Sunday, September 12, 2010


Sunday market day. For some reason, many of the usual vendors weren't there. At first we thought it was due to the weekend after the Muslim holiday. But after some thought, we came to the conclusion that it was most likely because of the vote that was occurring today. Either way the atmosphere felt changed somehow.

And it wasn't like we could just ask someone what was going on. I mean, I have just learned how to ask for a half kilo of apples. (I say some combination the words bir (one), yarim (half), kilo, and elma (apple) if you are interested.) I'm not even going to make an attempt to ask, "Where is everyone today?"

Even if I could ask it, goodness knows I wouldn't have a clue what they were telling me when they answered. And when I seem confused, they'd try saying the same words slower and louder. And I'd still be lost. Hand gestures might help. But not much.

Welcome to how any new person to America feels everyday. Completely overwhelmed. Lost. Confused. At least here, in Turkey, most of the people want to help me learn Turkish. I can't say that we, as Americans, ever express much interest in helping a foreigner with their English?

... that was a complete tangent I didn't plan on. But something to think on nonetheless. Telling people to "learn the language!" is a bit easier said than done. Have you ever tried to learn another language?!

Anyways. The market. We are finding that many people are looking to go to the market and often looking to go with someone. This morning, Shane came with us. His wife Linda is still studying for the Boards, and as a result, having to limit her activities. Shane was stationed here many moons ago, so he actually has some pretty decent Turkish skills. Between the three of us we managed to buy a stroller full of produce. I also scored the two skirts (Eteks) above!

These skirts run about $10-15 U.S. dollars per piece. I am actually going to be sending some to my online friend Dawn. She's going to pay me through pay-pal, and since it is free to ship from APO Box to APO Box with the military (who knew?!) I'm going to send them to her. Very cool! I absolutely am in love with these skirts. They meet the dress code requirements of the area, are cool, comfortable, and go with nearly anything, while letting me feel like a bit of a girl instead of a tomboy which is how I usually feel.

I am hoping in the near-future, to venture to the market solo. But more practice (especially driving) is required. I need to devote an entire post to driving in Turkey in the future. Today let me just focus on beeping. People beep for no real reason here. Well they have a reason, but I can't tell what it is. If you here a beep it is probably because:
  • You took longer than .3 seconds to go when the light turned green.
  • They are coming by you and want you to know it.
  • They want to say hi.
  • They want to say bye.
  • They want you to scoot over.
  • You are going too slow.

Good luck figuring out which one you are doing wrong.

... and lastly, the vote. I had said earlier I was going to return to that. So return I am.

There are many areas surrounding Base which are called "red areas." These are areas which we, as military members, are restricted from travelling to or through. Nearly everything to the East of us right now is red. Nearly everything to the South as well. If we want to go anywhere, we need to go north or west. Anywhere near Syria or Iraq is basically a no-go. This is unfortunate as there are a lot of Biblical sites I would love to visit in those areas. For right now, Israel is open to us. But the Turks and Israelites are not friends. There is no telling how long that opening will remain.

There are also days when we are advised to practice caution when leaving Base. A day like today where the country is in the midst of a vote on the importance of religion in their politics amongst other things. Days surrounding big holidays, like yesterday. That sort of thing.

It's strange. I realize we are living in a very tumultuous part of the world. A part of the world that has been the source of much violence for the last few decades (and last few thousands of years actually.) That being said, I feel more safe on Base then I have felt anywhere else in my entire life. This is a mini-Mayberry. There is basically zero crime on Base -- especially of a violent nature. I trust my kids outside. I trust my neighbors. I could knock on any house and get something I needed or obtain refuge. I would run at night. I would walk across the Base at night. I would let my kids play outside by themselves without a second thought (if they were a bit older.)

I also feel fairly safe in the area right around Base. The reason is that this is an area that thrives on the American serviceman. We are their business. And a result they don't want anything bad to happen to us.

But outside of that, we do live in the Middle East. We live on a Base that most likely harbors some major weapons. And I am still processing what that means. Two times in the last ten years, family have been evacuated from this Base. We are "deployed in place."

I am so happy to be here. But the safety issues, sometimes, "twerks" me a bit. It makes me wonder if the non-deployment and good hours and Mayberry feel is worth it.

And right now, the answer is yes. We'll see if it stays that way.


Jenny said...

I totally get not being able to communicate. Even when I am trying to speak German, most Germans switch to English on me. Partly because they are trying to be helpful, and partly because they are always eager to practice their English. I have great respect for people who move to a completely foreign country and learn the language. Access to the base can be a crutch for me. Also,shame on us as Americans for expecting everyone else in the world to speak English. We really need to do better to teach languages to our children in the schools. All the school age children in Germany are learning English. In the two years I've been here I've seen a neighborhood boy grow greatly in his English conversational abilities with me, while my German, not so much...

Anonymous said...

If evacuated where do you go?

Anonymous said...

Do you know what the results of the vote were on the place of religion in politics...i know things are changing alot ....tante Jan

Flakymn said...

Jan, apparently the vote went the way of allowing the government more religious rites. Not good.