Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Hello, happy waiting people! I'm sorry to keep you waiting on the knowledge of Olive Grove haps. We are well into week one of our "holiday adventure" and things are going marvelously. I have a small group of eleventh grade girls and have grown to love them loads and loads (one of my girls has a propper British accent that is to die for). Our theme for these two weeks is "Storie That Guide". We are studying stories from the Bible that provide practical and important lessons, especially for TCKs. In addition to stories up my wazoo, I'm teaching the "girl time" elective. We (Meg and I) are teaching Jr. High and High School girls about holistic health. Today that looked like giving out personality quizes to the girls which point out strengths that would guide their psychological health. Those are some official highlights of our time thus far.

Now for the juicy stuff...actually, just some fun observations. I've noticed a few things have changed since the last time I was at Olive Grove. For one, the pensiyon paved parts of its grass area so that the children don't have to walk in the mud. Also, there are a few more bungaloes that have been added to the girls' side of the property and there seems to be more flowers around the grounds this year than last. These may seem like trivial things...and they probably are. But I like that I can notice the change. Coming back to a place so...remote, so unique, so "I would never ever know this was part of our planet had someone not dropped me here"...it does something neat to the soul. I have very vivid memories of last year's OG experience, so the subtle changes in scenery have possibly helped me to make new memories with my new kids and new (wonderful) co-counselors. But one thing remains the same: the sea. The Mediterranean is stunningly beautiful at any point in the day and I praise God when I look around me and see where I am. Gorgeous.

Yesterday, the upperclass men and women got to go to a high ropes course during the day. It was a genuinely fun experience and a lot of good team building went down. In particular, I noticed that some of the girls (myself most definitely included) could not complete every course by themselves, so they would have to take help from the boys on certain challenges. Namely, course in which you had to pull your body weight (as in: with my ARMS) at an uphill slant! You learn a lot about people when you're depending on them and in this case, I learned that the high schoolers here are a stellar bunch of young people. Skipping off to do the fun ropes course did not come without consequenses, however. Many of us were very sore today from the strange movements. In addition, I'm participating in a work out every day during "girl time" and working on a TOP SECRET group dance for the talent show next Friday. To say the least, I'll get a healthy dose of exercise while here and I can't complain about that! Another thing to not complain about would be the weather. Considering how hot it was last year, I've been feeling very grateful for the early morning/late evening breezes and cool-downs. Even still, I bet each person here talks about the heat at least 10 times a day... maybe I'll try to make my portion all positives tomorrow.

So besides these abstract observations and concrete updates, an important thing for everyone to know is that I've changed my name. Only temporarily though, don't worry! Since we have a Christine, a Krista, a Krystal, and a Christen here at OG, I thought it might be easier on everyone (and on my personal attention needs) to remember me by a completely different name. We deliberated for a while and settled on the name Skye. For the first few days of camp it was weird introducing myself as Skye without adding the seemingly necessary clause: "well that's not my real name, but I'm going by Skye right now...", but now everyone has pretty well caught on and I'm responding to my new name. Yes, we're all lucid. I've always wanted a seasonal name! You know me and my seasons...

On Thursday we will hike to the eternal flames and on Sunday we'll do our annual boat trip to Olympos! I hope to tell more very soon.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Headed to camp tomorrow!

Some important things I need to report (I'm mentally...and physically making notes so I don't forget anything):

The Friday shopping trip at Metro
P________t Sunday
The balcony.

I have the dog on my lap...I don't particularly like animals, but I've made a great connection with Dabi. I think it's because I give him my leftover meat and let him lick me when I'm sweaty (ok, maybe TMI, but it's a dog thing!). So yes, right now Dabi and I are sitting on the balcony, listening to evening Turkish street music, updating the blog. With our current location in mind, I'll start with "the balcony". Getting up early and sitting on the balcony with my journal, the Word, and an iced chai has become one of my favorite parts of my temporarily-usual routine. From here, I can see the street below, the entire city, a great portion of the sea, and the mountains. Yes, this is me suffering for my Master, haha!
In all seriousness, I have really been feeling blessed and I'm grateful for this balcony. I will miss it! Oh yeah, forgot to mention that this is the last evening I'm staying at this particular house.

Tomorrow, we go to camp! Most of this week has been devoted to camp preparations...which leads me to "the Friday shopping trip at Metro". Metro is like a Costco-Target-Ikea-Home Depot-gone European! It is very large and very familiar looking, oddly enough. This past Friday, we traveled there to shop for all the camp snacks. Believe me, we shopped hard! We filled two large crates and two regular shopping carts with snacks and other various supplies for camp. Some favorite Turkish snacks of mine are Dankeks and Cizi crackers...we'll be eating a lot of those in the weeks to come.
Metro, check.

This Sunday was "P_____t Sunday". Interestingly enough, there was a guest speaker and guest music team visiting our service. I was teaching the children's lesson, but the children get to sit in on a good part of the service before being dismissed, so I was able to witness something really cool. A man got up and read from Acts, when we found that our situation was quite similar to the one being recited! We were also gathered in an upper room with about the same amount of people listed in the Word. In fact, the very area of Antalya is mentioned in Acts (it's ancient name). This was just a really neat experience and a very profound showing of God's continuous work in a place that has gone backward in the realm of JC's influence.

Ah, yes. "Rain-o-plenty"...don't have too much to say about this, but I have been enjoying the sporadic showers. Though the sun has been out for the most part, we've seen a downpour in the late afternoon for the past few days. So interesting to me! I'll allow the pictures to tell the story (yes, it's me, dancing in the rain!...and trying on snorkel gear).

...and up top is the Dedeman: my very literal "beacon of light". I can see it from my bed when I sleep so I know if I've found it as a bus stop, I'm almost home!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Reça ederim (?)

We've had some days off while Renata and Jim have been away, so we've done a lot of things around the house! Yesterday, this meant cleaning, setting up the upstairs balcony for "outdoor eating season", and cooking with Belgin, one of the cooks from Paul's Place.

We had so much fun! She speaks very little English and I (obviously) speak very little Turkish, so we took it upon ourselves to teach one another some important phrases. Neither of us keow how to say "You're welcome" in the other language, so we worked on that for a while. It's funny, hearing someone try to remember "you're welcome" by repeating and working through each syllable made me realize how silly I must sound trying to say "reça ederim". I don't even know if reça is the right word, but I know it's close!

So Belgin and I made quite the dinner! We put together a savory tart with dough that was made from scratch. The tart had olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and 3 different white cheeses ("beyaz penir"). Then, I learned how to make a proper Turkish salad with VERY thinly cut lettuce. It took a while to cut! Lastly, Belgin put together a delicious chicken dish with cream, cheese, and potato chips...not the healthiest dinner overall, but very yummy.

Today things will pick up a bit more, as camp quickly approaches. Admin is my middle name! I am so grateful for the many opportunities we have to work indoors as the weather warms up significantly. My body is still not used to this humidity, so a constant sweat is strange. I'm grateful, too, for the goodness of God toward me and toward this family. We have met so many friendly people and I am excited about the staff that will be up at Olive Grove.

More soon!

During the "inaugural" swim in the Med, Krista (left), Tressa (right), and I paid a tribute to Titanic, hehe.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Old City vs. Downtown

We have been doing a lot of administrative prep for camp. Yesterday, I spent time creating covers for the song books and word study books the campers receive at the beginning of camp. I'll continue that today, giving my "boss" a few options of graphics from which to choose. I'm having fun with it!

Renata and Jim are out of town for a couple of days, so Krista and I are "watching over" Talya (their daughter) and the dog. Last night we made brownies with Talya, but she and Krista would not let me bake the normal way! They tied us all together and blindfolded some of us and made some of us not use hands and...oh my goodness it took forever. I wasn't so into this game, but in the end we got some tasty brownies out of the crazy.

Something I've noticed straight away this week is that my Turkish experience last year was greatly different from what I'll be experiencing this year. First of all, last year I did not actually interact with a whole lot of Turks since our main focus was camp, while this year I will be in the city more with countless opportunities to interact and make Turkish friends. Also, last year when I was not at camp, I stayed in Old City. Paul's Place (the main center for Christian activity here) is located in Old City and so was my Pansiyon (hotel), La Paloma. I did not realize that downtown Antalya would have such a different feel from Old City. With that said, however, Krista and I are making a great team. Since she arrived almost two weeks before me, she knows downtown and the bus system pretty well, while I know the walking paths of Old City. I've been really grateful for her help in navigating this urban jungle.

SO, we are going to Old City today! Renata left us with a few tasks to finish up and then ordered us to "rest up", so we're going to throw a little fun into our day as well. Once we're done with our admin. tasks for the morning, we'll bus over to Old City where I will show Krista all the wonderful shops and cobble-stone paths. We're also going to get döner for lunch...I can't believe we haven't eaten it yet! Again, different locations within the city bring very different experiences.

Above: downtown Antalya...the view I have from the kitchen window!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Happy WORLD Environment Day! (Oh hey, I'm in Turkey)

Merhaba! Hopefully many of you received an email from me about my arrival...it happened, hehe.

Days 1, 2, and 3 of this adventure have been great and praise Him that I am nearly adjusted to the time difference. I am no slave to jet lag!

Friday evening, I arrived and was picked up by Renata, who commended me on my not over-packing (Yes!). We got to their house, had the first melon of the season (what a blessing; I felt like I would be missing out on the garden at home, but hello, I forgot I'd be returning to the land of fresh produce...Dad, you would die at the sight of this farmer's market. Amazing.), and then I was off to bed.

On Saturday (yesterday) we attended a Shakespeare festival for the youth group at church. It was basically an end of the school year talent show. After, there was a BBQ and fellowship time in the courtyard at church. I met many people, including some co-counselors who will be at camp. After that, we headed to a new friend's house for dinner and then back home for birthday ice cream. It was Krista's birthday on Friday! She is my co-intern and I was so happy to finally meet her face to face yesterday. We share lots of the same interests and personality traits, so I know we will work well together.

This morning, I am about to go get ready for church where Jim will be giving a message having to do with World Environment Day. You can imagine how excited I am.


He asked if I would get up and speak during testimony time on some ways I find creation care compelling and how I live this out. Wow! Who would've thought. Our God is SO good.

The hard work of camp prep will likely start tomorrow, so I may update again mid-week. Thank you all for lifting me up! I definitely need it and appreciate it greatly.

Güle güle (see you later)!

The picture above is me in Istanbul, obviously enjoying some trail mix at who knows what hour (my bod was a bit confused by that point).

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I Love Comments!

Today is the day! Here's what I'll look like for the next 7 weeks:

I loved finding this backpack in our rafters the other day. Apparently it belongs to my brother and I didn't even know we had it! I'll be honest: I'm bringing another suitcase too, but I did achieved my goal of not (majorly) over-packing! I am, again, owning the Birkenstock and Nalgene look this summer...ChristINE with the grEEN NalgENE.

[And have no fear, I WILL find a way to recycle in Turkey.]

So...if I may leave a very blunt hint, I LOVE COMMENTS! And since commenting may be a little difficult on blogger, I've made a cheat sheet for all my faithful readers. To leave a comment:

Click on the "comments" link at the bottom of the post.

Leave your comment in the box that appears.

Sign your name IN the comment and click the "anonymous" button bellow commenting box.

Click submit and you're done!

If you have a google or blogger account, you can sign in and leave a comment with your username, but anonymous commenting is very quick and simple. If you're able, I would love to hear from you! Also, do not hesitate to email me whilst I'm gone (British house guests had a lovely effect on me).

See you all on the other side!