Six Things I’m Thankful For

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, which was just over a week ago, I would like to mention a few items from the past week or so that I am feeling thankful for.

  • I am thankful, oh so thankful, to have made it to the end of Track 1. For each new track (the trimesters in the English Preparatory program), the students are shuffled into new groups and teachers are assigned new teaching schedules. I’m imagining reformed groups in which the students, now separated from their old talking buddies, gaze attentively at me in class…I’m imagining material that students will show an interest in learning…I’m imagining a world in which we all come out of the classroom enriched and smiling. I’ve heard that the students act worse in Track 2 than Track 1, but no! I must hope for better. And let me rejoice that the Track 1 classes are no more.
  • I am thankful that I will go see my folks for 10 days at the end of January! It will be winter break for the students, but teachers are pretty much always expected to be on campus. Family health, however, is the golden excuse, so when my dad was in the hospital a couple of weeks ago battling ongoing health issues, I decided to make the most of the situation. I am also thankful to have found a very good ticket price; I guess not many people want to go from Turkey to Boston in January. I sure do! I won’t feel as sad at Christmas, knowing that I’ll get a late celebration with my family. Keep watering that Christmas tree, Mom!
  • I was excited last week to take a 6-hour bus ride to and from Eskişehir, a city northeast of Izmir, for the TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language) Turkey Conference. I love riding the bus in other countries, so I was content as could be to sit and look out the window for that time. That’s a good thing, because otherwise I may have been disappointed that the American movies offered on the console had all been dubbed. I must say that it was a surprise to see Veggie Tales on offer…who knew Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber had found their way to Turkey and learned Turkish? The bus made quick stops every couple of hours, including a 25-minute stop halfway through at a roadside place where you could buy lunch. A number of other conferees were on my bus back to Izmir, which made for a fun and rather informative trip since I could ask them questions along the way.
  • Attending this conference allowed me not only to get out and about, but to see the city known as “The Venice of Turkey.” Of course I had to see what that was all about, so I found my way to downtown Eskişehir on the tram both evenings. There was a picturesque canal that twisted through the downtown with bridges connecting the shops, cafes, and restaurants that lined the banks. It was a cute and bustling area decorated with golden statues of people and animals. I can’t say that Venice would have naturally sprung to mind, but, okay. I suppose there’s probably no place in Turkey that looks more like Venice. For my Thanksgiving dinner I chose a little Turkish restaurant where I had a ground beef mixture wrapped in lavash (like a tortilla) with yogurt and a tomato-y sauce over it. Getting back to the hotel hit a snag when I couldn’t find a place to buy my tram ticket. I finally found out that I needed to go to the convenience store across the street. From my ensuing conversation with the man there, I gathered that either he was out of tickets, or perhaps he had sold his tram-ticket business to his friend across the street, or maybe he was recommending the ice cream bars. Anyway, no ticket. Eventually I offered money to a man who was bringing his family through the turnstiles, and he swiped an extra time for me. Thanks, helpful guy!
  • I am thankful for the lunch I got at the farmer’s market yesterday: rotisserie chicken and gözleme. Gözleme is a Turkish version of a quesadilla, and there are a few couples at the farmer’s market on Sunday who make them. I got one with eggplant spread and cheese. The man with rotisserie chickens took one off a spit and slid it onto a long, flat, thin piece of bread which he then wrapped around the chicken. It was the first time I had gotten either of these things, but it won’t be the last.
  • Finally, I am extremely thankful for those of you who are joining me here via this blog…it makes a real difference to me! Thank you, and Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

10 thoughts on “Six Things I’m Thankful For

  1. Hi you amazing wanderer! What a journey you are on my friend, I can’t say that the food looks good — but I’m trusting the fact that you would order it again says there is more than meets the eye in their cuisine.

    I am guessing you would prefer to not teach in Turkey again… It sounds like the daily task of reaching these students has been somewhat taxing — or to say the least, not a lot of fun. I wish I could be a fly on the wall! How is your language learning going there?

    It looked like you had some lovely teacher friends on the bus. I hope the teachers are better behaved and more enjoyable than your classes sound. How did the conference go?

    I am sorry to hear about your father going in and out of the hospital. I can imagine how worrisome that must be for you right now. I will be praying that the Lord give you peace as you teach and quell any worry that would steal your energy. The Lord is with your parents and with you…

    I am glad to hear you get to return home after the holiday for a visit.

    Nothing new in this area except that my son finally went off his medication. I knew this day would come… I can only pray for mercy over him at this time. So far (2.5 months later) he is doing well. But David Doering reminded me that the pattern of falling apart doesn’t occur until about the 4 month mark… the truth in his statement brought me back to images I’d rather not remember.

    But for now — I stay grateful, grateful, grateful for where we are in life. My mom turned 90 and is doing amazingly well. Still driving people to the doctors and around town. She is amazing.

    I’m on the pastoral search team and I am enjoying having this time to pray over Hillside in such a unique and specific manner. Jonathan stepped in as interim and is bringing new life to Hillside. My prayer has been that he re-direct the congregation to focus on Jesus. He is giving an open invitation to accept Christ at the end of every service. Two people gave their life to Christ yesterday…. May God be praised and glorified in Hillside’s future.

    I hope this finds you well and enjoying life in Turkey!!!

    Hugs to you my friend, Gloria



  2. Hi Jeanie!I spent the weekend in San Francisco and had a very nice time going to dinner with Willie and Brian on Friday and going to a symphony thing with them and niece Danielle on Saturday night. Did some shopping with Willie yesterday and visited Randy and Sonja on my way home last evening. So it was a busy weekend but very fun, and got me in the Christmas mood! I need to get some decorations up at home this week, I’ve been lagging on that but I do have a tree in a bucket in the backyard that Willie and I picked out two weeks ago! I’ll get it in the house today maybe. Sharon’s mom is in the hospital and not doing very well. Sharon says it she makes it out of this episode they will need to move her to Sequoia or assisted living, so that will be a big change for Sharon, but good for her mom to get more care. When I was staying up at the office with Willie a package got delivered from a client. It was a gift of lokum imported from Turkey. I had not had actual gourmet turkish delight before, and it was really yummy! Do you actually buy any from those shops you have shown pictures of? I would be eating that all the time! The chicken wrapped in bread sounds delicious, and the quesadilla things too. Sara


  3. I just want to say I am thankful for you!! You have seized life (as opposed to letting it just carry you along) and your intentionality has brought you face to face with both joys and struggles. You are modeling for all of us a way of living. I am so glad you will have a quick trip back to the states!! Give your folks my warm regards when you see them. And, now, here is to the next group of students! May this cohort exceed expectations and surprise you with attentiveness, hard work, and respect.


    1. I love reading your blog posts about your adventures exploring Izmir and beyond, Jeanie! It’s great seeing the photos, too, and don’t you look pretty! How nice that you will be able to spend some time with your parents. 💟
      I sure wish those students would wake up and realize what a wonderful teacher they have and that they might experience some gratitude for you! Hugs!


  4. Thank you for sharing Jeanie! I love your blog. Great to see those familiar pictures. Glad you get to travel. Safe travels back to the US and prayers for your fathers good health. Please send me your address so I can send you an Xmas card.


  5. Another wonderful surrogate tour! I’m glad track 1 has left your sense of humor intact, Jeanie. Have a great trip home to see your folks!

    Love, Jane PS. Your hair looks awesome!

    Sent from my iPad



  6. Thankful for you Jeanie! I hope you enjoy Christmas in Izmir, while looking forward to Boston in January. I’m glad you are able to come home for a few days. I’m enjoying your stories and travels. Your hair looks great!


  7. Jeanie! Hello again. I haven’t written in a while but I have very much enjoyed your blog. Your hair looks so so good! I hope we can meet up again at some point. It brings me some comfort knowing you will be back in the States for a bit. I’m glad you can see your parents. I have been extremely busy! The busiest I have ever been in fact. I just finished my first term for my multiple subjects credential. I was in a first grade class for the past 11 weeks. I had a fantastic mentor teacher. The kids were lovely. Next term in January I will be in a fourth grade class with a friend’s class. She will be another great teacher to learn from. The coursework is challenging and time-consuming but very practical. It is hard to fit that in with student teaching and working at Liberty as lead teacher AND taking care of three kids. Very very challenging! But it is just a season. I really love being lead teacher at Liberty. I will tell you more details about that maybe in an email?? Do you have the same email address? Much love to you. We will be in TN just after Christmas. I will think of you up in Massachusetts!


  8. Hello Jeanie! As usual your writing is very funny even when your experiences are not so much with the funny. Ping me if you need anything and/or have time to get together when you’re back in New England in January! I’m sorry that you can’t be with your family for Christmas!


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