I am waking up everyday so excited for our new adventure. It is getting more and more real! I packed up most of the shipment that will be staying in Turkey (at the summer house) as well as the stuff that will be shipped to the US. We are going to be staying with some friends in Dallas for a while which will give us time to get phones, buy a car, maybe even get Texas drivers licenses. I have to get fingerprinted for my new school as well. We will get all the bureaucratic things done in Dallas, and then we will go on vacation in Austin with our friends. They were the friends we toured Texas with in 2012, and they came to visit us in Turkey last year. I apparently have been very lax on the blogging as I did not blog about the epic international fun. Anyway, we are incredibly excited to be moving close to our friends, Shawn was Bulent’s landlord when he was a grad student in Texas in the early 2000s. Their bromance has lasted and deepened over the years. I met Shawn’s wife Larinda in 2012, two years after she made and sent (to Turkey) the most beautiful shadow box with our wedding invitation and wedding photo. I was so glad we hit it off, and so excited that we will be closer in distance! Whee! 27 days and counting to the move!
Oh my! We have been paring down our belongings. What we are going to ship is already packed! And minimal! We have sold many of the things we will not be taking with us, the rest we will give to friends and family, or donate. My balcony is looking bare, since the flowers have been sold or given away, but I did keep keep the mesclun and chard plants. While Incek is far out of town, it is beautiful in the spring. We have been taking walks and enjoying our bucolic life while it lasts.
We have bought our plane tickets, which was more complicated than it sounds, as we bought our tickets so we could be together, but I am going to be reimbursed by my work for my ticket. It included several trips to HR, many calls to the purchasing office, and formal written requests. We have also started training Butterfinger to not completely loathe the carry bag she will be squished into and then in which she will be shoved under a seat. Poor baby. We have already given her her summer haircut so that she can recover from the embarrassment before she is completely demoralized from the bag.
Our next step is to get ourselves ready for the trip. We are going to get complete health and dental check ups before we leave. We have really comprehensive health insurance here, and procedures are pretty inexpensive. Wheeeeeee! I am so excited!
I talked about the reasons I had not been blogging, and part of it was that I could not fully express myself. We have had plans in the works, but they have been tenuous and uncertain. Bülent and I have been incredibly happy in Turkey. We have had so many adventures, travelled to so many places, and met so many people. When I first came, I was 24, young and excited. Everyday was an adventure. After six years in Turkey, everyday still brings joy and appreciation. Just last week I was stopped by strangers on the street while walking in my neighborhood, invited in for coffee and had a tour of their garden.
I have learned the language, and developed a deep understanding and appreciation of the nuances of the culture—my original goals. In the six years we have been in Turkey we have made friends, embarked on our careers, gotten married, moved twice, received a Masters and (almost) a PhD, and celebrated a decade of being partners. We have lost parents and grandparents, and we have loved. We have gained a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other.
Turkey will always have our hearts, and will always be home, we have so many friends and so much family here. We have loved our time in Turkey, but thinking about the future and our careers, we have decided it is time to move on. It is time for a new adventure. The next couple of months will be filled with packing, details, saying goodbye and excitement. We are moving back to the United States.
Wait for us Austin! We’ll be there soon!
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.
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.
In the beginning of the summer we did a road trip. We started off in Texas with a visit with Bülent’s BFF Shawn. I was able to visit with Shawn again and meet his wife Larinda. They were great hosts, I had never been to Texas before and they had planned an awesome trip. We visited in Fort Worth, near their home, then hopped in the truck and started the first leg of the road trip. We drove to Austin, took a look around and then headed to the Salt Lick BBQ, a little bit out of town. There was meat, meat and more meat! It was amazing!
From there we drove to Fredericksburg where we hit up a few wineries and then stayed in an adorable cottage right off the main street. A former German settlement, the buildings and cuisine have an authentic German flair. I went running each morning we were there (Not optional: The food was amazing. Example: Duck Hash with Eggs. *Duck* Hash!) It was fun, because running along there was so much to look at and enjoy. The town had lots of great local wine, since it was close to the wineries. It also had some really fun kitschy shops where you could buy useless but amusing things.
For your information the glassware, jam jars with stems, was billed as “Texas Crystal Wine Glasses.” Clearly all about the class. There were also quite a few fudge shops. This is pretty typical in tourist towns, apparently people walking the streets for souvenirs love to court diabetes and heart disease and pack away that delicious mixture of sugar and butter. There were also some novelty treats.
Chocolate Covered Bacon
Chocolate Covered Jalapeños
Chocolate Covered Pickles
I talked with the teenagers selling the atrocities, and and they insisted people actually bought the “treats” and that they were pretty good. I pressed them, Really? They are actually tasty? The boys said they liked the bacon and jalapeños. But they remained suspiciously quiet regarding the deliciousness of the chocolate covered pickles.
From there we went to a small winery near Luckenbach, named Sister Creek.
It was a small place and informal. When we said yes, we would like to see the winery, we we told to just on on through and come back to taste when we were ready. We had run of the place. It was like a dream!
Generally I prefer dry wines, Sister Creek had a lovely Muscat Canneli that was fairly sweet, almost effervescent and delicious! We bought a bottle to bring back to NH and another for a hostess gift on the return leg of our road trip.
From there we went down to San Antonio. We spent a night enjoying the River Walk, and in the morning went to the Alamo. Then we drove back on up to Fort Worth. I had never been to Texas before, and Shawn and Larinda went to great lengths to plan a lovely vacation and show us around the state. From pit BBQ to wineries to Chocolate covered bacon, we had a blast!