"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."   - Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Notes on a Turkish Train Pass #3

     It's Sunday evening here in Turkey. About 4:20, so the sun is starting to fade. And it's turned cold. When we first arrived here in August, with temperatures and humidity both in the 90's, I couldn't have imagined it would ever get this chilly. Daytime temps have started in the upper 30's then peaked in the high 40's. Still not much in the way of rain yet, but the locals tell me it will come. Fast and hard. School is going fine, and I continue to be amazed how much like American kids my students are. The two big recent events for me are both negative. The first is that Christine has gone home for six weeks to be with family for the holidays, and especially to be there when Jacqueline and Brandon welcome their new little bundle. Any day now. It gets pretty lonely around here without her. The second is that I recently tumbled down some stairs, in the dark while coming out of my school building, and tore a ligament in my right ankle. I was completely sober. I'm in a cast now and hopping around like a kangaroo rat. It's funny how we suddenly realize sometimes how much our lives turn out to be so similar to our parents. Not exactly of course, but in little things you end up doing that your parents did. For those of you who knew my dad, here's what I mean. Like him, I make my living sitting at a desk much of the time, and shuffling papers in my hands. He was a cartoonist for many years and was always flipping back and forth the pages of whatever story he was working on. I sit and grade papers. And back to the point I started to make. He suffered from arthritis, badly, and for the last fifteen years of his life, he walked with a cane because he had so much pain throughout his body, especially his legs. And now here I am, cane in hand, walking a lot like he did for so long. Everytime I see my shadow limping along, I can't help think how much I feel like old Hank.
     Before I get to the latest notes on a Turkish Train Pass, there's one really great experience I'd like to share.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Notes on a Turkish Train Pass #2

     Good evening, America. It's about 5:30 Monday evening, November 4, here in Tarsus. We're 10 hours ahead of you California folks. I know I should write more and intend to do so. Christine and I are just fine here, rolling along in the school year. We're staying busy with both of us teaching, and plenty to do in the evenings and on the weekends. Since I last wrote, we visited the city of Izmir, a beautiful town on the Aegean Sea, the West Coast of Turkey. It really has a European, cosmopolitan feel. Much more modern than Tarsus. While we were there, we made it out to Ephesus, the ancient historical city, now in ruins. We walked through streets and past monuments that people walked through three thousand years ago.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Notes on a Turkish Train Pass

Hello Folks,
     I hope you are all well. It's been busy as heck the past couple of weeks here in Tarsus, but Christine and I seem to be settling into a pretty nice routine now that school has started. The first week of classes was very enjoyable. My students are funny, witty, inquisitive, and seem to speak and understand English better than I was expecting. And Christine is really off to a great start. She's volunteering at school here in elementary classes, and working two nights and one day a week teaching English to adults. But rather than write at length, and in wordy fashion, about our experiences, I think I'll write in more of a brief, bullet-point style that'll hopefully be a little easier on the eyes and take up less of your time. So here it is, "Notes on a Turkish Train Pass." Random thoughts and observations of our days and nights here in Turkey:

Things are amazingly cheap here. I had a tailor down the street take in five pairs of pants for me. The cost was about three dollars a pair in American money. Food and clothes are way less than at home.

In that same tailor's shop, there are three old men that work all day and into the night on old foot-peddle style sewing machines. In the states those machines would be classified as antiques.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Our Fırst Days in Turkey

     Our fırst week and a half here in Turkey have been extremely busy and full of good things. Christine and I have met some wonderful people, both Turkish and American, seen some beautiful and historic places, and been treated like absolute royalty by the school, Tarsus American College. Both of us. From the moment we arrived, Christine has been treated like one of the faculty. She's been included in every meeting and event, received everything I've received, made many friends on the staff, and has been asked to work as an instructional aide for the elementary school. And she has just been asked to be a paid teacher at an adult English school just around the corner from our campus! She is really enjoying life in Turkey.
     The evening we arrived is typical of how things have göne. We were met at the Adana aırport by our headmaster, Mr. Hanna, and Ramazan, one of the school's drıvers. We were driven to our new campus apartment, arriving at around 11:30 pm. The apartment was clean and immaculate, fully furnished, and the fridge stocked with groceries, including five bottles of Efes, the best Turkish beer!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Heading for Turkey, and still thinking about Spain

It's Thursday, August 15. Two days until Christine and I take off for our adventure in Turkey. We've been pretty busy packing and storing things away, but I'm taking a little break to write. I'm sure I'll have much to say about teaching and my life in Turkey in the coming months, but now I'd like to write a bit about my experience in Spain this summer. I walked the Camino de Santiago, from St. Jean Pied de Port, France, to Santiago de Compostella, Spain, from May 16 to June 19. 500 miles in 35 days.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Getting Started

Well kids, this will be my first post. I figure it's a good time to get started. Christine and I will be leaving for our new home (for two years at least) in Tarsus, Turkey, where I'll be teaching English reading, writing, and speaking to Turkish students at Tarsus American College. I'm pretty excited about this since I discovered in my first year of retirement that I needed to do something new and exciting rather than sit around the house, so I'm off to this new adventure in the Middle East. I recently returned from a fantastic two month trip to Spain and France. I spent five weeks hiking across northern Spain to the city of Santiago. There Christine met me in front of the Cathedral of St. James (as we had planned) on a chilly and rainy morning. We then had the time of our lives traveling together in Spain and France for three and a half weeks before returning home from Barcelona, Spain. I think I'll write more about all of this, especially my thoughts and experiences hiking alone in Spain, in the near future. For now, I'll close and try to learn more about what I'm doing with this blog. Take Care, Mike