Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Its a Boy Mrs Walker, Its a Boy

Hello People,

  As many of you may know, Little Orbit was born less than a week ago on July, 26!  A little later I'll post lots of thoughts here about the joys of fatherhood, but at the moment I'm too in the middle of it all. I'm still just starting to process the fact that I am a father, I haven't started to figure out what that means. I can tell you this though, before last Thursday I did not know that such a love was possible for another human being.  I now understand God's love for us, His children, that allows Him to make such sacrifices and endure such pain on our behalf.  As soon as I saw my son, as blue and smurf like as he initially was (if you haven't seen a newly newborn, look it up) I knew that this was a completely different love to any other that I had ever experienced.  Its a love that knows no bounds.  It is not based on action, or benefit.  My love for my son is endless because of who he is.

   Hazel and I are very happy to have Orbit with us now.  Our family of two has grown and it is amazing how perfect that growth is.  It is certainly stressful. I have somehow acquired the ability to change a diaper while being so sleepy that I can't focus my vision, and I'm running on less sleep than an overstudious college student in finals week. But even with this stress and lack of sleep, God's blessing is perfect.

"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.  From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me- holy is his name.  His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation." The Magnificat, Luke 1:46-51

More to come...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Air Traffic (Out of) Control

Hello! It is I, Bess Strange!
I will start my first post with what, in my opinion, is the best sibling picture ever.

I am going to try briefly summarize my first week with my wonderful sister-in-law and nephew to be, and my brother. My trip getting here was a very hectic, sort of funny journey. I will just preface this story by saying that I want to fly as an unaccompanied minor for the rest of my life! My plane from Atlanta to New Wark, NJ, was landing at the exact time that my plane was supposed to be leaving for Telmar. That alone is a little disconcerting for me. When we finally landed a man came down the aisle to get me and said "follow me". As we are running down stairs and hallways through the airport I find out that the airline is holding the flight for me! I am so thankful for Jerome, who showed me the way as we raced through to my terminal and down the airport in a golf cart while shouting "get out of the way!". I wouldn't have been able to handle it without him! When I got on the plane, around an hour after it was supposed to have left I didn't even feel self conscious of  the people in the aisles staring me down. I was just thankful for being on the flight. I arrived in Telamr and was greeted by the greatest welcoming party, Mr. & Mrs. Strange, little Orbit ( in the womb still) and my new friend Bubbles!

Having all that out of the way, here starts my first week and a half in pictures.

The Blue Mosque

The Hagia Sophia, I really had to stop myself from posting all the pictures from here! It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

          The light did funny things with my camera, but I thought this picture showed the inside pretty well.  


                                     I think that Mr. Strange looks particularly heroic in this picture!

I love all the mosques here, I think that they are so pretty.

This is Chorra church, which has beautiful still-intact mosaics.
Mr. Strange and I noticed smoke billowing from a nearby building.....

..... Upon inspection we found a burning building in the middle of the city!

Now I am skipping a few days and going to my favorite pictures!! Of my new nephew!

Hurray for being an aunt!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Mutlu Bayramlar

Hello People,

Its an exciting time in the Strange household.  Bess arrived safely here on Tuesday and it is great to have my sister here.  So far I haven't given her anytime to catch her breath.  We have stayed on the go since the morning of her first full day here.  I could tell you about it, but why not let her speak for herself.  As I keep telling her, I live here. Our sightseeing  is all about her so why don't I let you get her perspective.

In addition to the arrival of sister Bess, we are also expecting the eminent arrival of our newest family member, Little Orbit.  Hazel has taken to referring to him as "Baby Hulk" because at the moment his 38 week old head is measuring at 41 weeks. The rest of him is on a similar scale. Two weeks ago our doctor told us that she was going to stop telling us how big he is. It was enough to say that he is a big boy.  Maybe she was right.  We had another appointment yesterday and he's measuring 8 and 1/2 pounds.  Everything is looking good though, so expect some news  from us sometime next week!

Today marks the start of the holiday of Ramadan, or as it is called here, "Ramazan."  This city gets excited for Ramazan.  All of the mosques are decked out in lights and decorations and the restaurants and grocers are all stocked for the evening feasting.  Even though fasting lasts from sun up to sun down, I read an article this morning that said the restaurants here in the city can expect a 30% increase in revenue, around 4 billion liras (+/- 2 billion USD) during this month! Even though we are not muslim, the excitement at the beginning of Ramazan is a little infectious.  Maybe its similar to the feeling in the air around Christmas time in the States?

Recently I visited my friend Rabadash, who works at our corner bakery.  Many of the relationships I've made here are based more on smiles and goodwill than verbal communication, mostly because of my own severe deficiencies in the local language.  Rabadash, a dedicated fan of the comedy of Conan O, speaks english and enjoys using it to converse with me as well as helping me with my use of his language.  It had been a while since I visited him so when I got there we talked for a few minutes about life in general before the conversation turned to much more serious matters: Sports.  "Miami," he said, "Champions this year."  I'm not an NBA fan.  The last time I watched the NBA championship, or any other game for that matter, was the Bulls vs the Jazz in 1997 on a tiny, rabbit eared, black &  white television set at my grandparents house.  Still, I keep up  a little bit for moments like this.  "Yeah," I said, "LeBron finally did it."  He asked me if I saw it and when I told him no he filled me in on some of the more exciting details of the championship.  Talk then turned to other sports and eventually he asked me, "What is your favorite Telmarine team?"  You may ask, "In what sport?"  But if you lived here or just visited here you would quickly figure out that though most of Telmar may be in Asia, it is much like the rest of Europe in its choice of national sport. The people here may follow other sports, but for them Soccer is sultan!  Now this question, if I'm honest, was a little bit dreaded.  I've been trying to decide between two of the teams for a while now and hadn't come to any solid decision yet, so when he asked me I knew it was time for a decision.  "I don't know," I told him, "I've been kind of torn between Slytherin (the asian team) and Gryffindor(the European team), but I guess I'm leaning toward Gryffindor."  These are not the real team names, by the way, but the colors are the same.  Immediately he told me, "No, my friend. I go for Slytherin. On this side (Asia) you must go for Slytherin."  "Very well," I said, "I'm Slytherin." and we shook hands on it.  He then asked me what was my favorite NBA team.  I don't have one, but I figured, why not go for the hometown?  "Atlanta Hawks," said I.
"Very well," he said,"I'm for Atlanta Hawks." And we shook hands.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Almost Famous

Hello People,

I know, I know.  Hazel and I have broken our promise.  We have no where near given you a post a day about our life in Telmar.  I apologize, however we have been busy and I plan on using that business to make it up to you.  Last week I promised you pictures of our local market.  Today I make good on that promise.  I didn't know how it would go over taking a camera with me.  Lets face it, you either love cameras or hate them; love tourists or just want them all to go away.  Good for me, maybe a little too good for me, the market, apparently, loves them.  As soon as I arrived I was greeted with cries of "Take Picture!" and "Facebook'da!*"  At every table people were motioning me over and asking me to take pictures of, not only their produce, but themeselves as well.  I only got through half of the market and took 33 pictures.  As all of the venders were quite thrilled to be so sought out by a paparazzo as myself, and here I quote one man,"I am almost famous!" (to which I replied, I am a golden god...no I didn't), I couldn't bring myself to edit them.  So, without further ado, I give you the uncensored record of my most recent trip to the pazaar.

Please note: because of the number of pictures I've split this post into two parts.  Don't miss the link to the second part midway through.

There are two things to know about the market.  1) Everything is very fresh.  2) It is horribly exciting, by which I mean, it is great fun going.  Believe me, its not your typical trip to the grocery store where you will stand quietly but impatiently behind the coupon user blocking the aisle with 4 carts.  No, here you jostle and bump and cut through and generally try to avoid stepping on or being stepped on and boy is it worth it. Can you see the 85 krus price tag on those watermelons?  100 krus = 1 lira.  1.89 lira = 1 dollar.  You do the math.

The stall below was my first foray into asking the dreaded question, "Take Peecture?"  You can see by the picture below that, I had nothing to worry about.

You can get just about anything at the pazaar.  From the fresh fruits and vegetables that you see above and will see again below, to the carpets in this picture and the clothing and luggage in the background, and even to vacuum cleaner bags that we had searched for in stores for over two months!

Look at this.  Mountains and mountains of fresh, handpicked cherries.  Delicious.

As a vegetarian, I approve this picture.  Eggplant galore here. All of the prices here are by the kilogram.   Two lira a kilogram for eggplant.  Wow!  Vegetarian heaven.

 More and better pictures after the jump...