Our journey

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Date Night

Selah and her favorite things

We went to Europe for a few hours of fun last night. (That is just fun to say!) Some friends that know language better than us took us with them so that we could enjoy the festivities that officially start when the sun sets. This is the time of day when the people who are fasting can eat. They can eat all they want until the sun rises around 5 AM the next morning. People like to gather around a huge house of worship (which happens to be across the park from the Hagia Sofya) and wait for the "call" to come over the loudspeaker. We were curious about this event and wanted to see it for ourselves.
People don't have to wait here for the call, but they probably like to because there is a fair-like atmosphere with tons of vendors serving traditional foods, candy, cotton candy, popcorn, drinks, souvenirs, etc. There are booths where you can put on traditional clothing and have a picture made and some entertainment in the outdoor amphitheater, traditional dance and more!
We got there about 2 minutes before the call and there were people EVERYWHERE. People were sitting on blankets (looked like a million picnics) with their baskets of food. Most of them had their food in hand ready to dive in as soon as they could. After the call, it was amazingly quiet considering the number of people...they were all eating. People cleared out quickly after eating and starting having fun with the various activities. We ate and walked around for a bit. After a while, the crowds were starting to get a bit annoying and we decided we had seen what we wanted to see; we started heading home.
Experiences like this are fun and they also stir our hearts. It also made me really, really want to speak the language better. We are working hard but getting a lot less practice these days because we spend most of our out-of-class time shopping and making arrangements to have work done in our new apartment. We expect to move in toward the end of this week.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Lessons Learned

Sorry for the long break in posts. We have learned a very important component of maintaining service, whether it be electric, water, internet, etc., PAY THE BILL AS SOON AS IT ARRIVES. We have a hard time getting out of the mindset that we have 3 weeks to pay a bill after we receive it. Ryan spent a LONG time trying to figure out how to pay the bills last week. I still don't understand it. Apparently, you can pay some utility-type bills at the bank and other subtle locations. For some reason, none of the places would let Ryan pay 2 of the bills. After a frustrating day, he decided to take advantage of one of the services provided by our "building helper" (for lack of a better term). We gave the helper our money and 2 bills and he paid them for us. Wow! That is an awesome service. We need to learn more about the services the building helper provides. I've heard he'll also run to the little store on the corner and get things for me if I ask. He comes by around 8 PM every night to pick up the trash for us as well.

All that to say, we lost the internet and phone service for a few days so we weren't able to email or blog. Sorry!

Not much new here. We are working on buying all the things we need to set up home at our new apartment. We found one right across the street from the park (see picture) with an air conditioner in the living room!! Ryan spent a few hours last night painting the bedroom. We hope to paint the hallway and living room this weekend.

the view from our new apartment

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A father's instructions

Ryan left Selah with some great instructions for the day as he walked out the door this morning. He said, "Selah, be good today. If not, at least have fun." I thought his parents would enjoy knowing that. While he is a very responsible father and very smart, his personality still shines through in his parenting!!
Here's Selah and her version of peek'a'boo. Before we turned the camera on, she'd keep crawling right off of the bed without any hesitation.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Selah's Babysitter

Since I told you about my typical week, I decided to introduce Selah's favorite babysitter to everyone. Zeynep is a fellow red-head and loves to take Selah to the park. Sometimes Selah hears Zeynep's voice before she can see her. She gets excited and throws her arms in the air. Zeynep is also helping me clean the house while Selah is sleeping. Zeynep understands English and can speak it when I can't understand what she is saying...but she works hard to not use English so that I will improve in my language acquisition. Recently Zeynep has started putting barrettes in Selah's hair; she says that she really likes Selah's hair in a barrette.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Two kinds of "typical" days

Selah says "Thanks, Grammy" for the new sandals.
Everyday, I wake up when Selah wakes up (around 7) and let her play a little. Then we eat breakfast around 8 and she goes down for a nap around 9 or 9:30.
On MWF, I have language lessons. My tutor comes here on M & W at 9 AM and my babysitter arrives at 10 AM. My first language lesson of the day is from 9 - 11 (Ryan is with Selah from 9-10). Then I leave for my second language lesson which is from 11:45-1:30. After the lesson, I grab a quick lunch (sometimes I try to meet a friend) and head home to relieve the babysitter at 2:30. Friday's are a little different. My first lesson is at 11:30 at the tutor's house. So, the babysitter doesn't come until 11 AM. After my lesson at 1:30 I either go shopping, meet friends or go to the other tutor for a little extra help.

On Tuesday and Thursday's I take Selah to the park or on a walk after she wakes up from her nap. If we need to run a quick errand, we go around 11:30. I feed her lunch around 1 PM and put her down for a nap around 1:30. I study while she is napping (Bible, language).
Everyday, we play, go to the store or go visit someone to practice language after Selah wakes up from her afternoon nap. Selah eats dinner around 5:30 or 6 PM and start her bedtime routine around 7 PM. Then we eat dinner, study, reply to emails, surf the net, etc.

I feel very busy. I think it is the language study that makes me feel that way. I'd like to find some places like a zoo to take Selah, but usually we have to sacrifice a nap to venture very far from our house since we have to take public transportation. I miss taking advantage of her ability to fall asleep in the car!!
The weekends are more relaxed and we try to go to a mall or visit some friends. We have house group on Sunday mornings and really enjoy the friends and fellowship.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Selah's stats...

These pictures were taken at one of Selah's recent photo shoots.

I forgot to mention that Selah is almost 9 months old and we got some new measurements at the doctor's office last week. I had to convert from the metric system to English standard. I cheated and used the converter in my phone.

8850 gr = 19.5 pounds
71 cm = 27.95 inches (height)
46 cm = 18.11 inches (head circumference)

So, that puts her in the 75th percentile for height and weight and the 90th percentile for head circumference. I don't think her head looks that big, though. :)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

New Look & Language Story

Laura was experimenting with new templates for the blog--not realizing that it removes any customization. So, we found a new template we liked and I put the cool flickr badge, map of our readers' locations, and links back up. It was OK. It's good to clean stuff out and restart every so often, no?

Our language learning is coming along nicely. Last night we were taking a taxi home and as usual the driver enjoyed looking at Selah and trying to get her to smile. As usual Selah obliged, and after confirming that Selah was a she, he told us that he had a daughter and a son. He went on to explain that having girls is better than having boys because they will actually help the family by cooking and cleaning. We laughed and thought that will hopefully be true for us. In this culture, it's definitely true.

Anyway, it was just really nice to be able to understand the guy and to share that moment with him. No English was spoken. Language is the key to opening the culture and the people.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

All by ourselves

Ryan left town on Tuesday morning with his boss to go to another part of the country, which left me on Selah-duty all alone. I know many people would be overjoyed to have Selah-duty and I normally am. However, she started cutting her two top, front teeth last Wednesday and it has been very difficult for her. She's had some sleepless nights, a few days of fever, congestion/runny nose, diarrhea, and isn't eating much at all. I think she is probably dealing with the pain fairly well, but she is cranky with a capitol C! Most of the time I can't figure out what she is wanting and she just whines or cries. She's happy for about 45 minutes after she wakes up, then it is downhill. She is more tired than normal too; I am trying to stay close to home so she will be able to sleep in her bed when she needs her naps.
Because of all the symptoms and some major grabbing at the ears, I decided to make a doctor's appointment for my peace of mind. We went to a great hospital that is associated with Harvard and ended up waiting 1 1/2 hours to see the doctor because the doctor I'd made an appointment with wasn't there. When we saw the doctor, she informed me that Selah had "teething syndrome", which amounts to nothing. She also wrote a prescription for a nose spray, a gum gel and a syrup for pain and congestion. I don't really plan on giving Selah all that medicine. I have Motrin which works great and some Orajel.
The last part of my story is the funny part--to me. The doctor asked me what I feed Selah. I told her rice cereal, vegetables, and fruit. I also started feeding her bread, chicken and pasta just this week. The doctor immediately told me to start feeding her fish next month. I thought, "fish??" Then, she was shocked to find that I don't give Selah egg yolks or cheese yet. She told me to start giving her these and homemade vegetable soup. These things just seem so random. Every country says something different...and, amazingly all the babies survive. Hmmm... I've just decided to stay away from highly allergic type things like milk, honey, and nuts and give her what seems appropriate, except for refined sugars. Maybe I'm too inexperienced as a mom and am careless... I like to think that feeding a baby solids is not a science or babies would have stopped surviving long ago. If anyone cares to offer me some insight in this area, I don't mind! :)
Since Selah isn't at her best this week, she decided to give her favorite cousin, Sara Kate, the spotlight. This picture inspired the one of Selah in her pack in the previous post. SK is only 7 weeks younger than Selah and this picture was at 6 months (I think).

Saturday, September 01, 2007

It's cooler...in the mountains

We have been busy for about 2 weeks and hope to slow down a bit and get back into the comfort of our routine this week. However, Ryan will leave on a short trip with some other guys in a litte over a week.

We spent last week in the mountains at a ski resort at a family retreat. We heard great messages and were blessed with some great music, fun and American cookies on every coffee break! Unfortunately, there was no snow to ski on, so we (only Ryan and I) rode the lift to the top and decided a trip back in the winter was in order. Selah should be ready to learn how to ski by the time she is 1, don't you think? One of my favorite things about our trip was the relief from the heat and the cool air that gave me goose bumps. I thanked God for my goose bumps. They felt so good.

We reconnected with some great friends that we made in May and June and had fun meeting new people. Selah had a great time with other babies and realized that crawling and pulling up on things is a lot more fun than she realized. When we got home yesterday, she immediately started crawling and pulling up on everything she saw. Her fun was tempered by her 2 central incisor teeth cutting through. She hardly slept longer than 30 min. or an hour on Wed. and Thurs. nights. Last night she did much better. We can tell they are painful because she avoids putting anything in her mouth in that area and makes a sad face when she accidentaly bites down on those two teeth. She is so tired from the past few days that she is on her third nap of the day and it is only 1 PM.

This week I will start meeting with 2 language helpers, for a total of 10 hours of language per week. I'm excited because I really like my new helper--she is REALLY good at what she does! Ryan plans on getting the electrician to come over today to look at a broken light fixture. As always, Ryan is doing so well with practicing language anytime the opportunity presents itself.