Turkey

The Sum of My Ordinary Adventures  

Processed with VSCOcam with 5 preset But first some news…  Here’s some maybe-not-exciting-for-you-but-exciting-for-me news: As of now, my URL no longer contains that pesky “wordpress” in it! This little corner of the web is officially OneFootOnBoth Dot Com – much less of a jumble-y mouthful to pronounce. I have now taken a stride towards becoming a real, legitimate blogger. Okay, okay, I use those two descriptors pretty loosely. Real, legitimate bloggers probably update more than once every 800 years and have readers who are not just their mom. I might have a little way to go before reaching that status.

“Why would you shell out 6 big Washingtons just to change the little letters in the white box?” you probably didn’t ask. Well, this little blog will be around a little longer than I originally planned. Because…*cue the imaginary drumroll*

…I have officially decided to return to Turkey in the fall!

After a quick jaunt across the ocean where I’ll enjoy some time in the Upper Midwest for the summer, I’ll be back in Cappadocia for a second school year. The kids here are great, the weather is great, and Starbucks is now only an hour away, so, obviously, it was an easy decision to make. I would so appreciate you, readers, joining me in praying as I prepare to transition home in June and prepare again to head back to Turkey in the fall.

Alright, enough about the nerdy blogger stuff…

If you read my previous post, you heard about the great time I had with two very special visitors. It was a fun post to write up because I was able to recall the situations my parents and I got ourselves into, comical language barrier conversations we had, crazy tour guides, delicious food, and the quality time we got to spend together. In the wake of the two-week whirlwind around the country, life has returned to the ordinary. It’s kind of like being ejected into the calm, quiet waters of a pool after plummeting down a swirling waterslide. The waters here are calm, quiet, and, well, very normal. How do you write interesting blog posts when life is ordinary? What’s there to write about when there are no motion-sickness-inducing taxi rides? No overly friendly store hasselers to escape from? No shuttles going the wrong way and no sprinting through airports? What happens when life is going totally okay? It’s easy (and more interesting) to write about the action-packed, the uncomfortable, and the unbelievable. The great task, however, is writing about the ordinary, the safe, and the seamless.

I’ve been keeping up (more or less) on my journaling, and just a quick flip through the worn pages shows quite ordinary sentences splattered across it – sentences that contain the everyday and the mundane. I tend to seesaw between left and right brain dominance, but in many of my posts the left hemisphere qualities manifest themselves in the form of lists. So here is a list of ordinary, safe, and seamless sentences describing life lately:

  • I pass the same little girl on the way to school each morning. In fact, I’m able to judge how early or late I am by where we cross paths. We usually don’t really acknowledge each other, but the other day, she ran up to me with a dandelion in hand and a big smile across her face. I accepted the yellow flower, saying “thank you so much!” over and over again in my awful Turkish, and stuck it behind my ear.
  • Along with a smattering of dandelions framing the sidewalks, comes an abundance of every other wildflower and blossom. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed spring until I moved to Cappadocia. Unfortunately, where I’m from in the States, we don’t experience this season. In North Dakota, one day it’s a blizzard with white-out conditions and then – bam! – the next day it’s 80 degrees. And that’s how Midwesterners get from winter to summer. But with spring in Turkey, the trees are filled with so many pink and purple blossoms, and the grass is sprinkled with daisies, clovers, and poppies. We’re studying Botany for science at school, so we have a blast taking nature “hikes” around the yard, pretending to be scientists, and examining all the pretty plant life that surrounds us.
  • Another fun part of homeschool is our Friday tradition of walking to the bread shop across the street to get simit and poğaça for lunch. Each child has a specific job during these expeditions. I keep a note of who does what each week on my phone so everyone gets an equal chance doing each job. It’s all very serious business. Job number one is The Talker (the most coveted job), job number two is The Money Giver (a very important role and not to be taken lightly), and the third job is The Bread Carrier (no one’s favorite, but, hey, we all have to pay our dues). I’ll save my spiel on simit for another time because you can just scroll down a little and read all about my adoration for the little rings of delight.
  • I frequently visit a coffee shop in Göreme, a town nearby. Because Starbucks is not so close (I should probably stop mentioning Starbucks…it’s not like I’m obsessed or anything, OKAY!?…), this particular cafe is a great place to escape and get some work done. The baristas are starting to recognize me, which I find equal parts embarrassing and flattering. I also may or may not find the old school Snoop Dogg blaring overhead oddly comforting during bouts homesickness.
  • Living here you have to be ready for pretty much anything to happen. It’s not unusual for the electricity to go out or the water to shut off for a few hours or days. Sometimes if I’m really lucky I might even get a heads up from our landlords, which gives time to jump into the shower or charge laptops and phones. It’s normal to have my external battery pack charged and have jugs of water stashed away. Seriously, if we ever experience a zombie apocalypse, come to my house (if you’re not a zombie yet, obviously) and I’ll hook you up.’
  • Being out in public means being ready to dodge any potential Turkish marriage proposals. No matter how beautiful the flower napkins are or how impressive the complimentary fruit platter arraignment is, just say “No”.
  • With tourist season in full swing, the buses are stuffed full, which means getting cozy standing nose to back with lots of strangers, hearing lots of languages, smelling lots of…smells, and observing lots of confused Westerners.
  • Look out the window and you’ll see that Cappadocia traffic can consist of a Mercedes Benz tour bus, a horse, a Coca Cola truck, and a tractor all in a line at any given moment. On one side of the street you’ll see a group of covered ladies with their vests and shawls wrapped around their shoulders, toting their produce home from the bazar, and on the other side you’ll see groups of tourists wearing shorts and tank tops, snapping pictures with their selfie sticks.

Sometimes great adventures can make for great writing. But life isn’t always outrageous debacles, hilarious mishaps, or peculiar sights.  Sometimes topics for writing are a little less conspicuous. Sometimes in the ebb and flow of daily life there can be found completely ordinary adventures that, when written down, make for extraordinary memories. Readers, thanks for following my ordinary and extraordinary adventures these past six months. I can’t wait to have you along for the ride next year too.

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