"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

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!
Over the first week, there were quite a few orientation meetings for new teachers. And each night we were all taken out on the town to enjoy Turkish cuisine at local restaurants. Everything we've been treated to has been delicious, even the popular hard lıquor Raki, also known as Uzo in Greece. Christine has already developed quite a taste for it, so I'm keeping a close eye on her whenever we go out.
     On Thursday of that first week, all of us were flown to Istanbul for three more days of orientation to Turkey, Turkish education, and sıght seeing along wıth new teachers from two other private schools in Turkey. Our first trip in Istanbul was to the medievel underground cistern, the famous Blue Mosque, and the Agıa Sophia, a centuries old church that as been both a mosque and Christian church, depending on who was in power at the time. These places were fantastic to visit. But the next night was even better. We were taken on a private dinner cruise, just for the new staff and the administrators of the three schools. The boat took us up the Bosphorous Straight, the body of ocean that separates the Asian from the European sides of Istanbul as well as the two continents! We had more drinks and a beautiful dinner on a perfect night while seeing the shorelines and hills of the two continents.
     Since then we've been back in Tarsus settling in to the school and our new life. We've had to learn a few things, lıke the importance of checking carefully what you put in your mouth. The first morning here I woke up pretty thirsty. In the fridge I found a plastic bottle of what clearly looked to be flavored drinking water. I was pretty sure one of the Turkish words on the label meant lemon in English. So I unscrewed the cap and took a huge swig of cooking oil!
     I think I'll let you go for now. Just know that Christine and I are very happy and safe here. In fact the campus is completely closed and has 24 hour security protection. And every time we walk into town we couldn't feel safer. The folks here are awesome to us. And there is a genuine sweetness and generosity in the people of Turkey. We love them. I'll write again soon. Our love to all of you.
Mike and Christine.
     And here are some more pıc's for you:

At Yesilov Restaurant our fırst nıght. Our headmaster ıs next to me.
New Tarsus teachers and office staff in front ot the Agia Sophia
On the Bosphorous dınner cruıse. Look at my glass of wine. Either the boat or I am tilting!
At Kleopatra's, one of our new hangouts in the old part of Tarsus.
Stickler Hall, built in 1888. My classroom is on the thırd floor.
Our own little courtyard and garden.


  1. looks like life is wonderful! So glad all is well! Love reading your posts.

    Gil and Karen

    1. Mike looks like a continuous vacation for you guys! Glad to see your settling in and enjoying..

  2. I'm so happy the two of you landed into the welcoming arms of new friends. Thank you for writing your thoughts and experiences down. It will be a journey for all of us! Hugs to you and Christine.

  3. Everything sounds amazing! So happy for you! Really hoping we can come visit at some point during your time there. Tell Aunt Christine hi for me:) xo

  4. What at a great adventure, post more often!

  5. Mike, Brian just let us all know what your up to. Sounds great! We missed you at the ACHS Pool opening thought for sure you would be there. Send me your email address and I will send you some photos of the ribbon cutting. Or send your address in
    turkey and I will send you a CD of photos that I have taken of the pool. Joe Knopf