. . .from my parents’ 25-years-in-Turkey celebration party. My dad forwarded it to the whole team, which I think is hilarious (it’s so good to have parents who support my writing attempts to enthusiastically, albeit in such a shamelessly biased manner–this isn’t exactly headline worthy stuff, yet when you know people in high places. . .).
Congratulations, Mom and Dad! Twenty-five years ago you stepped off the plane into Turkey with four suitcases, one kid, and dreams of planting. . .what was it? 5 churches in 10 years?
And now look at you! You’ve made it to the ages of “youngish” and “older” respectively, and look at what you’ve left in your wake:
1) Jonathon, who may not be taking the Chicago music world by storm, but who has been named barista of the month a whopping 1 time.
2) Lauren, whose grad school-induced mental health emergencies point toward a cat-lady/recluse future, but who will make the most of that future by shamelessly blogging about it for the world’s amusement.
3) Matthew; he may have crushed your hopes of ever getting to retire when he switched from a career in aviation to one in athletic training, but on the bright side, ESPN cameras may one day get a shot of his back as he tapes LeBron James’ ankle.
And we, as a collective group, want to say thank you for moving to Turkey with us in tow, because without that move on your part we wouldn’t have such awesome memories as:
Playing soccer in the enormous pile of coal-ash behind our apartment.
Bragging to our friends that our mom has been both arrested and deported.
The great evolution of breakfast, as Daddy’s culinary skills broadened from scrambled eggs to include irmik and eventually trips to the pastane to pick up poaca and oddly slimy borek. (and Visne Suyu, of course!)
Jonathon making sandcastles (dustcastles?) with the refuse beneath the entrance at our 4th Cadde apartment.
The agony of giving up Lauren and Matthew’s Beanie Babies so that the Turkish Bible translation team could unleash frustrations on them. (Matthew’s hedgehog was never the same after the translation of Isaiah.)
The reputation of being the family whose daughter has a tendency to fall through walls at conferences.
The pride of knowing that your dad gives sermons some of your friends actually enjoy listening to.
The fun of drinking the severely watered-down Coke (or was it Coked-down water?) that Dad used to give us to stretch a kurus. . .no, I take that back. We would probably have had that same memory no matter where we had ended up.
The innocence of thinking that having ‘American food’ (that is, hot dogs slathered in ketchup and mayonnaise) from Tivoli and Wimpy’s was a really special occasion.
The communication difficulties, such as the time Jonathon mustered up all his courage to halt the cheek-pinching advances of an older girl on the school bus with a bold “Sen Salakim.”
The bizarre injury stories: Jonathon’s near-concussion when a chunk of cement waylaid his attempt to build a fort at a construction site; Lauren crying her way out of badly-needed stitches because the doctor felt badly for the little blonde American; Matthew. . .well, Matt hurt himself every other day, another aspect of our lives in Turkey that we suspect would have translated cross-culturally.
In short, Mom and Dad, we are so, so glad that you ended up where you are. We love you and are deeply proud to be able to call you our parents. You bless and enrich our lives, and we know you do the same for those you encounter daily.
Jonathon, Laurishka, and Matthew