Why the Heck Are You in Turkey and Other Frequently Asked Questions

With a year of Turkey under my belt, I’ve noticed a lot of the same questions begin to crop up from time to time. Although there may be more, here are a handful that I could come up with. Enjoy!

(but first some pictures…)

1. Okay, so, what exactly are you doing in Turkey?
My Instagram tends to only show pictures of the crazy landscape, cats, coffee, and my face. But in between all that, I teach! I am a homeschool helper for a family with four kids (ages 4, 7, 8, and 10). Simply put, I come to their home every day and we do homeschool together. My days are filled with learning about birds in science, trying to get through math without tears (or maybe that’s just Auntie Sarah), teaching piano, building forts, hugging, laughing, and learning. It’s busy and exciting and exhausting and full in all the best ways possible.

2. How did you find out about this opportunity?
Maybe this sounds contrived or corny, but it’s truly only something the Lord could have orchestrated. Who knew homeschool helpers were a thing?? Not me. And I especially didn’t know of its existence when my life took a sharp turn in a completely different direction during college – academically speaking and otherwise. After three years of pursuing an Elementary Education degree (and just three semesters away from graduation), I found myself starting completely fresh at a little bible school in Minnesota. Many of my prayers during that season started out as, “Um, hi, God. I know you’re always in control but what the junk are you doing??”. BUT THEN I was connected with a couple who were alumni of the same school and were looking for someone to come to the other side of the world to help teach their kids. Teaching in Turkey? Sign me up! Isn’t it amazing how God uses every experience (and half-finished degrees) in our lives? Even seemingly “wasted ones”. Sometimes it’s only in retrospect that we can see just how much the Lord is in the details of life. It’s only when we look back that we see this perfect composition of the Father’s plans for us.

3. So are you, like, fluent in Turkish now?
The other day I walked into a local office supply store on the way back home from school. Behind the counter was a little boy strumming (a word I use very loosely) on a kid-size guitar. When he saw me, he began confidently counting to ten in English. I took that opportunity to wow him with my skillz and counted back to him in Turkish…and that’s about as advanced as my language learning goes. I wish WISH WISH I had more time to learn but with teaching full time and my life being primarily focused on four American kiddos, intense language learning doesn’t exactly fit into my schedule at the moment. I’ve picked up “survivor Turkish” and feel comfortable enough getting around, ordering food, taking the bus, and greeting neighbors. Maybe someday the opportunity will present itself for me to learn more Turkish… Inshallah.

4. Cool. So what’s the food like? Is there NORMAL food!?
Lots of lamb. Lots of kebabs. Lots of rice. Lots of bread. And yogurt over everything. It’s a little bit Middle Eastern, a little bit Mediterranean, and a little bit Balkan all spun into a yummy Turkish cuisine. As far as my daily diet goes, yes, there are ~normal~ grocery stores here and weekly bazars with lots of fresh fruit and veggies, although pre-packaged, ultra-preservative packed foods are pretty non-existent (shout out to you, Easy Mac). Tonight, for example, I made myself quinoa and stir-fry veggies (and maybe a mug of hot chocolate).  However, let’s take a moment of silence for all the bacon I cannot eat.

5. Do you ever feel unsafe?
Aside from questions about food, this one is probably the most frequently asked – and most often from the middle-age mom demographic. I’ve held off writing on anything related to this topic for a while because the things happening in this area of the world are so much more complicated and difficult than I can wrap my head around, let alone have the words to form into a blog post. In short, yes, I do feel safe. I live in a lovely, little, uneventful town tucked away in Cappadocia. The feeling of being in danger rarely, if ever, crosses my mind. Regardless, Turkey needs lots of prayer – prayer for God’s guidance and peace and healing. We are living in such an important time in history. Please, keep yourselves awake to the events happening in the world and your hearts focused on God.

6. How long will you be in Turkey?
A year? 3 years? 100 years??? Good question with no exact answer. For now, I’m trusting the Lord and enjoying the ride 🙂

Are there more burning questions you have? Like, what’s up with all those awkward-shaped rock things? Was Star Wars actually filmed there? What continent is Turkey REALLY on? Ask away! 

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