Balance

This year, I am trying to have a more balanced life.  After the stress of the last couple years, it has been great to just enjoy life.  Things are going well.  I have been going to the gym three or four times a week, and walking on the weekends.  I have been taking time to live.  For example, going to the pazar even when it would be quicker just to go to the grocery store.  The quality of the produce is so much better, and I really enjoy getting out and looking through all the wares.  

Bülent and I are also eating and living cleaner.  We are mostly vegetarian and I have been trying to use natural cleaning products, like this  vinegar orange cleanser.  I have also been preparing food for the work week during the weekend, which makes coming home from work and getting dinner ready less stressful. It also reduces the temptation to order take-out.  I have even been packing my own healthy lunch, rather than eating the free (fairly unhealthy) meals at work.

On the quest to have more balance, I decided to give up drinking for a month. I love wine as much as the next person, and have nothing against it, but I realized that a glass of wine after work was pretty habitual.   I thought that if I abstained for a month, it would make me more mindful of appreciating what I was drinking, and make it a decision rather than a habit.  Today my alcohol-free month is up.  I will be buying myself a lovely bottle of wine for my birthday this week.  Or, the makings for dirty martinis! Either way, I am sure it will be delicious!

martini

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!

School is Back!

I was on a posting roll, and now silence it back.  I am working on building new routines.  I have been away from the apartment for about seven months in total since January.  Coming back spurred re-organization and new projects.  I have also needed some time to re-acclimate and settle back in to Turkey.  I am also spending lots of time just enjoying being with my husband. 

Also work. School hasn’t started yet, but we have had a couple of weeks of teacher In-Service days, getting ready for the new semester.  I am excited about the new school year, and without the stress from last year, believe I will be a better teacher, person and friend this year.  I really did not have a lot of patience for anything last year, all my thoughts were at home. 

I am working on developing balance this year.  Balance for work, health and home.  (More on health balance in another post.)  I also have a few trips coming up, and am looking forward to those to.  Technically the New Year is in January, but for teachers, it really starts in September!