2016

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January

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February

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March

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April

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May

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June

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July

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August

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September

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October

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November

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December

What an incredible year I’ve had!  Looking back at each month made me realize how unbelievable it’s all been.  It also made me realize how quickly time is going by.  How has it already been another year?  How?

Here’s to hoping for an amazing 2017 for us all!

Choosing Love

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I keep trying to remind myself of how important unity is at a time like this, even though just thinking about the potential fate of my country makes me want to vomit in my mouth.  The past couple of days have gone by in a sort of confused haze.  I’m sad, heartbroken, angry, confused, and scared all at once.  It seems like the whole world is divided and falling apart.

But that’s enough about that…because quite frankly, I think we’ve all had enough.  Between all of the craziness in Turkey, Brexit, and now a Trump presidency on the horizon, the political chaos of 2016 has been exhausting for everyone and there are plenty of other people who have already expressed these feelings all over the internet.  That is not to say that I intend to be complacent in this matter – I fully intend to use my platform as a teacher and a person of privilege to keep inspiring future generations of young people to be better than the kind of leadership we are seeing right now – but I need to focus on celebrating the glimmers of light in my life rather than cursing all the darkness.

In spite of everything, I have a lot to be grateful for.

***I have an amazing husband who makes me smile and always knows how to bring me back to equilibrium when I feel like everything is gloom and doom.

***I have incredible friends and family.

***I am lucky enough to be able to do what I love and travel.

***I teach incredible students who are on their way to becoming beacons of hope for their generation.

***I have been working on writing more and recently published my first fiction story here!

***I am safe and healthy.

***I successfully completed my first term of the year and will head to Scotland with friends next week for a much-needed vacation.

***I still believe people are basically good

***I will never stop standing up for those who are oppressed or discriminated against, no matter what.

What are you thankful for right now?  Let’s all be good to ourselves and one another.  The world needs it.

 

One Year

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A year ago today, I was

cramming as much as I could into hand-me-down suitcases

dreading the goodbyes

tasting the last few bites of America

trying to imagine my new life before

stepping on the plane for the 40 hour journey and

hoping everything would be alright

Outtakes from a Fabulous American Summer

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Now that I’m back in Turkey (and back to work), this summer feels like it was a total blur! It really is amazing how much we crammed into just two months.  I’ve been going through the photos and reminiscing and realized I left out a few things because I was too busy visiting with family and stuffing my face.  Anyway, before stuff gets crazy busy, I wanted to leave my last ode to Summer 2016, in no particular order.  May there be many more like it to come!

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Perdido Beach, FL

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Kansas City Plaza

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KC Battery Tour

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Welcome to  Kansas

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The Nelson-Atkins Museum

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The lovely Flint Hills

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A very American farewell

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I’m so thankful for all of our friends and family who made our summer awesome!

Back in the T.R.

DSC_0001After an amazing two months with our families in the U.S., I’m pleased to say we made it back to Turkey safe and sound.

I really wasn’t sure what it would feel like to leave and come back again, but I can honestly say both went better than expected. I was sad to leave people and food behind, but nothing could have prepared me for how happy I was to see our apartment again! The smell of home and our own bed! No more living out of a suitcase! (at least for a couple weeks ;))

Tomorrow we are back to the grind with some teacher in-service meetings, which means summer is officially over…but I have a feeling it’s the start of a great year!

 

Peace, Love, and Lake House

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Post-coffee bedhead and lounging

My grandpa’s lake house in the tiny town of Council Grove, KS is one of my all time favorite spots.  We always know we’re in for a fun and relaxing time, full of card games, long chats, and paddling on the water.  One of my fondest memories is of the weekend my husband (then-boyfriend) and I spent there in college, riding bikes and kayaking.  Even though it was only 30 minutes away from where we lived, it felt like a different world, which was a pretty big deal for two young people with lots of wanderlust and no money.

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We spent an amazing few days with my grandpa and his girlfriend…who plan to visit us in Turkey next year! I’m so looking forward to showing them around.

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Great nook for reading and coffee

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I will never get tired of bonfires and s’mores

The night sky was unbelievable there.  I wish we’d had a proper camera lens to capture it.  Seriously…you can see the Milky Way in rural Kansas.  I guess I took it for granted since I lived my whole life there, but after a year of constant light pollution, I can really appreciate the big prairie skies with fluffy clouds and the endless sea of stars.

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Can you spot Mars?

It was so hard to leave this peaceful place.  Our summer is dwindling, and while I’m ready to stop being flung from place to place, I’m somehow not ready for it to end!

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I suppose there’s always next summer.

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This frog has a different outfit every time we visit.  Currently, he’s in Mardi Gras attire.

 

Traces of Yesterday

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Some places never really leave us.  Somehow, even after countless journeys through renowned cities in over a dozen different countries, this tiny town tucked into the Flint Hills still takes my breath away.

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Emporia, KS.  This place has a permanent spot in my heart.  This town shaped so much of who I am.  The moment we set foot in our old stomping grounds, I was flooded with a rush of happy memories of old times.  Being on the old college campus was especially  nostalgic.

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We only had one night there, so we wanted to make the most of it.  One of the highlights of the trip was discovering that Emporia actually has an Airbnb place and booking a room in an old Victorian house right by the downtown so we could walk to all of our favorite places.  If you haven’t tried Airbnb yet, it is a must!!  It’s usually much cheaper and more comfortable than a hotel with the added bonus of  local hosts who usually welcome you and clue you in on your surroundings.  We had a great time chatting and swapping travel stories!  Nothing feeds the soul like meeting fellow travelers.

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In addition to strolling down memory  lane, we also couldn’t pass up the opportunity to eat at some of our old favorite restaurants.  Stop #1 was Radius, a super tasty gastropub that opened right before we moved.  It’s soooooo good!  I’m really going to miss American food in a couple weeks!

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Porter-infused creme brulee = best dessert ever!!

After stuffing our faces, we walked around downtown a bit more, sorry that we couldn’t spend more time there.  It seems crazy that it’s only been a little over a year since we left Emporia, and yet it seems like a lifetime ago.  It feels different and exactly the same all at once.

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We went to both of our favorite local coffee shops and picked up beans to take back to Turkiye!

Being back where all of my crazy dreams started to take shape really made me want to conquer those dreams all over again:  reading more, writing more, teaching better, and studying languages.  Oh, and definitely more traveling!

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Forever a Hornet!

It was so great to be back in our former home.  I’m looking forward to going back again next summer!  My heart is happy and recharged with new ambitions for the year ahead.

 

The Little Apple

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We’re currently in Manhattan, KS (a.k.a. The Little Apple) spending some time with my mom, stepdad, brother, and sister.  There have been a few hikes through the Flint Hills, LOTS of coffee shop stops, good food, and soaking in the views of my mom’s new house at Tuttle Creek.  We even saw a mountain lion!

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LAVENDER LATTES. Life-changing stuff.

When did my summer start going by so fast?

Brief Life Hiatus

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I finally bought a Kindle and a couple new books.  There has been lots of coffee and reading around these parts.  My husband even surprised me with that cute little Dumbledore.

See you in a few days, world!