Monday, July 30, 2012

Truck Driver Attitudes and Judging Others

Sometimes the view from our balcony is better than television. Last week as we ate dinner, a full blown shouting match erupted on the street below us.  Within 5 minutes 20 neighbors came out to their balconies to behold the spectacle.

A white truck and a blue hatchback approached each other nose to nose in the narrow street below us, with no room to pass each other.  Both drivers slammed on their brakes and got out of the cars yelling that the other would have to back up his vehicle.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

5 Minute Mental Makeover

If I’m a cross-cultural worker who is supposed to be like Jesus and love and serve others sacrificially, then why do I feel so grouchy and unmotivated to do anything?

These thoughts crossed my mind as I made a list of what I needed to do to get ready for our house church meeting last Sunday: 
  • Mop the kitchen and living room.
  • Clean the bathroom.
  • Make a pasta salad and a dessert.
  • Get out the dishes.

On a hot summer day, just thinking about all this activity made me break out in a sweat. My energy was sapped, and my thoughts went from bad to worse.  Who wanted to have a house church meeting anyway? Um, are workers like me supposed to even ask questions like this?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Simple Mediterranean Meal for Busy Days

Simple meals you can prepare on a busy day are what I call rescue meals. The humble Turkish Breakfast is versatile enough to double as a light lunch or a simple evening meal. 

Schedules and mealtimes tend to slide around here in the summer time. People stay up late, and most stay at home moms and their kids sleep in. Breakfast might be at 11:00 or 12:00, melting into lunch, and sometimes it’s the only meal until evening.  Even at night, in a pinch after a busy day, a Turkish woman might open the fridge and say, “Let’s get out the breakfast things.”

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ways to Beat the Summer Heat

For a Texas girl plunked down on the Aegean coast, complaining about 36 degree weather seems wimpy.  After all, where I grew up, temperatures soared above 40degrees for days on end.

But that was with central air conditioning.

One of the realities of life in Turkey is no central air AC.  I know I should be thankful for the wall units we turn on for a few hours to fall asleep at night, but lately I’ve had a bad case of the “hot grouchies.”  That’s what I call the complaining, irritable spirit that sets in after I’ve melted onto the kitchen floor with no energy to do anything by 9:00 a.m.

How to cope? Every summer I’m faced with the choice:  Will I let the hot grouchies take over or will I make up my mind to enjoy a slower pace?  I try to take lessons from nationals on how to embrace the summer slow life. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

When the Clock Becomes Irrelevant: Village Henna Night

We thought the henna night was supposed to start at 8:00, but we weren’t socially ignorant enough to arrive on time.  We got there at 8:30, but the tea garden was still empty. Workers strung up lights and prepared the sound system. Finally at 9:30 the first guests arrived.

Bahar’s parents hosted her henna night in their village 5 days before the wedding. At this important celebration, the bride and groom’s hands are tinted with henna as a sign of blessing.