Confession: I'm really bad at goodbyes. Especially when I know that they are permanent this side of heaven. Once I'm alone (like now) and have had time to process, I get all awkward and semi-introspective. Fortunately, I'm alone and none of you have to witness this but you're not out of the woods yet bc I'm going to share a few thoughts with you. There are a lot of things about Turkey that I enjoy, and for the record, they're not Turkish since I've spent the majority of my time in a nice Western hotel... but things about this trip in general:
1. My bathroom is the size of half my apartment (only a slight exaggeration) and I've taken a bath in my HUGE garden tub everyday... sometimes twice... I'm extremely sad to be parting with it.
2. I've eaten baklava at least twice a day everyday that I've been here... I'm going to miss that (see pic above for what baklava is if you're not sure).
3. I will miss walking outside and being surrounded by a completely different language (inside I was surrounded by English speakers...). I love the dif. smells, different building structures, faces that are not like mine. It's glorious.
4. I love walking into a bakery, buying a cake, & getting offered a free pastry & chai all because I'm a foreigner. LOVE it.
5. I will DEFINITELY miss the Chinese national (olympic) fencing team that stole my treadmill despite having left my towel, watch, empty water bottle all on the machine. Yes... it was awkward to walk up to an olympian, grab my items off the treadmill they kept using, and then sit quietly on some machine patiently/obviously waiting until one of their teammates finishes so I can restart my run. awkward. No but seriously, the dif. fencing teams from dif. nations were very fascinating to watch. Pretty cool - I've never seen an olympian in person before. :)
6. I love these students we've been working with. I've been so encouraged to hear their stories of perseverance, joy, love, tragedy, and commitment to the Gospel. They have given up much for something greater & I have so enjoyed learning from them as I've worked with them this week. They will definitely be missed.
7. A national partner has stayed with us all week assisting us with language, transportation, logistics, etc. She has been WONDERFUL. This is the 2nd time I've worked with her and the 3rd time for our school; thus she's no longer a coworker but a friend. It breaks my heart to leave her, not only because I'm leaving her friendship not knowing when I'll see her again, but because I know that I'm leaving her without a loving understanding and belief in the Gospel. I've had a really hard time with that tonight. Please join me in praying for my her.
8. Grace. I've seen the grace of God move and change my heart in a variety of ways towards persons, organizations, etc. this week. Ironically, it's not that my opinion has changed, but my heart attitude towards these things have been shifting and that is a HUGE answer to prayer. I've been praying for a while that God would release me from the negative attitude I've held towards them.
9. I really like living with the CGCS staffers & families for a week. I'm obviously partial to the women (Lesley & Charlotte), but the guys aren't so bad either when they behave (Scott, Greg, & Dr. Akin). ;)
10. I will miss the ginormous window strategically placed beside my bathtub that takes up almost the entire wall. And oh, did I mention that there are no blinds, curtains, ANYTHING? Yes, I'm on the 4th floor. Yes, it overlooks the Marmara and is a gorgeous view. Yes, I still use my bathtub. NO, I'm not buying that there is a special "film" that prevents you from peeping into my room at night when the lights are on inside. Yes... I will miss even that.
Since I don't know quite when my next international trip will be, this makes the end of this one harder. When I say I love traveling, I really mean that I absolutely adore the different people and cultures I come in contact with. Sometimes when I'm overseas, I feel like I'm made for that particular moment... but that is a dangerous thought because if not maintained it could lead me to idolizing the international life and rejecting the sovereignty of God. So I must recognize God's sovereign hand in having me in Raleigh for this phase in life (& perhaps forever).
I'm thankful for these opportunities though. God is good in giving me these sweet moments.
So for now, goodbye Turkey. Much love to you all... see you on the western side of things.