Sunday, September 12, 2010

Our first week in a new country

Today, Sunday September 12, 2010 marks day 5 of our time in Turkey.  Time has gone by quickly, and considering we felt we had no idea what to expect when we got here, it has been a week of learning and adjusting. 

Our travels actually began when we started our drive to Baltimore, MD.  I literally received my passport hours before our departure and was sitting on pins and needles practically the entire week before wondering if I was going to receive it in time.  The three of us, our luggage and our kitty left in Michael's car and traveled about 8 hours to Offutt Air force Base in Nebraska.  Michael had us up and going at 5:30 am the following morning as we traveled to our next stop which ended up being outside of Cleavland, Ohio.  The following day we made it to MD, but with complications that caused us to have to change hotel rooms numerous times.  Since we arrived Thursday night and didn't leave BWI Airport until Monday evening, we had some time to kill, so we toured Baltimore.  Some of our adventures included down-town Baltimore, the National Aquarium, Maryland Zoo and Medieval Times.

Upon going to the zoo, we passed some interesting neighborhoods.  There was one section of town that appeared completed deserted and run-down.  I have never seen entire neighborhoods left in literal ruins like the one we saw. 

Our flight departed at 10:00 pm Monday night.  Everyone did very well in their traveling, even the cat.  She got to ride in the cabin with us; however Michael and I are not sure if that was a good or a bad thing.  She was pretty frightened when we finally got to our room in Turkey.  We also had a layover in Ramstein, Germany.  While we didn't get to leave the airport, we saw enough to know that we would love to go back to this base and see more.  The accommodations there looked amazing and the scenery seemed breathtaking. 

We arrived around 9:00 pm the following night at Incirlik, Turkey. We were met by the entire Chapel Staff and their families.  Friendly happy faces after this much traveling was more of a welcoming that we could ever imagine.  They had two vehicles lined up to take us and our luggage to our room.  They had our room all ready for us and had pooled together to purchase some snacks and bare essentials for us in our room.  Incredible! 

That night, while we were exhausted, not a single one of us were able to sleep. We were up all night and very sleepy the next morning.  It has been that way since then; however we wake up an hour or so later every morning which will probably be the case until we finally are in sync with the local time.  This makes for very sleepy days; I made the mistake of trying to take a "short" nap.  I ended up sleeping for about 4 hours, which set me back in my adjusting.  Arion is fully adjusted, and has been after the first night here.  Kids are so amazing! 

Arion has started school.  She seems to have made a lot of friends there and we are constantly running into them as we are out and about on base.  Being that they are also with their parents, it makes meeting people on base all the easier.  She does think that her teachers are mean.  I haven't had the change to get to know her teachers very well, so it will be interesting to see get used to their personalities.  Perhaps the level of "strict" is considerably higher in military schools.  Until we get to move into our house, we have to take the bus from our hotel to her school.

We also have been able to see the house we are going to move into.  It is walking distance from Arion's school and the gate, which is ideal for us.  Michael will have to either take the bus, walk or ride his bike to work until his car gets here.  We were hoping to get a renovated home- as they are much nicer.  This is the kind of home we saw on the online tour.  Unfortunately, none of these houses are available at this time, so we are in un-renovated housing for the duration.  We are fortunate, however, we did get a house that is not scheduled to be renovated in the next few years, so we will not have to move again until we move away from this base.

There seems to be a huge amount of recreational activities here on base.  There is an amazing pool with diving boards and a huge slide and it will be open for the rest of this month.  There is also a night club on base, a community center with weekly events (this week is the chicken wing contest), Turkish language and culture classes, youth programs, arts and crafts, a bowling center, fitness center, outdoor recreation (which includes trips to other cities, areas and countries), ITT (which are the larger trips, cruises and tours), an amazing golf club that is open year-round, MOPS, and many events through the chapel such as tours to Isreal, Tarsus and Kizkalesi.  And that is just on-base.  Off base, there is an endless supply of things to do and sights to see.  We look forward to doing as much as we can while we are here.  There is also an Air Force ball coming soon.  We are not sure if we are going to be able to attend, because it is adults only and Arion is not old enough to be left alone on base.  They do have nanny services and a CDC center, so this might be an option for us.  Michael also must wear a formal mess-dress (which is the equivalent to an air force tux) which he does not have, and I have to wear a gown or cocktail dress (which I own but will have have here for several months). 

So much for a first week here!  Hopefully, I will have just as much fun to talk about on my future posts!  Stay tuned...

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