Monday, May 08, 2006

About our Family

When we first arrived in Turkey, we lived in a huge metropolis. Our home was located in a thirteen-story apartment building. There was no place for our children to play, except for a small dry field of weeds and trash--a far cry from American suburbia. This was very hard for me. However, it was an exciting place to live. The streets were crammed with traffic, nobody obeying the rules, yet everyone somehow knowing just how to maneuver their way through the endless maze of streets and vendors. We were living in a gold mine; the envy of many lovers of history. Ephesus, ancient Troy, King Midas’ home, the Hittites, Crusader castles and Ottoman palaces, the Haggia Sophia--it was all around me.


I felt like a baby wherever I went because I didn’t know the language. For months it was a great stressor for me to go to the local grocery store and ask for cheese or meat. Did I say that right? Why doesn’t he understand me? I remember asking for a half kilo of ground meat, realizing later that I had asked for an air conditioner. Once, I asked my daughter to give me a kiss. Later I realized why everyone was chuckling at me. I had asked her to plant a piece of trash on my face, rather than kiss. My friend did something even worse. She was trying to ask for two loaves of fresh bread, but instead asked for two fresh MEN! Ha! Fortunately, those days are over and we are comfortable with the language.


In 1999 we survived the great earthquake that killed over 18,000 people, with just a few cracks in our walls and broken tiles. Our building swayed like a sapling in the breeze. It was an amazing experience. My husband helped pull survivors out of the rubble. The following year was very difficult for us. We didn’t actually feel ‘fear’ and yet we continually dreamed about our building falling down. It didn’t help that smaller earthquakes and aftershocks continued for several months requiring us to sleep in our van along with thousands of others folks, time and time again.


A few years ago we moved to a smaller, less populated city, since my husband’s translation business is mostly run via the Internet. We wanted to live in a more family friendly area.


We would like to buy a home, but have not been able to do so, as yet. Meanwhile, we live in a rented building on the outskirts of a small village. My children think we've died and gone to heaven. They can now roam the hillsides and run through green grass. Cattle and chickens share the fields with them. The downside is that there is no sewer system so we have to be careful where we walk. Even the gardens are watered with sewage. Our well is very shallow and the water unsafe to drink. We have to put bleach in the bathwater for the children and the well runs dry every summer. The bottom of our home is a stable for our landlord’s cows and chickens. The smell is not always sweet. These are a few of the difficulties we now face, but I wouldn’t trade if for the city. It is our home sweet home.


6 comments:

  1. Wow, and I complain about cleaning toilets! You are true inspiration, and I will continue to check back with you!

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  2. Dana2.1.07

    Thank you so much for sharing this - I am fascinated when you share your life happenings and this puts much more into perspective. So different from what I know.
    Now, the picture of your husband .... that's well, interesting.

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  3. Just curious. If your husband's work is mostly online why do you still live in Turkey?
    I'm fascinated!

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  4. Actually, we lived in a large city because my husband was invited to teach at a university there. After a serious recession, he started his own business. Even though he works internationally via internet, he still needs native speakers. So he has several Turkish employees.

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  5. Betty3.1.07

    You are such an inspiration, Linda! From reading your posts I imagined your home and life almost posh. But it causes us to appreciate your nuggets of wisdom all the more knowing what you are rising above daily. The Lord is so gracious. I forget that the best fruit comes from pruned trees. May He work that in our lives, too.

    Betty

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  6. How fascinating. I was able to be in the Philippines for 3 weeks some years ago and in Mexico this last summer. The noise and color of the cities there were amazing to this rural girl. I loved it. My dream vacation would be to the East or Middle-East.

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