Greetings from Texas! We have arrived in the United States, safe and sound. As we exchanged tearful goodbyes with our dear Turkish friends, many of the women placed their head scarves edged with tiny hand-crocheted flowers (oya) in our hands asking us to remember them.
We traveled several hours to Istanbul by bus and then took a 14 hour flight the following day. After a three hour layover and another two hour flight, we arrived in Texas. The trip took close to 24 hours. The children slept about an hour each and I didn't sleep at all. Needless to say, we were dead tired upon landing.
We are all facing some culture shock. Everything is so inexpensive. (an example...gasoline is eight dollars a gallon in Turkey) Also, where's the roadside trash and mongrels? Why do people wear their shoes inside the house on clean carpet? My oldest daughters visited a local mall and came home with tales of bizarre behavior and strange clothing-nose rings, black lipstick, rear revealing pants, and unintelligible conversations. They find it rather strange that so many people use the word 'like' after every three our four words in a sentence. I find myself kissing my friends on both cheeks and answering the telephone in Turkish. But, overall, we are adjusting pretty well.
While still in Turkey, it took three weeks to sort through our household belongings. We could only ship to America our best furniture pieces, schoolbooks and some household items. We gave the rest away to some needy families from a nearby village. During the last week, in just one day, we gave away thousands of dollars worth of household items and toys that we had accumulated throughout the last 12 years. (There's no such thing as a 'garage sale' here or The Salvation Army) I wondered how in the world we would be able to replace it all. All I could do was give that little worry to the Great Provider and put on a cheerful smile as I watched the village ladies' eyes light up with pleasure at the sight of toys, lamps, linens, furniture, appliances and clothing, all free for the taking.
I needn't have worried. Upon arriving in the US, we learned that a dear friend of ours had already mustered her friends and resources together. These wonderful folks gathered up and donated many basic household items for our family. What a happy reminder that God is not only good, but so very kind to his children.