Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Brownies can Dance!

One of the things that Arion does here in Turkey is be a Girl Scout!  She has a great troop this year and one of the things her troop did this year to earn their sports patch is take a dance lesson.  After their lesson they got to show us Brownie leaders and volunteers their moves.  Here is their video!  (If you have trouble viewing this video, you can also see it at

Go Girl Scouts!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Our latest shopping adventure

I may have mentioned this before, but living on a Turkish airbase really is a great scenario to living in another country.  We are surrounded by English-speaking people and have American amenities (excluding our severe lack of groceries as of late).  Directly off base, the pace of life changes and we step into Turkish culture. 

I have the world's cutest nieces and nephews and am ashamed to say that I have been late getting two of them their birthday gifts.  I knew exactly what I wanted to get them but they are deep in Old Adana and the truth is, I have been to this shop once but have not been confident that I would ever be able to find it again.  Michael, Arion and I decided to give it a shot this past Saturday since we were feeling adventurous and the weather was in the upper 70's to 80's. 

Right off base is a dalmus stop.  We prefer to take the dalmus into Adana, because driving there is terrible, and parking is impossible.  This day seemed particularly busy; as a good three dalmus buses passed that were packed so tight the Turkish people inside looked like very warm standing sardines.  Finally, we found a bus that we (sort of) fit in.  Not that it mattered, as the driver picked up a good 7 more people before it seemed travelers began to get off on various stops. After the passengers thinned out and the three of us were able to sit together, another Turkish man came and sat with us.  He introduced himself and told us that he used to work in "The Alley" (the small community right off base that focuses sales on the American's on base). He spoke great English and was very friendly and explained that he had just gotten back from visiting his sister in the States, who was a Turkish National who had met and married an American Airman and PCS'd back to the States with him. 

It was particularly busy out and about this day; more so than we had seen in quite a while so we asked him what was going on.  He explained that it was a Turkish holiday, for children.  He added that there is a great "flea market" nearby.  We explained to him what we were looking for; puzzle-boxes for my beloved niece and nephew.  He said that he knew EXACLTY where we should go and said that he would take us, because it was at the same stop he was getting off.  Fabulous!  So we winded through the streets and alleys lined with vendors and shops and ended up at the same shop I had been before.  I was thrilled we had a guide, as I was pretty sure we would not have made it again without his help.

I knew exactly how much I wanted to pay; when I had gone before with a friend we were told that they should cost 25 lira a piece.  When they said "fifty" I agreed immediately.  Did I have a sign on my forehead that said "stupid American"?  I must have... because when I handed him 50 lira, he was unhappy.  It turns out, he wanted 50 DOLLARS.  Let me explain the difference.  The exchange rate is about 1.57 Lira for every dollar.  This means that 50 lira equals $31.84 USD.  I was pretty irritated that our tour guide was trying to convince me that this was such a great deal when he knew I was getting "turked". 

I talked our friend down to 55 lira for the two puzzle boxes and felt very accomplished. After all, 5 lira IS only a few bucks. I was, however, ready to lose our little volunteer tour guide.  Our plan was to get the puzzle boxes, eat and go home.  He wanted to take us to the flea market next so I kindly explained that we were hungry and were going grab a bite to eat, thank you.  He grew excited and said he knew the BEST restaurant just down the street.  We decided to join him to this restaurant and had delicious doners. At 3 lira a piece (which makes them $1.90 USD) one can NOT complain. 

This picture is how the meat of a tavuk (chicken) is prepared.  The cook slices the meat off, collects it, and then puts it into a wrap of flat bread along with other grilled vegitables. It is seasoned very deliciously; and I am not ashamed to say that Turkish bread is amazing! 
Tavuk Donor, at its finest.

We dined, and had hopes of returning home.  Our new friend wanted to take us to his uncles shop before we left, however.  Reluctantly, we decided that we could take the time to go to his uncle’s shop only after reminding him that we had to get home soon.  So, on we walked to a shop and met his family.  This family sold rugs for a living and it just so happens that Michael and I are in the market for a rug. 

After getting the run-down on rugs and what makes them great (or not great, depending on the quality) we did find a rug that we both actually really liked.  Our new friend of course did try to make a sale, but after the puzzle box experience I was not trusting enough to buy one on the spot.  I still need to compare costs compared to other rugs of similar quality and size. 

One thing is for sure, the cost is significantly less than what a rug would cost in the USA.  Now, if we decide we do want this rug, we get to try and find out how to get back to his store.  Sounds like a never-ending story, right?  

Until next time, 

Sonra görüşürüz!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Playing Catch-Up

Selamlar, arkadaşlar

It has been several months since I have updated my blog; I didn't realize just how long until I started looking at my past posts and noticed the last date being near New Years.  Oh how time flies!  So here I am, on my husband's computer after just getting he and Arion off to work and school, watching the rain pour down with a vengeance. 

Here is an update on our family... 

Appologies for the washed-out picture
Michael is knee deep in his work.  There is a large base-wide inspection (UCI) that is approaching next month here on base and Michael, being who he is, has hopes of a perfect score.  His hard work, however, has not gone unnoticed.  He was a nominee this year (again) for Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) of the year here on base.  While he did not win at the base level, he was second in running and we both were treated to several days of fun festivities and fine dining.  He has also been selected to attend numerous conferences and trainings in the USA.  He will leave at the end of April, and return around the end of May.    I would love to join him during this time; as he does plan to visit family in Montana during this time.  Unfortunately, me joining him would mean taking Arion out of school and traveling later in my pregnancy than the doctor recommends (I could just see myself going into labor on the 9 hour military flight from Baltimore).  When he returns, I will be 36 weeks gestation and considered full-term.  

Arion is excelling like any proud mother would hope in school. She is in the honor's choir and has several presentations throughout the year.  She has the second grade equivalent to straight A's and takes her grades very seriously. She is also a proud Girl Scout Brownie and has been working hard on helping her troop sell cookies.  We are not allowed to sell cookies door-to-door at overseas locations, so the girls set up booths at the Commissary, BX and Shopette.  They did manage to sell every cookie and between donations and cookie sales her troop alone made around $500.00 profit.  Go Incirlik Girl Scouts! 

 Yesterday at church, one of teachers at Arion's school approached me and expressed interest in getting Arion tracked into the gifted student program.  She primarily worked with the older elementary school children, but Arion stood out to her particularly in helping the adults figure out how to run the smart board and other new technology.  Arion was very flattered and Mom, needless to say, was not surprised but was flattered all the same.  

Arion on "Wacky Tacky" Spirit Day
There is one household conversation that gets her most excited, however.  The arrival of her new baby sister seems to always be on her mind and in her conversations. She loves to sing and talk to the baby, and rub Mommy's belly; waiting for that all-to-familiar poke coming from the other side.  She is going to be such a great big sister!  Amazingly, Arion could tell you any random day exactly how many days are left until the baby's due date.  

I myself am doing pretty good.  The weather in Turkey has turned to nothing short of amazing, particularly when I consider the forecast back in Wyoming around this time of year.  At month six in my pregnancy, I am feeling less get-up and go.  Having to share a car keeps me on my feet, though.  One can usually see this pregnant chick walking somewhere on base, or riding my bike.  This, I assure you is a GOOD thing.  Low-impact exercise is exactly what someone in my condition needs.  

Being a military family has great benefits- and the Air Force absolutely does take care of its' own.  We families do pay a price, however.  As I said before, Michael is going to be State-side for the majority of my third trimester.  While unlikely, if I happened to experience any third trimester complications during his absence and need emergency care I am on my own (with the help of Arion).  Luckily, there is an ambulance on base that can take me to the hospital in Adana.  We pray this does not happen, but are ready if it does. More than anything, I am going to miss him terribly and will be very excited to be reunited with him upon his arrival. 

Baby Taylor is developing and wiggling around right on schedule.  We did have our ultra-sound; and to our surprise, she was indeed a baby girl.  Her ultra-sound revealed no concerns, except for a low lying placenta.  The majority of pregnancies have the placenta on the upper-half of uterus, while mine is at the bottom.  It is actually covering the cervix, the area that opens at the bottom of the womb.  The majority of these cases conclude with no complications.  I will get another ultra-sound at 32 weeks which will hopefully prove that all is well.  In some rare instances, the placenta remains in place and therefore will not stretch like the uterus is designed to do.  This can cause it to peel and bleed, posing risk to us both.  Should this happen, I will have to stay at the hospital for daily monitoring until we are ready for an early cesarian.  Only 1% of low-lying placenta's actually have these kinds of complications and our doctor remains optimistic.  We are still struggling to come up with a name for her, but I'm sure we will eventually agree on something.

Salem, the cat is also fat and happy.  She is oblivious that another member of the family is soon to arrive and enjoys the nice Turkish weather.  She is afraid of the large spiders here and is comfortable leaving the house, careful not to leave the back yard and only if the back door remains open.  

All-in-all, the Taylors' are doing pretty great!    Be ready for a blog with many pictures when our newest daughter makes her grand entrance.  

Görüşmek üzere!