Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Arrival and Adjustment

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.


  1. Oh Dear-
    I am so delighted to read this! I have been wondering if you had yet arrived in the States. So glad you all made it. I hope you are all rested up from your long flights.

    Don't feel bad. Sometimes we venture out into the 'real world', and I am also faced with culture shock. I am sure it is not the same thing, but we are usually very shocked with the things we see in our 'normal' culture too. yikes.

    What a blessing to give all of those nice things to the Turkish women. I am sorry you had to leave a place and people you dearly loved, but security it is to know the Lord in spite of it all.

    Anyway... we have been looking online at property in TX. I cannot remember where you may decide to land permanently (TX or elsewhere), but, if you get to, you are always welcome to stop in here. Otherwise, if you stay in TX, we may stop in on you... after you get settled, of course!

    Blessings and greetings from your friends in IN.
    love, J

  2. I'm so glad you have returned safely to the states. And Praise the Lord for His abundant provision to your family! I'm reminded of the scripture that says 'Give and it will be given to you pressed down, shaken together and running over!' You blessed those around you who were in need and God has met you with abundant blessing! Glad the trip went well, although long. And don't worry about the culture shock - I have it just going from England to America everytime! The cheapness of everything is a blessing at least - enjoy the bargains! :o)

  3. It's amazing that you speak of the low prices, while my husband and I are in the middle of a discussion about how prices have gone up! It is all relative, isn't it? We need to remember how blessed we are to live here.

    I am so sorry you had to leave your home, but I do confess I am thrilled to know that you are in Texas! :)


  4. So glad to read about your update. I think it will just as fascinating to read about the culture shock as it was to read about your life in Turkey. I will have to agree with one of the above comments in that I am shocked repeatedly when I venture out at what people wear, say, and do.

    Welcome to the US!! Glad you arrived safe and sound.

  5. Welcome back to the States ! Praying you and your family are settled and rested soon.

    God Bless.

  6. I am at a loss as to the proper words to give you comfort, but please know we have grieved for your loss and prayed for your safe return to the states and that you will find fulfillment here as well. What a blessing you have been to us and so many and selfishly speaking we hope to meet you here in Texas someday. We would love to help you out in any way.

    love from a fellow Texan, Jamie

  7. Michele@Philoxenos6.2.08

    I wish I could say that the culture shock will dissipate quickly, but I've been in the States for 6 months after living abroad for ten years, and sometimes it hits me like a truck. I encourage you to maintain those traditions and customs that helped mold your family while overseas. My husband grew up overseas as well and he said he's never really fit in anywhere. Be encouraged - this is not our home.

  8. Texas is big, but if you're where the streets are named for the heroes of the Alamo, then you've got an instant friend if you want one.

  9. So glad you are safe and provided for.

  10. I've done that 24-36 hour travel to Asia a few times. There is never any sleep involved.

    Sorry you had to leave Turkey.

    It is amazing how God provides, sometimes it is just beans and rice, but that is fine.

  11. Welcome to the states, Linda. I'm glad you had a safe journey. It's very...strange...thinking of you being only a few hundred miles away rather than thousands. =)

    I understand about the culture shock. But know that sometimes all it takes is that trip to the mall to send a "local" into bewilderment!

    After reading about having to give away your household goods and toys and such, I'm wondering if you gave away the dollhouse and the rocking horse? My husband and I studied those items on your blog before Christmas as we sought ideas for toys for our own children...I'm thinking of Turkish children enjoying them now, but maybe not?

    Anyway, thank you for the update. I'm looking forward to reading about the outdoor discoveries you, and especially your children, will make in the states. I always have enjoyed your nature blog and the pictures from your travels.



  12. Anonymous6.2.08

    I remember when my husband, new born son and 4 Turkish cats and one dog that came over with us and went back with us boarded those planes to head home. This was in August of 1993.

    I also remember the culture shock we went through. I was overwhelmed over the many choices we had and what seemed like an abundance of things and buildings. That was kind of funny because we had lived in Izmir where there where 1000's of tall buildings. It was just so strange being back. I was scared, neverous and confused. But in due time we adjusted.

    Praying for you as you settle into this new journey the Lord has put you on.

    Beth Johnson
    Montgomery, Al

  13. Welcome back to the US! So glad you arrived safely. Do you have any specific prayer needs we can lift up for you as you settle in?

  14. Congratulations! You have been given the Excellent Blog Award! Please stop by to pick it up:

  15. Lori6.2.08

    Lindafay...you are an amazingly strong woman...may God continue to bless you and your family!

    Looking forward to hearing more about your adjustment to life in the US, and continued wisdom and insight about life in general!

  16. Welcome to Texas. I hope you enjoy our wonderful state!

  17. A big Texas Howdy Y'all!!! You reckon y'all gonna stay a spell?

    Welcome and I hope that you guys get all settled in soon. Don't know your wearabouts but I just north of Houston.

  18. Blessing are abundant when you are one of God's children. Hope you are continuing to adjust ok!

  19. Welcome to Texas! I'm glad to hear you all made it back to the U.S. Just think....you'll have air conditioning this summer!!!!

    From a fellow Texan,

  20. Sharron6.2.08

    I have tears in my eyes! I'm glad you made it safely. I can only imagine what America must look like to your children! Stay out of the malls! :)

  21. Welcome back to America.

    Glad you're here safe and sounds, and it's good to hear friends are already taking care of you!

  22. I'm glad you are here in the US safe and sound. What a transition, eh? God bless you all as you adjust to this crazy country. And praise God for His provision.


  23. Neat story! The friends you left behind will always remember you and have those generous gifts to remind them. And now you are the recipients of more generosity.

  24. Hi Lindafay!

    Your blog has been such an encouragement to me since I started reading it last September. I was so surprised to see all the changes that have happened as of late.

    Here, our world has been turned upside down in the last couple of years. Sometimes the Lord is our only stability. How comforting to know that He never changes and He is always there!

    We pray that your family will be blessed back here in the States. He will bring good out of it all.

    God bless you and your family!

  25. Anonymous7.2.08

    Welcome to your mission field! ;)
    Tarheel Mama

  26. What a whirlwind for you all! I'm sure it will take a while to settle in and feel like this is normal again. One of the things that overwhelmed me when I returned to the US after only nine months, was having so many options for everything. A simple thing like buying dental floss becomes so much more stressful when faced with 40 different choices!
    I hope that the time is peaceful for your family, and I'm thankful to hear of how well you are being cared for. Many blessings,

  27. Welcome to Texas. Hope you like it here.

    Lori Carr

  28. homeskoolmom8.2.08

    I've been wondering if you were in the states yet. What beautiful scarfs. Thanks for the perspective on the gas prices here, lol. Sometimes I get culture shock when I venture to the mall and I've lived in the states all my life :)
    God bless you and yours as you transition.

  29. Welcome to Texas! Where did you end up moving to? I'm near Dallas... it would be awesome if you were close and could grace us with your presence at our monthly CM meetings! Hope you are settling in well! :)

    Be Blessed,

  30. Jeanne8.2.08

    Wow, I am so glad you guys made it safely to the States. We love Texas! My husband and I both grew up there. We are in the Pacific NW, but still miss many things about TX -- mostly family!

    How wonderful to hear how God provided for you after your generous offerings to your neighbors in Turkey.

    We continue to look forward to your posts, Linda, as you get settled into your new life here and all that God has in store for your family.

    Jeanne S.

  31. Many thanks and hugs for the warm welcome. You all are just wonderful. I appreciate it that you took the time out of your busy schedules to make us feel welcome.

    Trish, I am touched that you asked if we have any prayer requests. We are seeking direction for the next adventure in our life. We'd love for you to mention us to the Father whenever you think of it. We need to hear from him. Right now we are getting some needed rest and refreshment from folks dear to us.

    At the last minute we were able to fit in the doll house, but not the rocking horse. I am thankful that we were able to keep at least one of them. The horse was loved by all four of our children and passed on to some Turkish friends who, I'm sure will give it lots of love and care.

    Ladies, I'm not much of a blog reader. I just don't have enough time, but I do try to stop by your blogs when you leave me a comment and leave a calling card whenever I can. Please know that even though I am not a very good blogger I appreciate each one of you.

  32. Krakovianka9.2.08

    Reverse culture shock is very real--I sympathize with you all. Praying, too, that you all adjust quickly and see God's clearly leading for What Comes Next.

  33. So glad you made it here and have settled in. How hard it must have been to leave things behind. We have such a comfortable life here in the States compared to others - with an overabundance of "stuff". God bless you for the sacrifices your family made.

  34. OH...you're here!

    I imagine that there would be quite a bit of culture shock!
    Yes...everything is outwardly clean...but the hearts...well, that's another matter.


  35. I'm afraid I haven't been around for a while, so it was quite a surprise to come by & find out that you are now in the same state as I am! Bless your hearts, I can't even imagine what you've been through. My dh was an Army brat & lived in Turkey for 18 months.

    I pray that you are receiving what you need.

  36. What? You're in America, too? I have some catching up to do! It's funny how your observations are similar to ours: the prices are a shock, but in the opposite direction. . . everything is cheaper in Russia. Yes, I keep trying to kiss people. I can't figure out what language to answer the phone in, and shoes indoors. . .?!?

  37. Anonymous14.3.08


    I just ran across your blog from a link on another blog--can't even remember which one now--and saw that you've not only lived in Turkey but are now in Texas. Welcome! We're a homeschooling family in TX also, but I spent a summer in Turkey as an exchange student and went back w/ my husband about 11 years later. We were in Istanbul for our visit, but I lived in Istanbul and Armutlu while there in High School. WOW--what memories all those pictures and comments on your site brought back. I laughed at the list of customs--love that the road lines are only "suggestions"! We still laugh about the horrific driving of our Turkish family members. Let me know if you find any lagimacun that's worthwhile here in TX (forgive the spelling--what little Turkish I picked up is VERY rusty). We have yet to find anything even remotely authentic near us (Central TX). Thanks for the great CM info. on your blog and the wonderful trip down memory lane!


  38. txqueenbee,
    I'm so glad you got to reminisce a little bit while visiting!

  39. What a lovely post. Just the photo and first paragraph had me choked up and nodding in understanding. I can't wait to get done with my school responsibilities and read how this came about and everything that has happened since.
    Culture shock on reentry is so real and so little appreciated. We go from being obvious foreigners who are beloved for our attempts to blend in to being underground strangers who get funny looks for not understanding what is going on in what is presumed to be our own culture.
    If you can get Third Culture Kids, it may have a lot of resonance.