Well, there’s not a lot for little pre-schoolers to do here. Now that Evan’s swimming lesson is over we thought we would check out the library story time. There was a dog for the kids to pet, stories, and crafts. It was so crowded! Lots of sweet Turkish nannies there. Ours stayed home to cook some fabulous Turkish food. These women put my cooking to shame.
Side note – is it normal for a 22-month old to be a bully? Evan pulled a little girl off a play set, she fell down and hit her head on a bookcase. I felt so bad…and angry…and not sure what to do. Five minutes earlier he was sweetly hugging and sharing. Ugh, parenting is confusing. I took him out to the car and we went home, but I’m not sure he understood why.
I’ve been trying to get Evan to eat eggs since he was about 8 months old. I’ve tried all kinds of eggs and cooking methods. It’s been 13 months with no success – until now. Introducing: Turkish eggs. You buy these eggs at the market. They come in this sketch-looking carton totally unrefrigerated off a Turkish guy’s truck:
The actual egg looks better than even the most expensive organic eggs I’ve bought in the US. They have thick shells and bright orange, thick yolks that stand up tall. I didn’t edit this picture:
These eggs must be organic and free-range judging by the look at taste, but not because of some idealistic idea like in the US. It’s more like Turkey just does things the old-fashioned way. The market produce also seems organic, not as a special thing but just because they grow old-fashioend non-GMO seeds out in a field then go out and harvest by hand. Most unbelievable of it all is the price. A large bag of veggies runs around $0.50, a large bag of fruit runs around $1.00, and THREE DOZEN of these fabulous eggs was about $3.50. That’s less than one dozen of the organic, free-range eggs they had in California that Evan wouldn’t eat. Here he is chowing down:
I bought some things. I usually don’t have the time or enough interest to go out and buy things for my house, but this is a special situation. We still have only what we brought in our suitcases, plus our Air Force-issued rental furniture, plus a few things people have lent/given us like toys and kitchen gear. So, our house kind of feels like a really big hotel. I ventured off base and found a couple of really fun Turkish housewares that have given me SO much joy, it’s weird. They make it finally feel like home, I think – since it’s something that’s uniquely ours. There are so many beautiful things in Turkey, by the way! First, I found this gorgeous crystal bowl with a Turkish design that’s hard to see in the picture. The bowl kind of changes color depending on what angle you see it from. It was SO inexpensive compared to crystal in the US!
Then, today we all went out to a Turkish shop and I got this hand-painted platter. It’s textured from the paint and made locally:
In a totally unrelated story, Evan got invited to a birthday party for a little boy turning 2 – at the bowling alley! Who knew they made toddler bowling shoes and even have a little ramp they can push the ball down onto the lane? Too cute. Evan got 2nd out of 5 but I was really most excited about these little shoes. Accessories! Evan loved watching his ball go down the lane as you can see here:
Last weekend we made a trip to Cappadocia. It’s about 3 hours north of here, a really cool area with underground cave cities and cave churches from early Christians (10-12th century). The Goreme Open Air Museum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was our favorite part. Christians created this beautiful cave city complete with many churches. You can still see the beautiful paintings on the walls inside. It was chilling to stand in a place like this, and to hear the Muslim call to prayer at the same time. Turkey has such a fascinating history and we’re excited to see more.
The town here was charming, with Turkish shops and restaurants along a river. We weren’t sure what we were ordering for dinner but ended up with a traditional meal – lamb and chicken stews cooked in clay pots. At the restaurant they cut the pots open at your table with a sword. It was delicious. Even the hotels in the town are in caves, and beautifully decorated:
The Turkish guys running the hotel loved Evan and played with him while we ate breakfast. They taught him some dances and gave him to some Chinese women to share their breakfast. It’s still crazy to see how comfortable they are taking children here. The same thing happened when we went to an underground city. The area has these whole cities dug underground like caves and whole Christian communities hid there to avoid persecution. Anyway, two Turkish teenagers took Evan through the caves while we followed behind just watching. Our gardener told us Turkish people believe they get blessed by making a child happy, so maybe that’s what’s going on. We’ve also heard that Turkish people believe a child with blue eyes wards off evil. I wish I knew the culture and language better so I could understand. It’s a work in progress.
Living on Incirlik is like being in the movie The Truman Show. It’s very surreal. You’re in the middle of a Muslim country that seems very third world in this area but on base it’s a little fake American city. Except its not like the city evolved naturally like a normal city. Actually, one big planner designed the city, owns the whole thing, and put it all there in the middle of the desert. Library, bowling alley, pool, arts and crafts, home store, grocery store, you name it. Even mini golf. It’s kind of hard to explain but just kind of weird and surreal.
Anyway, it’s still a small town and the base pool is a pretty big deal. We go almost every day and see lots of people we know. Evan had his first swim lesson there today and loved it!
We got blessed this week with two dear friends coming to visit! Kate and Angela (roomie) are Erin’s friends from the Air Force Academy. They both fly C-17s and flew through this week. It was so great to see close friends in a far-away place. Kate has spent a lot of time here and helped us order our first real Turkish meal. It was delicious. The cheese bread is dangerously good. Roomie and Evan have a special bond and loved seeing each other!
Tom is still inprocessing. So much inprocessing. His clinic is nice and I came for an OB appointment Thursday. The baby is 14 weeks with a strong heart beat around 160bpm! Way to survive my ridiculous moving across the world and workouts, baby. Proud of you. 🙂 It sounds like for sure I’ll be spending at least 6 weeks in Germany to deliver in January. Anyone interested in a vacation to Germany?
I returned to the market again. The markets here are great. Some of my purchases:
1.5 lbs white cherries – $1.25
Large loaf of freshly baked sourdough and a cookie – $0.50
3 cucumbers – free (wasn’t worth his time to charge me for only 3?)
In other news, Evan is a thief. From what I can tell, every family on our street has young children and they leave their toys in their carport (no garages). Evan’s favorite pastime is going around the street taking toys while I chase him around putting them back.
“This is what this one does”:
Plotting his next move:
Our kind friends took us to a Turkish market this weekend. After seeing the limited produce options on base, it was awesome to see all the fresh produce for sale. Even better, the prices are SO low. We got more fruits, veggies, and eggs than we could carry for around $10. We’re trying to work on our Turkish language skills but it’s slow going. For now we can pretty much only say “hi, thank you, and how much?”
Evan was a big hit at the market again. He had a drove of Turkish children following him around and he wanted to hold hands and jump in the air with them:
I’m still amazed at the way Turkish people just come and pick up children. This guy just came and grabbed Evan to give him a hug, put him on the scale, and offer us a price for him (joking around). Evan totally gets a kick out of it!
Here’s more of Evan’s admirers. Later a young boy like this saw Evan, ran into his house, and came out carrying his baby sister for Evan to meet. Very sweet.
I love these Turkish women. Turkey is such an interesting mix of traditional, covered women and less traditional. She kept trying to talk to me, maybe to sell a scarf? I wish I could speak Turkish. I was too busy keeping track of Evan to get a better picture of her, and she kept looking at my camera! I’ll work on getting some better shots in the future.