Tuesday, July 31st – Yesterday the kids and I ventured out around the base. Geoffrey began his in-processing so we were on our own. We checked out the library and got a card and some books. They have interlibrary loan with any base library in Europe. They also have an extensive collection of DVDs. They don't have enough audiobooks to satisfy Carson but they do have Overdrive so we will have to get him some through that.
Then we went to the bowling alley to check that out. It turned out to be closed for renovation for the next several months but the restaurant connected to it was open and we grabbed some lunch.
Next stop was the youth center. I signed up the four oldest for a membership at the whopping price of $12 a month for all four. For that price they can hang out at the youth center any time it is open, use the skate park, rent roller blades, play pool or ping pong and get the discounted price on youth center trips. Then I promptly signed them up for some upcoming trips. The oldest three will be going to Turkish Culture Camp everyday next week. And the week following the middle three will be going to a Wet and Wild Camp each day. Lastly I signed up Carson and Evan for the Pre-teen mall trip to downtown Adana and Delany and Brannick for the Teen Mall trip. Carson and Evan actually went today. They had a good time and got to see a bit of the city.
We tried to get a pool pass but Outdoor Rec was closed on Monday, along with the pool itself. So we got the combination for our post office box, which was still empty, hit the ATM to withdraw some Turkish Lira to send to the mall with the boys, and then headed home. And all that was done on foot! Its pretty great to have things so close.
Today I went to a Newcomer's Briefing with Geoffrey. Honestly, it was a little over-whelming. Of course they have to present all the worst case scenario stuff and prep you on emergency evac and off limits areas and such but it was the first time it really hit me how very far away from home I am. And the statistics on how small the population and land area of this base are really surprised me. Apparently they call this Mayberry. And I can see why. You are stuck with this small group of people on what amounts to about 3 square miles.
Anyway by the time I got done with that this afternoon I had temporarily lost my adventurous sunny attitude. But after dinner Geoffrey and I took the older two boys to the BX to get Rory's birthday presents and then parked near the gate and walked off base to the Alley. Our intention was to pay the car rental agent but his office was closed. So we wandered a bit and poked our heads into a tiny shop that advertised puzzle boxes. Geoffrey has a thing for puzzle boxes. As the boys were checking out the boxes I picked up a jar of apple tea. The shopkeeper immediately asked me if I would like to try some apple tea. We had been told that shopkeepers will often offer you tea or apple tea and that you are free to accept or decline with no expectation of buying something in return or no offense if you turn it down. But since I wanted to try the apple tea and knew it was not a real tea, I accepted. He brought the tea to me in a small glass shaped like a squat vase, with a tiny spoon and saucer. Geoffrey and the boys had a glass as well. The tea tasted similar to the spiced apple cider you get in the winter. We all agreed that it was delicious and I bought a jar. Carson was enthralled by some brass chess sets he had there. He is planning on saving his money to buy a set of Roman Centurion pieces. The shop owner spoke excellent English and was a handsome older man who looked much more European than Middle Eastern. I commented on his good looks once we got home and the kids laughed at me and said I had a grandpa-crush.
Since we didn't want to leave Delaney and the younger boys for too long we walked back through the gate and drove home. Brannick said he liked going off base and asked if we could do it more often. Again and again I have been amazed at the positive attitude he has had during this whole move. He hasn't complained and encourages the other kids when they get frustrated or disgruntled. He has been so positive and upbeat. It really helps so much. And after our enjoyable outing, I got my sense of adventure back.
Next week all the kids have something to do. Evan and Rory will be at Vacation Bible School every morning and Brannick, Delaney and Carson will be with the Youth Center Staff on the Turkish Culture Camp trips. So I will be by myself! I am thinking about asking some of the other ladies to take me off base to tour the city.