I've been living outside of my 'home' country for two and a half years now and have visited 26 countries - I wouldn't seem like a person who really is afraid to try new things, right? Well, yes and no. Not long ago, Danny and I got talking about the idea that when it comes to life and, well, pretty much everything, most things aren't really that bad when you take the plunge and give them a shot. Whether we're talking about cliff jumping into clear seas in Greece or quitting your job and moving to a new country - it's all much scarier until you just start and get going. Once you start jumping off the cliff, it's not so bad! And once you start telling your boss about your new adventure and they get excited for you too, you realize, why was I freaked out about this? Why did I spend all that time worried and worked up about nothing?
Like most people, we have to buy groceries each week, but I thought it might be interesting if this week we shared our meal plan for the week, everything we bought, and how much it cost. I can be a pretty nosy Ned, so I find these types of posts on other peoples' blogs particularly interesting, and perhaps someone else will be the same.
The past four months, while they may have started out in a fairly ordinary manner, certainly didn't continue that way for long. In May we carried on teaching at our respective schools but saw classes very rapidly take a more...relaxed turn, shall we say? In many ways the last two months (ever since returning from Semana Santa/Spring Break) in the middle of April felt kind of like we were on the downhill, especially since just nine days after our 11-day break, we had a four day weekend. Kids and teachers alike took cues from the weather and started checking out a bit.
Our two months in Istanbul were so...mixed. The first three weeks were mostly fine - everything was new, I liked the food, my students were pretty good - maybe it was the honeymoon period. The second three weeks were rough - my co-teacher and I really struggled with our group of kids and I felt like we had a lackluster response from our superiors when we cried out for help, I started tiring of the food, and I got sick - basically, everything started wearing on me. The last three weeks were better, but I had multiple frustrating customer service run-ins (one of which I'll get to soon), gravitated towards foods that I was familiar with with an increasing frequency, and basically found myself really looking forward to leaving Turkey on many days.
On Wednesday after work we left campus for a little foray into the city, primarily to get some baklava, but also for dinner and so I could get some socks at the nearby mall. Our time in Istanbul is really wrapping up - our last day of camp is today and we skip town just a couple of days later - so we're getting daring and doing crazy things like this during the week and not just over the weekend anymore. Honestly, I couldn't be more ready to leave Turkey, but that's another story. :)
It's hard to believe that come mid-September, it will have been two years since we first moved abroad. During that time we've been primarily in Spain, but we've also spent a good chunk of time in Scotland, and we'll be wrapping up our summer in Turkey in the next few weeks. I'm still learning about living abroad (make that living in general), that's for certain, but I like to think that I have picked up a few tips for making the most of time spent outside of one's country of origin. It's not always easy to live in a foreign country, but for a lot of reasons, I think it's a really worthwhile endeavor, full of experiences and lessons that are hard to replicate in any other way.
It is, at once, hard to believe and completely unsurprising that I'm writing this post. We've been living in Spain for exactly a year! (Well, okay, and a week or so. The official date was this last Sunday...) I read the posts I wrote after we'd been here for two months (here), four months (here), my wild, all-over-the-place thoughts about returning to Spain last summer (here), and after eight months in Spain (here) and while I read each one I had different thoughts. Mostly, though, I thought, "Well, it's no wonder we're still here!"
If I had to predict right now how well-written this post is going to be on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd probably give it a 3 or, generously, a 4 (but I'm guessing you don't come here for top-notch writing anyways, so nothing new on that front). It's probably going to be rather scattered and disorganized and maybe even confusing and you might think at some point, "Does she even know what she thinks about this topic?" (Answer: No. Kind of. Not really. Depends on the day.) If this post is wild, that's because my thoughts are wild. And scattered and confusing. Enough already.