Saturday, August 08, 2009

We Need Bigger Luggage... that we can bring home all of our favorite Turkish things. The sea, the public transportation system, the saturday market, Magnum ice cream bars, gözleme ladies, and our beautiful friends- just to name a few. We can't believe it is the beginning of our last week here- we'll be home before you know it, but I'm not sure we've soaked in all the Turkey-ness yet. Hopefully we can get it all in this week.

Since we last updated (sorry it's been so long!) we have had a lot of new fun experiences. Unfortunately, the camp still isn’t ready to open so we haven’t had the opportunity to work there at all. Our time has not been wasted though, as we have continued to fill roles with the English conversation classes, at the rehab center, and now decorating a kreş(preschool). Over the last few weeks we have been helping and running three different conversation classes, with all different ages. We have worked with teenagers, college students, and adults- reading fun stories and teaching vocabulary from them, playing games, and mostly just talking about anything and everything. This has been a wonderful way to connect with some of the local people here in Antalya, and we have built some great relationships with them. Many times after our afternoon class we would hang out and play games, eat good food, learn how to dance, make jewelry and just hang out with the younger girls- both from the church and from the English classes. We have loved seeing great progress in so many of the students- mostly in their confidence to speak English. This last week was our last with the classes, and it was sad to say goodbye to our friends.

 We had a few more weeks at the rehab center, which was just wonderful. The friends that we made there are so dear to our hearts, and we are hoping to go see them one more time before we leave. They have been closed the last two weeks for holiday, so we have really missed spending time with them. We consistently saw a lot of the same kids and it was a joy to see their faces light up when they would come do crafts with us. It was a complete blessing to watch these kids express their personalities and their talents through the simple art projects that we brought. We also made friends with a lot of the staff- especially Seval who we got to spend time with outside of the center, which was really fun and another wonderful example of the hospitality of the Turks.

 Last week we got an invitation from Verna’s friend Tanşule to come and decorate the rooms in her newly re-opened kreş. This has been such a fun project as we have complete creative freedom to as much of anything that we want. We’ve spent our days cutting out and creating all types of shapes and creatures with construction paper and lots of glitter glue. We’ve completed three rooms and look forward to doing a couple more this week before we leave.

 Over the last month we have traveled to Ephesus, Side, and Cappadocia. We went to Ephesus in two groups and had very different experiences, but all loved it. It is an incredible places full of beauty and rich history. Side is another beautiful place, only an hour and a half outside of Antalya. Here we visited more ruins located right on the beach and just enjoyed the beauty around us as the sun went down. Cappadocia was a really fun place to see. There are tons of natural rock formations because of volcanoes that have been turned into houses and hotels and caves. We took a tour and saw a huge underground city and some old churches built into the sides of a canyon. These have all been really fun trips showing us a lot of different sides of Turkey.

 We continue to have lots of laughs as we move through our days here. I think that we are all pretty much on the same page- we love this place and there is so much that we will miss, but we are also ready to come home. This last week is full of spending some last moments of quality times with friends, finishing our project at the kres and then heading to Istanbul on Thursday for a couple days of sight seeing.

 Thanks for all of the prayers, can’t wait to see you!

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