Turkey

November Recap/Update

I think if writing and I were in a relationship, Facebook would list it as “it’s complicated”. The other week I tried to challenge myself to write in my journal every day. Long story short, I failed miserably and quickly. I tried to update this blog every two weeks, and now at only my fourth post in, I sailed right past that mark over a week ago. I’ve already had a few of my readers ask when I’ll update, which has been incredibly encouraging and humbling, but the pressure’s on! Maybe that’s a good thing 🙂

A lot has happened since my last post. I’ve since fallen into a smooth-running routine of homeschool, lesson planning, and exploring. I’ve applied for my residence visa, which consisted of going to 80 million different buildings and offices, getting a signature here, then going three flights up to get a receipt there, then driving to the next town over to register there, then coming back and paying here etc. Evidently convenience and efficiency are not high priorities here. I’ve started Turkish lessons with a language helper three times a week. Learning an entirely new language with no prior knowledge of it is very humbling. It’s hard to have any pride when I can’t even ask where the bathroom is. I baked for the first time last week. Baking in another country is mentally exhausting. It takes infinitely more energy when I have to convert grams to ounces and Fahrenheit to Celsius, and Google translate the words for the simplest things like, sugar, flour, and butter before I leave the house to go to the grocery store. But, when my banana bread comes out of the oven looking not so different than banana bread should, I feel that much more accomplished. I’ve also been getting used to – and maybe even embracing – line-drying my clothes, not using a garbage disposal, and always having Nescafe as my only coffee option.

We’ve been getting into a good groove with homeschool now. I’m greeted at the front door each morning by the padding of feet, muffled giggles, hugs wrapped around my legs, and little hands leading/grabbing me inside. It’s so fun to witness these minds finally understanding a concept and seeing it click in their eyes. It’s fun to hear the first I Love You’s as I leave at the end of the school day and the accidental “Mom – I mean – Auntie Sarah” slip out. It’s fun to see them finally get excited about a subject they have always dreaded. I’ve started jotting down all the silly and ridiculous phrases I hear throughout the day so I won’t forget any.

Here's a little glimpse into the homeschool life!
Here’s a little glimpse into the homeschool life!

I’ve mentioned on here before that the town I’m living in is nestled in heart of Cappadocia, a region of Turkey that’s known for its underground cities and cave churches, both occupied by first century Christians. Before Cappadocia fell to the Ottoman Empire, Christianity was popular – think the Bible Belt of Turkey. As there became more and more Christians, more and more churches began popping up. Homes and churches were carved right into the rock formations.  Underground cities also existed as places of safety for the persecuted Christians. Many of the churches are still standing today and I had the opportunity to go inside them. I got to edge my way through rocked-formed corridors, saw etched out rooms and graves. Most impressive and breathtaking though were the beautifully preserved Byzantine frescos that were painted across the walls and ceilings of the churches almost a millennium ago, their bright colors lightening up the dark caves. The frescos depict pictures of saints and martyrs, Christ’s crucifixion and ascension, and other biblical scenes. What an experience to be able to stand in the same rooms that first century Christians once lived and worshiped in.

transfiguration-fresco
I did not take this. Please don’t get me in trouble with the scary Turkish security guards.

God has been teaching me a lot about trust lately. Funny how He leads me 6,000 miles away from home to learn to rest in only Him. I still have the what-the-heck-am-I-doing-here moments from time to time and the waves of uneasiness and inadequacy start crashing around me. But the more I cling to Jesus and embrace all that He is doing in my life, the more I feel the waters subside and peace wash over me. I’m so grateful for this journey I’m on, and so, so blessed to have you all following along.

P.S. My dear, dear, North Dakota readers: today everyone here was complaining about how cold the weather is…a “chilly” 46 degrees 🙂

4 thoughts on “November Recap/Update”

  1. Sarah, It is so good to hear from you. To stay in each moment with out thinking too much is always a challenge for me…trust that God breathes life in each moment…oh, to have the eyes to see, the ears to hear! Blessings to you and the family you work for!

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  2. As I read your posts, your descriptions come alive and I’m able to walk through the scenes with you. Thank you for sharing your journey, you are thought of daily and continuous in my prayers. Miss you and lots of love 🙂

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