to me.  If we had time I would have like to look around the city and check out some Civil Rights museums, but we wanted to get on the road right away.  Bad decision.  The trip to Memphis is normally only 2 and a haf hours, but once we got on the road, we stayed on the road. And stayed on the road.  And stayed. on. the. road.

There had been a traffic accident that morning at 4 a.m. and the eastbound and westbound lanes of the highway were blocked all day. (I can complain about because no one was hurt.)  After several hours f being parked on the highway, we were detoured onto a two lane country highway.  It took eight hours to drive to Memphis.  By the time we got there, we were ready to tear our hair out.  We were trapped all day, had lost an entire day of travel and messed up our schedule.  We decided rather than try to make up time and drive to Nashville, we would stay with our friends in Memphis.   Honestly the thought of getting back into the car made us nauseous.

Good Decision.  We ended up having a great time.  We had a great Tennessee BBQ, and then hung out by the lake with the dogs.  The three dogs, that all have first, middle and last names.  Hee Hee.  It is so funny when my friend Katie calls out their full names with when the puppies are being rowdy.  I would post some adorable photos, but there were some technological issues and our camera ate the pictures.  The next day we woke, rested, with the goal of getting to Louisville for a late lunch and then continuing on to make up lost time.   We had to be in NH by a certain date so Bülent could start teaching his classes.    Next Installment: Day 3 of the Road Trip.  The road to awesomeness…I mean Louisville.

Oh I Love Me A Generator!

When I was 10 my mom and dad picked my brother and me up from school one day in January.  They told us we were going to the city to buy a generator.  Since we had been out of power for a week, we cheered!  We have gone a long way from that glorious day and  that pull start generator that provided enough electricty for a couple of rooms.  We have a dedicated one that turns on automatically when we lose power.  And it is awesome.  Tonight my mom said there might be a storm, and asked us to roll the kayaks over so they would not be filled with water.  We were on our way when the wind rushed in like a train.

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The rain fell hard and fast and the wind was a gustin’, just the way we like.   We love the fierceness and the sound of the storm, but we love the generator too!

Tales from the Sticks: Not a Carjacking

So this weekend I had some friends come visit me.  One was from Orange County in California and one was from Phoenix, Arizona.  They now live in the big, bad city of Worcester, Massachusetts.   For those of you not from New England it is pronounced “WooStah” not “Worchester.”  I did something this weekend that shocked them.  As in they would only do it with a gun to their head, a.k.a. carjacking.

If we haven’t established it yet, my family’s home in New Hampshire is in the woods, boondocks, sticks,etc.   So, with my city friends in the car, we were on our way home from a larger town, you know…one with stores.  On one of the  back roads on the way back (this one was paved—clearly civilized) I stopped on the side of the road to offer assistance to a broken down car.  His car was pulled up on the side, his hood up.  I pulled up, lowered the window and asked if he needed help.  Sometimes your cell phone is in a black hole, and depending on your provider you may need to drive a few miles for service.

When your car breaks down and you have to hoof it for service to call for help, it makes a nasty day more horrible.  This is why in the winter we carry several down blankets in all of the cars. In case we  need to not freeze to death while waiting for assistance.

This man did not need help, he had already called AAA.  So I wished him a better day than he was already having, and went on my way.  Meanwhile my friends were horrified. They never would have stopped.  Now, if I hadn’t had a full car I would have made sure the doors were locked, and the windows were down enough to talk, but not enough to bust through.  I may be a country girl, but am not a potential victim.  Also, I carry pepper spray.  And though I don’t like guns, I am from NH.  I don’t usually pack, but I know how to shoot a multitude of guns, and calibers.

Later my friends told me how surprised they were by my behavior, actually the term would be horrified.  But, that is what we do in the Sticks, you check on others, in the hope that if you ever need help—someone will offer it to you.  Most likely they will…this isn’t the city after all.  There you never know who will stop.  Yikes!

A Date…

Today I had an interview.  I took the semester off to take care of my father.  I was also going to postpone a practicum for my Masters in TESOL.  However, since my father’s death, I don’t need to put off my class.  So today I went to a interview for my practicum.  Though, it is a little less than ideal, since I brought few professional clothes,  and there are very few ELL learners in rural N.H.  The interview went well, and then I went on a romantic date…with myself.  I took a walk in the adorable downtown, and bought some luscious chocolate covered strawberries (for my mom, my brother and his girlfriend and me.)  Later I went to the sushi bar, and had a delicious meal, for one.  It was actually a very nice time.  I am still not really ready to be out and about with people, so this was a lovely way to go out with out social pressure.

Back In NH

I have been back in NH for eight days.   I have missed being here. Though it has not been my normal visit.   It has been different this time around.  There is an underlying sadness.  Not grief or depression, but a melancholy that surrounds us all.  When know why, and it is not ignored, but neither is it discussed.

It has a busy week.  I flew in on Monday to NYC.  I had to reroute because I missed my flight due to a delay.  Tuesday I hung out  with my aunt and darling cousin, and shopped.  Then I spent a week with my  dad dad at the hospital.

Tonight is my third night at my parents home, though  both my mom and dad are at the hospital. Tomorrow my dad is having surgery.  Wish us all luck.

The Things You Do…

I am heading back to the States, a little sooner than anticipated, and am taking care of business.  As you do when you live in Turkey, and return to the U.S. for extended periods of time…you take care of the expensive shit.  Which is why I have gone to the gynecologist and the dentist in the same week—Because you know that is fun!  Also my dog ate my night mouth guard yesterday.  Awesome!

It is also why I am going to stock up on birth control and allergy medication before I leave.  Not only do I have comprehensive health insurance in Turkey, both private and State, but also many things are available over the counter that are not in the US.  For my time in the U.S.  I am also paying out of pocket for six months of private health insurance, all health insurance related expenses will be reimbursed up to the (fairly generous) limit once I return to Turkey—for $300!  Ridiculous!  So tomorrow I will get my eyebrows done, but since it is winter—I will skip the bikini wax—I think between the gynecologist and the dentist I have had enough fun.

Transitions

It has been a while since the last time I have posted.  I have been dealing with some challenges and logistics.  I have bought the tickets, began the paperwork at work and organized my kitchen.  It is official,  I will be returning to the U.S. by the end of January (at the latest) for a six month leave of absence.   As I wrote previously my father was diagnosed with a rare cancer last April.  He had chemotherapy over the summer and things were looking positive.  However, the circumstances have changed, and the situation is less positive.  I will be home to spend time with my family during this period.

My last post was about Thanksgiving.  There are many things I am thankful for, my family, my husband, and my friends.  I am so thankful to have a husband that knows what family means.  The minute I told him about my father’s situation, he was willing to put me on a plane the next day—no matter the cost.  Being away from him for a significant period of time will be unfortunate, but I am so glad to have this time with my father, and with my family.  I am so lucky that I can take 6 months of unpaid time, without losing my job or being homeless.  There are many things I am thankful for this year.

My blog’s name is “Far From the Sticks.” In New Hampshire, the “Sticks” is slang for rural areas.  I am far from where I come from and where I grew up.  My life has taken paths I have never imagined and I have had many adventures on the way.  While I am going back home, in some ways I can never return to the “Sticks.”  When I was growing up, my parents made sure to provide me with a childhood.  My friends and I used to climb trees and canoe in old prom dresses, playing “Little House on the Prairie.” On Friday nights, my Dad would turn on the Temptations and we would all dance in the living room.  My brother and I would play in the stream in the rain–with galoshes and umbrellas.  I can never return to my childhood in the “Sticks,” but I can go home.  I am counting the days until I can get there.

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2nd Year!

366 days ago I got married.  Today is the 1st day of my second year of marriage!  (Which means yesterday was my 1st anniversary-but I couldn’t post since I had to finish a paper for my Masters)

My husband is actually in Turkey, and I am in NH—So we did not celebrate this anniversary in person together.   We had a romantic dinner before he left for Turkey, and a Skype yesterday.  When I get back we will do something on the date of our Turkish reception as well.

It seems crazy that I have been married a year. But crazy in a good way.  Like Crazy Awesome!  Living with your BFF who also happens to be your lover is a great way to spend your life.

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He makes life exciting.  He whisks me away for romantic weekends and is always on the look out for things I will enjoy.  He knows when I am having a bad day and pre-orders take out for us.  He holds me when I cry and and when I laugh.

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I want nothing more than many more decades with this man, on our own adventures.

Happy Anniversary  Şekerkalbim!