Thanks to my friend Stebbins, I have been given the incredible opportunity to join a club here in Turkey. Long story short, Stebbins lives next to a Turkish gal, Seyhun, (who is married to an American). Stebbins was invited to join this group by Seyhun and Stebbins invited me, and I feel so incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity. While it is open to all Americans on Base, I am not sure I would have heard about it had it not been for this connection.
This is the type of opportunity that I had hoped to have while in Turkey! I have Hatice and Ilhan and Halil and some of the nannies on Base, but the opportunity to really bond with people in the Turkish culture when you live on Base is limited. (School teachers can live off-Base, but we are not allowed to.) I did not want to just come here and coast through in my own little bubble. I wanted to embrace an opportunity of a lifetime. But how to embrace isn't always completely obvious.
While once 150 members strong, this group is now at about 50 and hoping for new growth. The idea behind the club is that these two cultures can find a common ground and learn from each other. They have Turkish women in charge of various activities. The gal on the right (Klara) is actually Turkish but looks more American and speaks incredible English. She is heading up an English Literature group. They pick an English book that has been translated into Turkish and all read it. The gal on the far left is Ms. Barbara, my neighbor, and the gal next to me is my new friend Nevin. Nevin and I immediately connected, and in fact, I am going to attend a Turkish Ballet next weekend with her. (JB is coming too!)
All of the Turkish women in this group are educated, affluent, women who want to help educate incirlik Americans about life in Turkey. I continue to work on my Turkish and was told by numerous women that I am doing a good job. Klara said that my pronunciation is very good and I do not sound like an idiot. Hurrah for that!
This group will provide another opportunity for me to practice this new language. In fact, Nevin and I were practicing with each other. She'd talk to me in English and I'd try to talk to her in Turkish. Of course, all of the Turkish gals speak way better English than I speak Turkish, but at least I am trying. I have taken a short break from Rosetta Stone and am instead using a program called Mango. JB actually told me the other day that he has completely given up on understanding what I am saying to people. And when the gal who was doing my nails asked me where my sons were, in Turkish, I understood her answered her, in Turkish! How cool is that?!
Anyways, the club is AWESOME! I really hope this opportunity proves as positive as it is right now. Way cool!