Category Archives: Teach

The end in sight

Over the hump.

I’ve taught art for 13 years and every year the spring is exhausting! There’s always a rush to get through all the lessons you planned, squeeze in more school activities and enjoy the sunshine and social life that springtime brings. This year in Istanbul is no different, however, the end is in sight and I have a lot to be thankful for and much to look forward to.

I’ve lived here for eight months and the time has flown by, as I knew it would. No matter how tired I am on Friday night, I force myself out on the weekends to partake in this great city and I’m always glad I did. When my alarm goes off on Saturday morning, even when it is foggy or rainy outside, I force myself up and out. I cannot conquer this amazing city; there’s always too much going on. And because of its enormous size, by the time I get back around to another part of the city, so much has changed! It is constant, and I am energized by it.

It seems impossible that already this summer I will be considering my future and trying to determine my next career move. Because the hiring season for international teachers starts about a year ahead of the school year, this fall, when I return back to school to fulfill the second year of my contract, I will need to determine what I will do next. I have three choices and I swing back and forth like a pendulum between them. 1) Extend my two-year contract in Istanbul either for one or two more years, 2) job search for a new school in a new country (where?) and move again during the summer of 2015, 3) move back to the USA (where?) during the summer of 2015 and find a job, a car and a house (and thank you, Mr. Obama, new, required health insurance). Blah. There are so many emotions and realities tied up in those three options! I am hoping this summer, after I visit back in the USA, I will better be able to know the answer.

 

Here’s what I’ve been doing:

• I went to my first Istanbul Breakfast Club. Olga, the hostess who served us in her home, prepared a Moroccan breakfast. She had just returned from a Moroccan foodie tour and brought back spices and recipes to try out on us. This was perfect timing because . .

• I went to Morocco over Spring Break! I traveled with a friend from my school and stayed with another lovely teacher friend in Casablanca. We then took a train to Marrakech, stayed in a Riad, drank loads of mint çay, shopped in the souks and watched a snake charmer! I read most of my next month’s book club book, The Sheltering Sky, by Paul Bowles, about Morocco. Nice, serendipitous connection.

• I went to the Istanbul Tulip Festival in Emergan Park. From my friend Ginney’s blog, Istanbul’da you can learn the history of the Turkish Tulip. This once-a-year event is the gateway to springtime in Istanbul. Over 20 million!!! tulip bulbs are planted in the city and it is gorgeous!

• I walked on the TOP of the ancient, Byzantine city walls during the “Love Tour”, a historical, walking tour that highlighted famous love stories of Istanbul. We also went in beautiful mosques and a preserved, mosaic-filled Christian church.

• I took my Grade 3 students on a field trip to the Hali Carpet Museum in Sultanhamet. It was amazing seeing the beautiful kalims that are centuries old!

• I went to my Canadian friend, Melanie’s art opening near Taksim and went to my Russian friend, Oxana’s art opening in Arnavutkoy. These ladies are so talented and both almost sold out of their creations before I got there.

• I’ve found an art store that I love and have slowly begun to buy some paint. I am finishing up a few watercolors and a couple of acrylic paintings.

• During the recent elections in Turkey, both twitter and youtube were blocked in the entire country! That’s been interesting…

• I went to a Picasso show at the Pera Museum. Picasso is always so inspirational and I had never seen these prints and ceramics!

• I’m looking forward to spending time over the next month traveling in Turkey to amazing cities east of Istanbul. Turkey is a traveler’s paradise. Istanbul was just ranked the most popular travel destination in the WORLD by TripAdvisor.

• I planned, installed and exhibited around 250 student artworks in my first Primary School Art Exhibition at my school. It was wildly successful and I was delighted for the attention it brought to my kids and the visual arts!

• I went to the fantastic Marc Quinn exhibition at Arter Gallery and was amazed at his talent for painting, sculpture and textiles. What an inspirational, contemporary artist!

• I continue to be active in two groups and am making many friends in each: PAWI (Professional American Women of Istanbul) and Global Minds Book Club. Both groups are comprised of international people who have vocations that are admired: artists, writers, journalists, charity workers, sociologists, attorneys, psychologists, translators, educators and business owners.

I want to challenge you to get out and learn something new today. Don’t let the day slip by without smiling and sharing a bit of yourself with the world.

 

The ad below is placed on my blog by WordPress. I do not have any opinion or association with the ad. Please do not “click” it. Thank you.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bullet Points

BulletPointsSpring awaits.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written. The pace of my life here in Istanbul never slows down. It’s almost March and before you know it, I will have finished my first year of teaching in an IB International World School. It’s gone by fast, as I knew it would.

Here is a quick summary of what I’ve been up to:

• I went to Barcelona for Christmas and fell in love all over again with Salvador, Pablo and Antoni. An art-filled week, spent with a friend I met and roomed with at the 2013 SA Boston Job Fair. Remember? This was during the horrible blizzard last year. She got a job at that fair and is now teaching in Switzerland.

• I had my teeth cleaned at my new Turkish dentist! After tie-dying with my students that day, my hands were stained red. My limited-English-speaking dentist found that quite curious and amusing!

• I went to Athens for a 3-day weekend with a few friends from school. It was breathtaking, coming up the narrow staircase to the hotel’s rooftop terrace and seeing the Parthenon lit up at night. It was one of those “Ah-ha” moments, like when I saw the Colosseum for the first time in 2007. It was an amazing, educational weekend, but I found myself in visual overload of Greek art.

• Upon arrival back in Istanbul, I got a horrible sinus infection and had to find a new Turkish doctor! He speaks English and, after a sinus x-ray, insisted that I not go to work for two days. Forced to stay home, I Skyped into my Grade 5 classroom and continued to instruct them in printmaking! Although I’m much better, I’ve had a hacking cough for 3 weeks. Urgh!

• I joined the Global Minds Book Club here in Istanbul. Our book this month was by American social anthropologist, Jenny White and she was in attendance at our meeting! We discussed her book, “Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks,” but I’ve also read one of her fiction novels, “The Sultan’s Seal.”

• I spent hours at Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence. It was THE most interesting museum/installation that I have ever been to. The museum is based on his book of the same name. If you ever come to Istanbul, read this book, then go to the museum. I’m hoping to meet Orhan one of these days when I’m out strolling in his neighborhood.

• I’m planning a trip to Casablanca and Marrakesh, Morocco in a month. I can’t wait! Another friend lives and teaches there. I wonder how it will be different from Istanbul?

I’m continuing to meet interesting people here and I’m convinced there is no way to ever discover all the mysteries of this adventure-filled city.  Although chilly and rainy today, most days are spring-like and many of the trees have new buds on their branches.

Thanks for reading and I hope your days are filled with love.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Wrapping Up The Year

treeimageDreams realized.

Sometimes I get paralyzed and can’t write. I have a hard time distinguishing what would be the best thing to share because I experience so much in this amazing city every week. I’m continuing to meet new people and I’m deepening relationships with friends I’ve met over the last four months. I’m witnessing wonderful, learning experiences in my classroom and I’ve (almost) memorized the names of my 240 students. I’m getting involved with organizations and continuing to explore art galleries, museums and the many little streets and shops in Istanbul.

Time is moving at an incredible pace. The end of another year will be here shortly and when I reflect on my Annual Review this year, it will show the satisfaction of a goal realized; a goal that began 7 years ago with a free trip I won to Paris and London.

PortaxeI am entirely grateful. My life is rich beyond measure. Somehow I was fortunate enough to get a job at a great school in a culturally rich city. Recently my school gave us an evening at Portaxe, a beautiful restaurant, on the shores of the Bosphorus. This was in recognition of Teacher Appreciation Day, an actual day on the Turkish calendar, in which teachers are given gifts of love. It is so nice to be in a country that actually appreciates its teachers! As we entered Portaxe, we were greeted with trays of cocktails and the evening was celebrated with an open bar, delicious food, live band and lots of dancing! This past week we were given a beautifully wrapped box containing a personalized bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and deliciously rich Christmas fruit cake.

PAWI11.9.13Two of the very best discoveries of moving to Istanbul are two organizations I’ve joined called FWI (Foreign Women of Istanbul) and PAWI (Professional American Women of Istanbul). FWI operates with a Facebook presence and these remarkable women can answer any question about Istanbul that is put before them, including, “Where can I find marshmallows in Istanbul?” and my recent question of “Are banks open on Sunday?” PAWI meetings are monthly and rotate between Asia Istanbul and Europe Istanbul. Their meetings always include guest speakers. Since I’ve been here, our speakers have included a psychologist, who shared her experiences of working with people on the residual effects of the Gezi protests, a historian-artist-writer who just published her second book, Drawing on Istanbul 2,  and the Adahan Hotel and Restaurant owner who spoke to us about the years of sacrifice she and her husband gave to an 1874 building, bringing it back from the dead and turning it into a thriving business.  The discussions and knowledge base of these women is broad. Some are attorneys, others writers. Some work in marketing, others as translators. Some are owners of restaurants and hotels and some work in banking and education. Within these groups I’m finding many new friends, each with her own unique story of how it is she lives in Istanbul.

I’m happy to report that I’ve also experienced my first snowfall in Istanbul. It was gorgeous! It not only snowed in Istanbul, it snowed all over the Middle East and we quickly learned how Cairo, Egypt got snow for the first time in 122 years! After easing myself down the hill that morning, and into my warm classroom, I was shocked at the beauty outside my wall of windows. The sight continued to amaze my students and I all day long as nature painted a frozen picture across the landscape. Although we were graciously given two days of early release, I was hoping for a snow day so I could somehow get to Aya Sophia, lay down in its courtyard and make a snow angel, as I’d heard of some teachers doing last year.

MiroThe availability of world-class art continues to amaze me. Last week I went with a Turkish friend to the Miro Exhibition. I found it difficult to concentrate on the beautiful artwork because I was distracted by the amazing architecture. The exhibition building was a canon factory during the Ottoman Empire and I could not keep my eyes from wandering to the domes of the brick ceiling. After leaving, we wandered down antique-filled streets, twisting and turning, as all Istanbul streets do, and walked by Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence. We made a quick decision to view that collection another day.

choirThat evening I was able to listen to a friend sing in a choral concert at the British Consulate. Because of the bombing at this British Consulate in 2003, its grounds are heavily guarded and security is ever-present. Walking past photos of Queen Elizabeth and ancient looking framed documents, I noticed how elegantly the Christmas decorations were placed; fully regal, yet understated and charming. The singing was beautiful and transported me to thoughts of peace.

This week I will be flying to another distant, far-away place. I will spend the Christmas holiday with a friend that I met at the SEARCH Associates Boston International Job Fair last year! She got a job, that wretched, blizzard weekend, at an IB school in Switzerland, and she now lives there with her daughter. We’ve deepened our friendship over the months over Skype calls and we are eager to see each other again and share stories of the first half of our school year.

In these last few days of 2013, I want to challenge you to set your own plan in place. Kick the rock to start its tumble down the hill. Don’t be afraid to make your dream happen. This beautiful place I live- this dream that I’m living- did not happen overnight. I started planning it in 2006-almost eight years ago! Time goes quickly and life is such a gift. As we quietly pass into 2014, I wish you love, peace, health and inspiration. Be well!

The ad below is placed on my blog by WordPress. I do not have any opinion or association with the ad. Please do not “click” it. Thank you.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Republic

anitabillboardTo be remembered . . .

In Istanbul, you don’t have to step far, in any direction, before you see a flag, a banner, a poster, a sign, a magazine cover, a sticker, a billboard adorned with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s photo. There’s so much I don’t know about Atatürk, but I do know he is revered and loved, still to this day. Today, November 10, commemorates the day of his death in 1938, seventy-five years ago. Because the Turkish Republic is so new, the memory of this country’s first president is fresh. As an American, we learn about George Washington, but I’m not convinced that we have such a love affair with his memory as the Turks have with Atatürk.

Taken directly from Wikipedia: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was a Turkish army officer in the Ottoman military during World War 1, revolutionary statesman, and the first President of Turkey. Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, he led the Turkish national movement in the Turkish War of Independence. Having established a provisional government in Ankara, he defeated the forces sent by the Allies. His military campaigns led to victory in the Turkish War of Independence. Atatürk then embarked upon a program of political, economic, and cultural reforms, seeking to transform the former Ottoman Empire into a modern, secular, and democratic nation-state. Under his leadership, thousands of new schools were built, primary education was made free and compulsory, while the burden of taxation on peasants was reduced. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey and his surname, Atatürk, means Father of the Turks.

October 29 was Republic Day and I got a day off from school. This is the day Atatürk commemorated on the calendar as the remembrance day of the forming of the Turkish Republic in 1923. A school friend and I spent the morning hours of Republic Day at the Dolmabahce Palace. We saw the room where Ataturk died. Every clock around the palace, including the beautiful clock-tower on the grounds, is stopped at 9:05, the time of his death. Today is Sunday, November 10, and a ceremony is planned at the National School part of MEF, where I work, and I’d love to go and learn about Ataturk, but it will be presented in Turkish and I wouldn’t be able to understand.

There are a multitude of books written about this great leader and to learn about him is a part of every school child’s Turkish history class here in Istanbul. An understanding of Atatürk and the former Ottoman Empire would have to be included to fully understand our current world, its countries, its boundaries and its wars and its victories. There is no escape from learning about history when you live in Istanbul. It is all around you. It is on the sweet faces of the people in the markets, it is on dusty, cobbled streets, it is up the steep hills surrounded by rock walls, it is down the deep alleys surrounded by architecture and it flows down the river. It is vast, this world history of ours. I’m left with the understanding that the global problems we see in 2013, are the same problems that have always been. All of us, no matter what country, are a part of each other’s history, the history of the human race.

*NOTE: The ad below is placed on my blog by WordPress. I do not have any opinion or association with the ad. Please do not “click” it. Thank you.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

The Melting Pot

single2Colors of the world.

This past week was UN week at my school. As a new international teacher, I really didn’t know what to expect. There were no pictures shown at our planning meeting, and as the agenda items were checked off by the administration and experienced teachers, there weren’t any details given that would allow me to visualize what I’d see. Most of the teachers I work with have already been teaching in international schools around the world and this is all familiar to them. All I knew is that the homeroom teachers had a special schedule all week, which included activities outside the normal PYP curriculum. Some of these included flag making, map building and food tasting and then there would be a Parade of Nations on Friday.

Monday morning began in assembly. A beautiful and heart-warming book, by Mem Fox, was read aloud by my new friend, and our Australian librarian called, Whoever You Are. Let me just say that this book is on my “To Buy in USA” list. This is a book to own if you have small children! Afterwards, a young woman and young man from the high school came and presented to our group on this history of the UN and on UNICEF. I learned so much!

In a nutshell, the United Nations is an international organization that was founded in 1945 after the Second World War. At that time, fifty-one countries committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights. From their website I found this information:

The work of the United Nations reaches every corner of the globe. Although best known for peacekeeping, peace-building, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance, there are many other ways the United Nations and its System (specialized agencies, funds and programmes) affect our lives and make the world a better place. The Organization works on a broad range of fundamental issues, from sustainable development, environment and refugees protection, disaster relief, counter terrorism, disarmament and non-proliferation, to promoting democracy, human rights, gender equality and the advancement of women, governance, economic and social development and international health, clearing landmines, expanding food production, and more, in order to achieve its goals and coordinate efforts for a safer world for this and future generations.

After we learned about the UN, they went on to educate us about UNICEF. Although for years I gave to UNICEF through donations at a former employer, JCPenney, I didn’t fully realize the capacity and importance of the program. Taken from their website:

UNICEF is the driving force that helps build a world where the rights of every child are realized. We have the global authority to influence decision-makers, and the variety of partners at grassroots level to turn the most innovative ideas into reality.  That makes us unique among world organizations, and unique among those working with the young.

We believe that nurturing and caring for children are the cornerstones of human progress.  UNICEF was created with this purpose in mind – to work with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path.  We believe that we can, together, advance the cause of humanity.

One of the reasons I knew I would love working in an international school was because I wanted to be influenced in my thoughts, in my prayers, in my teaching, in my art, in my personal philosophy of life on a global level. I felt my existence in the USA was too narrow. The school where I teach is an enormous melting pot of children and families. I don’t yet know the number of countries represented in our student body but I can assure you it is a lot!

foodDuring the week special activities were implemented but on Thursday, one of the Grade 1 teachers ran downstairs to my art room and invited me to come upstairs and taste the assortment of foreign foods that had been brought in from our international families. Of course I followed her upstairs! I couldn’t believe my eyes! Delicious, savory and sweet foods were lovingly prepared by our school’s families and a buffet was spread out for all to enjoy “tastes from around the world”. I loved sampling the delicious foods. Each of the food trays was marked with a small flag designating the country from which the food was from. It was yummy!

When I came to work on Friday, my eyes were in for a treat. Traditional costumes, flags and hats were on the children as they marched proudly into school. I grabbed my camera and asked permission as I continued to shoot pictures of these lovely, beautiful children. Seeing them made me want to visit every country! It made me realize that next summer, when I go home to America, I will have to get some kind of “American” costume to wear on UN day next year! Here’s a shout out to my family and friends in the USA…this year, on July 4, PLEASE grab me a BIG American flag and some American “memorabilia”. I want to participate in costume next year. I had nothing special to wear. I can sense that I’m already starting to change…When I left the USA I held many negative feelings about my country, based on politics and economy. However, after being here just a few, short months, my views are beginning to broaden.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

During the Parade of Nations assembly, at the end of the day on Friday, I sat with a colleague who has taught in four international schools. We were both in amazement at the beautiful, colorful children and their traditional costumes that filled our entire auditorium. He whispered to me that in all the other international schools he’s taught in, although the students possessed an international passport, most of them were “from” the country that the school was located in. That is not the case at MEFIS. Our student population is from all over the world! Lucky me; our students are truly global! This teaching experience is like none that I’ve ever done before and I love it!

*NOTE: The ad below is placed on my blog by WordPress. I do not have any opinion or association with the ad. Please do not “click” it. Thank you.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Shipwrecked

Into the depths.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hidden_Harbor_Mystery, Author: Franklin W. Dixon, Publisher: Grosset and Dunlap

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
The_Hidden_Harbor_Mystery,
Author: Franklin W. Dixon,
Publisher: Grosset and Dunlap

Noticing that I would soon be accompanying Grade 5 students to the Istanbul Archeological Museum during their Ancient Civilizations Unit of Inquiry, I invited a friend from Ireland to go with me and check it out. I wanted to get my bearings before taking the students and I’m so glad I did! Although we only made it into two of the three vast buildings, our eyes and minds were full from the experience. The museum houses artifacts from the centuries and it would be nearly impossible to see everything in one day. As in many ancient cities, there is scaffolding and renovations happening all around the grounds. I can’t imagine the expense of taking care of an ancient city! One could easily start digging in a grassy garden and unearth an ancient arch, pottery or who knows what! This modern city has been built on top of many cities that came before it. Although the treasures of this fine museum are remarkable, I was most captivated by a special exhibition called Stories From The Harbor, Shipwrecks of Yenikapi.

Just south of Sultanahmet, the popular tourist part of the city, where many famous Istanbul mosques and shopping bazaars are located, lays the Sea of Marmara and the Theodosian harbour. In 2004, during a transportation project that was underway, a great discovery was made. Under the sea, in an area called Yenikapi, a total of 37 shipwrecks were found, unbelievably preserved in a water grave. The Yenikapi wrecks constitute the largest collection of shipwrecks ever found in one place. These thrity-seven boats vary from long warships (galleys) to sea-going traders and even include small, local trading vessels. The boats date from the 5th-11th centuries and included a surprising artifact inventory. This amazing archeological find sheds light not only on the trade business of the harbor city, and Byzantine capital, Constantinople, but on vessels of the period and everyday life during the Ottoman and Byzantine periods.

The special exhibition was of the highest caliber. Multimedia video and interactive displays delighted and mesmerized me as I pushed buttons to see how a thunderstorm at sea could easily set a ship off course and lead to its demise. Other videos showed the common trade routes through this area of the world and gave information on what was carried on the ships. Not only did they carry a plethora of vessels but also coins, jewelry, candles, leather sandals and rigging equipment, to include ropes and anchors. I was most surprised to see nuts and seeds, like peach seeds and walnut shells, on display. Skeletons are also a part of the findings and provide a frightening reminder about all the lives that have been lost at sea. Another video, with the speed of a factory, showed how these beautiful, old ships were crafted.

As we were leaving we stopped by a beautiful, outdoor café on the grounds for a cup of tea. The tables were placed amongst the many ruins and helped to provide a lovely time of reflection.

*NOTE: The ad below is placed on my blog by WordPress. I do not have any opinion or association with the ad. Please do not “click” it. Thank you.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Room With a View

RoomViewLooking out.

Years ago, a friend of mine told me that one of her favorite things about teaching was that every year, you got to start over. It was, for her, refreshing to begin each year anew and have the flexibility to discard lessons, material or projects that, perhaps, didn’t have the impact on her students that she’d hoped for. Not only is it satisfying to wrap up a well-worked school year, but also to begin a new school year, with new faces, ideas and new materials. This gives hope to all that can possibly be. A cheerful and well-designed learning environment has the potential to sprout all sorts of learning, for student and teacher alike.

For weeks I’ve been designing my new classroom and trying to make good use of the permanent fixtures that I’ve inherited. My classroom is solid. It has marble floors, concrete walls, heavy wooden tables and chairs, two stainless steel sinks and an entire wall of natural light windows that looks upon the beautiful hills of Ortakoy, the neighborhood that I live in. I’ve tried different arrangements of the furniture, put up new PYP (Primary Years Program) “Wonder Wall” bulletin boards and my “Essential Agreements” and I’ve organized new and plentiful art materials. It is my hope that this room will help breath creative life into all the sweet souls that enter this space this year. Have a look at my classroom!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The PYP pedagogy is structured and precise. In the few weeks that I’ve been here, I’m fortunate to have been able to go through two different 3-and-4 day workshops, facilitated by leaders of the program. However, sitting in a room learning how to implement the PYP is one thing and actually doing it in front of many smiling and eager, young faces, is entirely something else. The philosophy of educating the child is robust and challenging and is nothing like the teaching methods I’ve always used in the United States. The International Baccalaureate, of which the PYP is a part of, is a rigorous and long-studied program that requires specific training and implementation. Once you’ve been trained, however, and once you’ve got some classroom experience, I understand there are no limits as to where and what you can do as an educator. On the International Baccalaureate website , this is the summary of the program:

…programs for students aged 3 to 19 help develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world.

This method of learning is based on inquiry, or being curious about the world. Conceptual strategies help prepare the learner to find new methods of solving problems. Questions such as, “how does this work?”, “how do you know?”, and “what else is there to discover?” are samples of the many kinds of questions that are posed to my students. They are taught to always question and to dig for answers. What are you curious about?

*NOTE: The ad below is placed on my blog by WordPress. I do not have any opinion or association with the ad. Please do not “click” it. Thank you.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Pioneer Teachers

Turkish Tea with FriendsI’ve been thinking about American teachers of the past, who traveled for days, by stagecoach, or on horseback, across miles of dusty trails, to fulfill a longing to move to a new place, meet a new community and to teach young children. Over the past two weeks I have likely experienced many similar feelings and adjustments. After arriving in Istanbul on August 12, I have begun to explore my new city, I have met an ever-increasing new community of lovely people and I have started to adjust to a new teaching pedagogy in hopes that I will be able to ensure a lifetime love of learning to my young students. It’s been so completely overwhelming to all of my senses, my head’s been spinning since I got here!

Istanbul is all (and more!) that I remember it to be from my travels here in 2011. I live in the neighborhood of Ulus, in Ortakoy, a beautiful, historically rich environment full of new sights, new tastes and smells, new sounds and new textures. My legs are getting stronger every day from walking up miles of marble stairs and down long, winding, brick roadways. This host country is fascinating beyond belief and I’m guessing the two years of my contract will pass quickly. I fear there won’t be enough time to see it all.

Upon my brisk arrival, and clearance through customs, at the Ataturk Airport at 7:00 pm, I was wisked away to deliver my belongings into my lovely, furnished apartment. After dumping my containers inside the door and having a quick look around, a small group of us set off on an excursion that took us to the edge of the Bosphorus. It was dreamlike. Bouncing lights off the bridge, rushing taxis on the narrow streets, wafting fragrances from street vendors and hearing strange dialects all around me caused a swarming, full force, into my sleep-starved head.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The quick motion never stopped. I was transported through various experiences, in full sensory overload for days, meeting people of many nations, testing my tongue to this new language, and adopting a new style of teaching art to a group of children outside my experience realm.

I am happy. I’ve been dreaming of this experience for years, never quite understanding how dramatically new and exciting it would be. I had to experience it, and now I’m living it. These are things I’ve already learned that I want to share:

  • Fill your days with happiness.
  • Go so far out of your comfort zone that you have no choice but to become dependent on others.
  • Have an open heart and an open mind to endless possibilities.
  • Consider opinions that are very different from your own and that you previously hadn’t.
  • Listen to people’s stories.
  • Let people help you.
  • Learn to be friends with people very different from you.
  • Learn what people from other countries think of your country.

I’m learning about all these things. Thanks for traveling with me.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Update #2

Do Ho Suh. Staircase III

Do Ho Suh. Staircase III

Vagabonding continues.

Of course I got a cold the day before I moved out three weeks ago. Sniffle and cough all day Friday and Saturday, but alas, I did it with the help from many. What great friends I have! I could never have done any of this without their love and support. For now, I’m comfortable in a beautiful, art-filled home that I share with one of my colleagues and her husband and we’re having FUN!!! These past few weeks have been a precious time for our friendship to deepen. We have confessed denial about the fact that I’ll be leaving soon. I’ve been grocery shopping at their neighborhood Sprouts and it feels like I’m in a whole new city! By the time I understand this neighborhood’s restaurants and shops it will be time to move on . . .

Simultaneously with my adventures are the adventures of my daughter who graduated from college last week! Soon, she will also be moving to a new city. Her life of school projects and part-time work is beginning to transition into interviews and apartment searches; a new beginning for both of us. We have our fingers crossed that she will find a small apartment that I can share with her for about 6 weeks, before I leave the country for Istanbul.

My current school year is winding down. Our Senior class will graduate next week. These sweet kids were in first grade when I started teaching at this school. I’ve watched them grow up into beautiful, young adults. Interviews are taking place in the art department as our Head is searching for my replacement. I only have a few weeks left of a wonderful teaching career in this place. As I reminisce, I am thankful.

I’ll be moving to vagabond location #2 next week after one more garage sale at another friend’s home. I was ready to set my few, remaining household items out for bulk trash, but she swept everything up and took it to her home, confident it would sell in her neighborhood’s community garage sale next weekend. It sure won’t hurt to have a few more dollars in my pocket.

I’m working daily to close down, or temporarily suspend, my American life. This means banking accounts, final doctor and dentist appointments, utility refunds, updating my Will, meetings with my accountant, address changes, the selling of my car, communications with insurance groups, investment groups and financial planners. There’s a lot to do! Even so, I’m still excited! What an adventure this will be.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Update #1

Crates to TurkeyFive crates to Istanbul.

1. Summer Clothes

2. Winter Clothes

3. Art Supplies/Teaching Resources

4. Shoes (winter and summer)

5. Household Items

My house is set to close this Thursday. I have to be out next Saturday. Vagabonding begins.

Tagged , , , ,
Lost in Lisbon

A Place for Musings

GMB AKASH

A PHOTOJOURNALIST'S BLOG

Reade and Write

Words and wine by Amy M. Reade

Fetching A Toothpicker

Notes of a Trailing Spouse from Chennai to Lisbon and Beyond

Educator Voices

A place to share and celebrate how we are pushing the boundaries, shaking up the system and challenging the status quo!

sonya terborg

innovation. inspiration. education.

lisa cooreman: teaching artist

lisa cooreman: teaching artist

A year of reading the world

196 countries, countless stories...

Coffee in San Diego

Independent coffee houses we love

The Dallas Whisperer

Answering Questions About Dallas

schooled in love

Where home meets schooling.

Art Teacher in LA

Art lessons for teachers

janeyinmersin

Have a dose of what life is really like living here – from my single-handed destruction of the Turkish language, random arguments with random relatives about everything from apples to vaginas to learning the secrets to making the perfect içli köfte! Highs or lows this is my observations from the melting pot of crazy that is my life in Mersin.

Live In Inspiration

travel . lifestyle . inspire .

What's up, Turkey?

a blog about Turkish politics and society

Inside Out In Istanbul

Discover the everyday extraordinary of life in modern Istanbul.

Curious Souls Get Together

We meet to watch and discuss inspirational TED Talks !

PenCameraPassport

Stories and photos about life and the world