Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I don't think I realized at the time how much my dad's travel impacted who I would become. I, myself, am a traveler. Whether it's a trip for history, for education, for adventure, for rest, for fun, or for serving Jesus through humanitarian help... I watched him go on them all, and he taught me to do the same.
I remember when I was in college, my grandparents (my dad's parents) started just giving me money for birthday gifts and telling me they were giving me "the gift of memories." With it, I was supposed to take a trip to somewhere new. So I guess my dad, in some ways, got his traveling genes from his parents too. Who knows?!
So today, on your birthday, dad, I give you the gift of thanks-- thank you for being part of who I have become-- and a few snapshot memories of travels we've shared together...
Monday, July 28, 2008
Andy walking into the church of our good friends in Izmir for a Sunday service.Andy and Anna with our new friends from Izmir, Ugur and Bahar! They joined us for several nights of hitting the rock bars looking for live Turkish music and also had us over one afternoon for lunch in their home.
Hakan and Nemruze were some friends we made while in Izmir. They had just gotten married 3 days ago! Here, I captured them flirting with each other in young love. They joined us one night to go hear live music.
The view from our hotel balcony in Izmir provided us a bird's eye view of a Turkish wedding one night on the roof of the parking garage across the street. The service area was on the floor beneath. The reception lasted well into the night. We were so glad to get to at least see this from afar.
A cityview of the Bazaar Quarter area of Istanbul as seen from our hotel restaurant. Pictured in the foreground is the "Suleymaniye Mosque".
Andy and Umut EXHAUSTED and waiting for our flight in the Istanbul airport. This is the day before our return to the states and we had worn ourselves out!
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Here is Andy and I with Umut after the show on the roof of our hotel looking out over Istanbul. The whole rooftop restaurant was made of glass in a 360 degree view and even the ceiling was glass. I watched the sunset up there the night before. It was gorgeous!
Later that night, Fikret gave Andy a jersey from his favorite soccer team (the rival) and instructed him to put it on and go parade it through the other room where Umut was (who, turns out, is also a big fan Galatasaray). Umut shook his head, disgraced at Andy’s betrayal, while Fikret cheered on, declaring his gift determined Andy’s true allegiance to Fenerbahce.
Lastly, while Umut was taking us around Istanbul one day, we passed the official store for Galatasary and walked in to check it out. Umut made Andy put on this ridiculous hat so he could take a picture (above). Subsequently, Umut posted the picture on his Facebook page which has now generated a dozen or so comments back and forth between the warring fans. Andy was a pawn in their battle with each other, and it was fun!
CimBomBom (victory cheer for Galatasaray)!
Fikret says that co-co-wretch is a food you only eat after 1am. Which tickles me that Turks have a “late night” equivalent. When I was in college, “late night” was always the best. You would get home from a long night out and be dying for a Whataburger or Taco Cabana (the two 24 hr fast food spots in Austin). So, after buying us what looked like a cheesesteak sandwich to me, Fikret asked for my camera to capture the moment of us eating this delicacy. Which, in mid-bite, he tells us is intestines roasted on a spit. Mmmmm. But we tried it none-the-less. Here’s the pics to prove it!
** Anna can feel equally as uncool around artists in Turkey as she does back home… being married to Andy definitely sets me up to be the lesser “hip” in the relationship. But because he’s married to me, Andy fondly overlooks the nerd within me. However, when we hang around with his other artist friends, they are not obligated to like me and therefore provide a great deal of intimidation to me. I know I don’t dress as cool or understand much of what the conversations are about, but I can smile and nod and pretend I am not feeling like the biggest tool on the planet. For example, one of the club promoters we met in Turkey was a girl: She had dyed purple hair, tattoos all over, cool ear peircings, wore cool clothes, smoked Marlboro Reds, wore green eye shadow, and was a size zero… juxtapose me: wearing black Old Navy Capri pants with a short sleeve button down shirt with puffy sleeves (it was my cool day), no tats, no piercings, plain brown hair, drinking bottled water, and feeling very uninteresting. Oh well. One club promoter asked me if I was a Mormon because he’d never seen such a laughably boring outfit on a club goer. I felt cool!
** Mini-bars prices are just as expensive as in America… after our first hotel stay in Izmir, we found that ONE (mini) Toblerone candy bar and one Turkish beer costs $30. Good to know (sadly, after the fact)!
** Racial profiling exists in Turkey too... on our first night in Turkey our friend took us to a mall for dinner. At the entrance they had a security checkpoint set up like you see at the airport. You put your bag/items on the conveyor belt to be Xray'd then you walk through a metal detector to get in. All three of us (1 Turk and 2 Americans, plus the people after us) sent the detector a'buzzing, but our Turkish friend just kept walking into the mall. Andy and I stopped to get wanded, but nobody official even looked in our direction. Then our friend explains "they do racial profiling here too, they'll only stop you if you look Arab." That made me sad.
** Boys, in today’s high-tech times, will email and chat each other from laptops in the same room… I have seen Andy do this before in our house. His best friend Shawn came to visit one time and we spent the night watching YouTube videos and them chatting online while sitting on opposite couches. I thought this was random, and perhaps just reserved for their relationship. But I’ve now seen Andy and his Turkish friend Umut “facebook chat” each other while in neighboring rooms. Guys—you are just a few short steps away, why with the computer already?!
On the flip side, here are just a few things that are quite DIFFERENT in Turkey: 1) McDonald’s delivers. Yep, you heard me. Even milkshakes. 2) Andy, who normally would punch a boy for snuggling him or tickling him or messing with his body, actually lets Turks touch him. I watched him get tickled on the stomach, hugged on, snuggled up against, even tapped on the back… all of which is very out of the ordinary for Andy (but American boys would probably still get punched, so be warned). He says he’s just embracing a cultural difference of male affection in Turkey. Finally, 3) Turkey is a walking culture, Austin is not… which resulted in me getting ELEVEN blisters and one ripped toenail. Just for the record.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
1) What do you do if you are old and "squatty pottys" are the toilet option? After using a sqatty potty here, and my own 31 yrs old legs getting tired and my knees aching, how does some 80 year old person pull THAT off? seriously! How would some old geezer be able to stand back up-- they'd get stuck?!
2) When is it ever good to NOT have trash cans readily available? Apparently when you are in the area we're visiting in Istanbul... we've been walking this one drag at night and always end up with a bag full of empty water bottles and coke cans cuz we can't find trash cans. Finally we asked our translator what the deal was. His response, simple. "Well, this street has been bombed many times by trash cans so, now, you cannot find." Ahhh. Lovely. So trash cans are the official drop spot for bombs in Istanbul. Awesome! And the good street to do so is our area.
3) Does "Event Time" apply to Muslim prayer too? So, you know how Muslims pray 5 times a day and there is a "call to prayer" over loud speakers throughout the cities so everyone knows when its time to stop and pray? Well, they are usually at 5am, 1pm, 5pm, 8pm, and 10pm (or something like that here in Turkey). Well, in Istanbul, the call to prayer is consistently late. 1:21pm. 5:17pm. 8:42pm. 10:23pm. Strange! I would have guessed it was strict time, but apparently, it's time when it's time. Huh! Maybe someone out there knows this is actually normal because I am not entirely sure of when the "directed times" are to pray.
4) How can 4 AA batteries cost less than $2?! Ahhh... when they only last 2 days!
5) How can it take 8 hours to drive to Istanbul from Izmir when it only takes 1 hour to fly? When there are mountains to pass and a sea to ferry over (Sea of Marmara). Flying ROCKS!
6) Does rice pudding actually have rice in it? I never thought so before, but after dessert tonight, apparently so. I felt several large, carby-flavored white rice nuggets neatly tucked in my soft pudding. Kinda gross actually.
7) Why can't we get BBC News in Austin? I think if Andy and I had some fancy-schmanzy cable/dish thing we could, but I just wish it came just in the standard package. As a news junkie, I Tivo 2 hours of news a day-- 1 hr on Fox News and 1 hr on CNN (so I can get a diverse view). CUE THE LAUGHING at what a complete dork I am. But even with those 2 hrs, I want more world news and I don't ever feel like I am getting the full story from those two stations. BBC gives a view into World News that the others cover in a 10 second sound bite. I used to Tivo a third hour of news each day, with CNN's "Your World Today" show that covered international news. But since the election season has commenced, they cancelled it and replaced it with "Issue #1" (which is about "the most important issue" for the election, currently deemed the economy)-- AS IF the regular news isn't covering the election or the economy enough already!!! Apparently, we really ARE so American-consumed that we don't need to talk about the rest of the world during this season. And yes, I can read online at BBC's site, but I would prefer a one hour news show. So, this is actually one of my very favorite things about traveling abroad... getting to watch BBC world news each night as I get ready for bed. mmmm.
Monday, July 14, 2008
And the pappy, APPLEJACK, who looks like a grandpa and is the most docile, loyal dog in the world. (He's also recently been a super-snuggler to his momma and I'm lovin' every minute of it!)
Saturday, July 12, 2008
This is the book I picked up to take with me on our sabbatical. I bought it in the church lobby the day before we left. I was pleased that it was a short 121 pages and that most chapters were simply 1 page, front and back. This will be a quick read, I thought. But, it is so much more than that. I could read each chapter-- which I would describe as little vignettes, or short reflections from the life of Mr. Lupton as he serves Jesus in urban America-- in minutes, but then would have to chew on the story for the rest of the day (or for several days). It's not an instructional book. It doesn't tell you how to do "poverty ministry in the urban cities". It is just a collection of snapshots... stories from the author's life trying to live among and serve a tough population. Many of the stories are of how he messed up and how God convicted him. Others are of his insight into how the situations in urban cities get perpetuated over and over. He is honest. He is wise. He is human.
I cannot recommend this book strongly enough. With our church's planned move to the St. John's neighborhood in Austin, this book is sooo appropriate for our church partners!
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
1.) ANDY GRILLING! We got a simple grill as a wedding gift (back in 2004) which has stayed neatly packaged in the box until this past month. Andy decided it was time to crack open the gift and get grilling already. He really enjoys it—and is a natural. Usually, I cook while he is working and then he comes up (when he’s done) and we eat together. But with him grilling, he’s cooking while I’m cooking. We get to share that time together. Plus, he says he finally understands why I get frustrated when he doesn’t come up from the studio when dinner’s ready—because the food gets cold and isn’t as good. There was a meaning to my madness after all, he says. : )
2.) SHARING THE HOPE SEMINARS! Andy and I listened to a set of seminars on CD that I had purchased from The Crescent Project (http://www.crescentproject.org/). Fouad Masri, the founder of the organization had come to speak at one of the “Encountering the World of Islam” classes I took in 2006 and I bought the CDs then. He is sooo inspiring in his evangelism to the Muslim world and so helpful in educating Christians in the cultural and religious beliefs of his (former) people. The 4 part seminar teaches you how to share the hope we have in Christ with the Muslims in your life. Andy and I listened while driving our many road-trips and our love for this population grew more deep the more we learned. If you want to know more about this particular seminar series, click this link: http://crescentproject.org/sharingthehope.cfm
3.) LOST! We are 24 fans. Not Lost fans. Until now. In our time off, we managed to start (and finish) all 4 seasons of Lost. First I loved Jack, now he’s on my hit list. First I hated Sawyer, now I am rooting for him. First I thought the “Others” thing was stupid, now I am totally hooked. I love how Charlie miraculously straightened his tiny, British teeth between Season 1 and 2. I love Desmond and Sayid. I can’t stand Ben. Even Juliette bugs. I really want to know what the deal is with the "others" guy that never ages. And Locke’s worship of the island is a bit tiresome. Now, we are simply frustrated that we have to wait till fall for the saga to continue (and even then we can’t watch 6 straight episodes because they’ll only come once a week).
5.) FISHING! I haven’t fished, really, since I was a kid. Back then my mom used to bait my hook, fish sitting next to me, and take any catch off my line for me. (I realize that makes me spoiled.) Fast forward to 2008, my sweet husband took on the role… all I had to do was cast the line and reel it in. He would put on the worms and pull the hook out of the fish’s mouth. It was so fun! (And “ewww”-free for me.) Below are two pictures of me “fishing”—one of my tiniest catch and one of my biggest catch (my flip flop was my measuring stick).