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!
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!
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!
Texas. Even the meat is bigger. BBQ…what were YOU thinking?
Last week we had the good fortune to visit some good friends of ours. Bülent flew from Turkey to Dallas and I met him there.
When Bülent first moved to the U.S., Shawn was his landlord. He became much more than that though, he and and wife, became very good friends with Bülent. He even was the one to give Bülent his precious Butterfinger. So last week we flew to Texas, from our own respective airports. Our hosts gave us an amazing tour of Texas. One of the first experiences we were introduced to was “Texas Barbeque.” From Dallas we drove to Austin, where outside of the city we went to Salt Lick BBQ. It was BYOB, and we could smell the meat from miles away.
On the menu was summer sausage, brisket, pork ribs, smoked turkey, chicken and beef ribs. Below you see sausage, brisket and pork ribs being prepared.
I couldn’t decide between brisket and pork ribs, so I had both! They were served with a side of beans, potato salad and coleslaw. Everything was fabulous, but I was surprised by the coleslaw. It was surprisingly light, more of a vinaigrette than a mayonnaise laden dressing. Wicked tasty!
More on Texas and the food soon!