Monday, September 30, 2013

Happy Campers

One of my most dear friends in all the world came to town this past weekend!

Elizabeth is a LOVER OF LIFE and adventure and the full experience and living in the moment and basically she is amazing and I love her. 

In the spirit of true adventure, we went on a little "jaunt" through the woods. Which ended up meaning that we hiked from Virginia into West Virginia. Who knew? 

Elizabeth just so happens to be a 3rd grade teacher in Dallas, and like all 3rd-graders growing up in Texas, you learn your Texas history. Michael, wise one that he is, saw his opportunity to learn about the great state that his wife was raised in, and asked Elizabeth for a history lesson. 


We talked Texas history for an hour. It was unexpectedly wonderful. 

What was unexpectedly not wonderful was taking "nature breaks," as Michael called them. These were times when we took a break and admired bugs. 

BUGS??!

Bugs. 

I protested and adamantly declared that I saw no need for such crass investigation. But alas, I was outnumbered. Elizabeth happens to love bugs, nature, flora, fauna, you name it. She teaches her kids about it. A bold undertaking, if you ask me. 


Can we take a moment and pause to admire Elizabeth's hair? Good Lord, she has amazing hair. 

I have hair envy. 

Moving on. 


They are investigating a black and fuzzy caterpillar. 

(This is code for "they are pyscho.")

Gross. 

Anyways, Texas history and nature breaks aside, we finally made it to the top! 


Ahoy! (I sail!)

Later that night, we went to see Bastille. It's an electronica pop band from England that Elizabeth introduced me to. Here's a brief clip from their song "Home." 

video

(Who knew I could upload videos to the blog?? Big news.)

They are good. I mean really good. It's hard to pick a favorite song, but Overjoyed is definitely one of the best. Give Bastille a listen. Tonight's show in New York was their last stateside stop for a while, but they'll be back, and they will sell out even faster than they are now. 

What's happiness to me?? New tunes! No bugs! And old friends. 


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cappadocia and Ankara

Ohhh my, how time flies. I don't know what has gotten into me recently with my lack of blog posting, but I don't like it! And I think it has something to do with what Glenn (our pastor) is preaching about at church: COMPLACENCY.

Ugly word. It creeps in and settles right on down and the next thing you know, you've wasted an hour (an hour??!) on Instagram and not doing what you really should be doing like cleaning, or sleeping, or enlightening your mind by reading, or working-out... or really ANYTHING productive. 

Instagram. I love-hate thee.

For today, I'd like to close the chapter on Turkey (at least for now) by posting a few more pictures from the rest of the trip in Cappadocia and Ankara. The tour guide in Cappadocia kept calling our group "my dear guests" the whole day we spent with her. Why not? I liked it. So -- please, my dear guests, step a little closer and enjoy these pictures from a country that is far nearer to my heart than ever before.

We arrived in Cappadocia way late at night after a 15 hour bus ride, and woke up to the COOLEST courtyard, and basically the best (if not most eccentric) hotel ever!

Walking amidst the fairy chimneys

Dave: action shot
Dave: in Cappadocia

Like mother, like son.... Lisa and Conor are twinsies. 
The smiling rocks of Cappadocia

Lucy, as seen looking out from a "kitchen" in the rocks
Lots of neighbors close by if you lived here... 
Back at the hotel. I love it. 

Can't get enough... 
Anitkabir, Ataturk's Mausoleum in Ankara. The guy was LOVED by the Turks and still is today.   
Stephen and his French press 

Ankara, as seen from the top of Atakule

Dave, Duyal and me at the top of Atakule
Ice cream at Kugulu Park. So needed after walking ALL OVER Ankara!

This is our subway picnic. We navigated a huge grocery store (like a super Target only bigger) and then ate our snacks on the subway platform, the only place we could find shade and not totally stick out like sore thumbs. We found shade, but I definitely think we still stood out... 

Jordana got a haircut in a Turkish salon! Brave and beautiful lady. 
Ann Woods, Lucy and me. Best roommates ever. No seriously -- we survived drippy faucets and doors on no hinges and used soap and sleep aids and FC Barcelona bedding (??) and prank calls from the concierge and ear-plug lessons...just to name a few things. Love these ladies! 


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Istanbul

I'm currently watching the US Open men's semi-finals between Djokovic and Wawrinka who are on deuce #12 on the third game of their fifth set. It's making me go crazy -- all this whacking of the ball.   The game duration is now over 20 mins....

Meanwhile UVA is currently playing the Oregon Ducks. Oregon just scored their second of what I fear to be many touchdowns.

Oh good, someone finally won the tennis game.

Annnnd Oregon just scored their third touchdown.

Cool.

Anyway.... I have been meaning to post some pictures from my recent trip to Turkey. I went with my church to visit and encourage some of our sister churches there. While it's not wise to write too much here about the specific details of the trip, I can say that it was a phenomenal experience, and I would LOVE to tell you about it or mail you a letter I wrote about the trip. Let me know if you want one.

I didn't have too many expectations prior to going to Turkey. I was unfamiliar with the country, the people, the language, the food, the faith... you name it. But, I have come back home with a deep appreciation for the Turkish culture. The hauntingly beautiful call to prayer; the manti and iskender (two of my favorite Turkish dishes);  the pull between eastern traditionalism and western modernity that is palpably felt especially in Istanbul; the communal breaking of the fast each night (Ramadan ended while we were there); the deeply reverent pockets of Islam seen throughout different neighborhoods; the pride in one’s craftsmanship at the Grand Bazaar and street markets; the second century churches carved into cave walls in Cappadocia; the deep veneration for Ataturk - the founder of modern Turkey; the communal nature of ├žay, or black tea served in tulip-shaped glasses; the majesty of the Hagia Sophia seen from a ferry on the Bosphorus; the 80,000 mosques covering the landscape of the entire country  – all of these things are part of the vibrant Turkish culture that I now know and respect.

Here are a few pictures from Istanbul. I'll post some of Cappadocia and Ankara in the next post. Have a great weekend!

Hagia Sophia 
Sultan Ahmed Moque (Blue Mosque)

Ferry ride on the Bosphorus
Inside the Blue Mosque










Hagia Sophia with the Dream Team


Inside Hagia Sophia
Inside another mosque... the women weren't allowed on the carpet, but we didn't know that until afterwards.

Two of my faves, Maddie and Conor

Old city walls.... old as in 3rd Century old. 

Virgin and Child mosaic in the Hagia Sophia

Jesus. He's cool. 
Tiny Turkish coffee

A purdy street
Communal breaking of Ramadan one night in Taksim Square

Taksim Square, site of the anti-government protests in June
Adorable little gals

Genevieve and me

Lovely ladies - Lucy and Lisa. 
Fruit stand. Amazingly good 

Lucy's birthday on our first night in Turkey with kunefe and jet-lagged friends

Sunset over Istanbul