This is Selah and Levi. Selah loves Levi and Levi doesn't appreciate her enough right now, but we know he is going to love her too. There are a number of reasons why we know these two are going to be great buds in the next couple of months. First of all, we always get to hear how excited she is to see baby Levi and we've heard she prays for him often (what a great friend!). Second, Selah always looks out for Levi's best interest, carefully looking for his binki whenever needed and presenting a toy if he starts to get fussy. And last, how could anyone resist that adorable red hair?! What more could a little guy ask for in a pal? I can't wait to see as Levi becomes more active how much fun these two will have! Thanks for coming to see us Selah!!
We packed up 8, 50 lb suitcases and my Mom and Dad drove us to the airport to fly to Turkey, our new home, for 2 years.
(A few pictures from the day we left (before the crying)
I remember telling people before we left what we were doing and where we would be living for awhile and them giving me kind of that "Your crazy, but I'm trying to smile and be nice" look. And yes part of me thought we were crazy too, especially as we slowly began our departure into Istanbul and had that feeling of "there's no turning back".
As Tim and I reflect over the past year we are grateful for so many things that Turkey has taught us. We have learned to become more patient, as we are foreigners living in a country, stumbling through language and culture. We have learned how to live in a huge city, and are pretty proud that we are able to get around. We have learned hospitality like we have never seen. Turkish hospitality blows America out of the water. We have learned endurance, not only physically (with a lot of walking) but emotionally. Saying goodbye to friends and family was not easy and definitely being so far away is even harder. We have learned to depend on each other and learned even more how blessed we are to be each other's best friend in a context that is so unfamiliar. We have learned so much more about service to each other and to all of our wonderful friends who have taken care of us here. We have learned a lot more about communication both in Turkish, and our own language.
Yes, living in a foreign country is difficult sometimes, and I'm not going to lie, more than a few times this year I have said, "I want to go home." But slowly without even realizing it, Turkey found a place in our hearts and became more like "home" than we ever could have imagined.
Thank you Turkey for teaching us so much about the world and ourselves. For being such a wonderful host for the past year, for being the place our first baby was born, and for being a place we will never, ever forget.
Believe it or not I had been working on a post about Christmas for the past couple of weeks and had some great video to show from the football Christmas party we had, but as usual time got away from me. Also, I really wanted to post some video's and I have no idea how to convert our video from our digital camera so everyone else can see it. Any ideas???
Well Christmas has come and gone and it went by way too fast! This year the Akin clan gathered right here in Istanbul for a Turkish Christmas. The festivities kicked off when we picked up Paul, Kari, (who we hadn't seen in a year), and Micah (who we never had met!) on the 22nd with the rest of the family coming in on the 24th. Needless to say, we had a blast! We toured the sites of Istanbul, took a trip to Ephesus, and just enjoyed each other's company. Of course the boys played a lot of Wii, and I think Kari and I would have rivaled their playing time had we realized she like Dr. Mario as much as I do : )
Even more fun this year were the newest additions this year, Micah and Levi. Micah is so precious and we had so much fun watching him with Levi. We can't wait for the years to come as the grow to have more and more fun with each other. Both boys did such a great job considering we just strapped them on and took them all over Turkey! They were troopers!
Levi got some wonderful goodies from the states, and loves them all! I am slowly taking pictures of all his fun new toys and outfits to post. So far he loves his seahorse and Baby Einstein rings from Aunt Heather, Uncle Greg, and his wonderful Spencer cousins. He also loves his rain forest crib attachment from Gi Gi and Papa, it really helps him settle down for his naps, which Tim and I may like it more than he does for that reason. And, Uncle Gregory, he loves your books! I am amazed how much he already focuses on some of them, he loves looking at other babies.
We were sad to see everyone leave last week, and even tried our hardest to get them to stay longer. Tim and I now are super excited about seeing Africa this summer, we can't wait! Thank you Akins for coming to see us, and making this Christmas away from home a lot easier. Love all of you!!
Here are a few pictures from the month of December.
We played White Elephant with the football team and didn't realize it would be such a hit!