Monday, May 13, 2013

My totally awesome globe-trotting parents!

In April my parents came for a visit along with my mother's sister, Aunt Geri. We spent a week traveling around here locally and then went on a much-anticipated Greek Island Cruise. It was an amazing time. Everyday I looked at my children and thought, "Remember this! Remember this!" And I truly hope they do. Partly because we saw so many beautiful places and things. And partly because they had two weeks with their wonderful grandparents. This is something a lot of kids, including most of my siblings and their children, can take for granted. But a military family can't. Time with extended family is rare and precious time.

Having them along really made the experience. So instead of doing a travel log of all the places we went to, I thought I'd just do a montage of parent photos and tell you a bit about them along the way.
This is my mom - LaVonne. If you look up the word 'enthusiasm' in the dictionary, you would find her picture.  She is always smiling and often singing. My kids made a game out of trying to come up with words she couldn't use in a song. The only one they stumped her on was 'crowbar'. This is her best imitation of a Roman goddess statue at Elaiussa Sebaste.
This is my dad - Brannick. He is still Superman to me. He is wise and gentle. I was never ever afraid of him as a child. The nicest thing he ever said to me was that if all the things I had accomplished were taken away, he still would love me and be proud of me for just the person I was.
Here they are at the White Valley at Cappadoccia. They loved staying in the cave motel and seeing the cave churches. I had forgotten (or didn't ever know) that my dad is claustrophobic but he enjoyed the tour of the underground cities all the same.
 Mom holding a hedgehog. I really wanted to show my parents a hedgehog. The night we went out looking for them we were unsuccessful in all the usual spots. So we turned around and headed back home. And then I spotted this little guy in the side yard of a nearby house. As there are no hedgehogs in the States, they were pretty tickled to get to see one up close and personal.
 On the hike back up from a cave called Heaven - near a huge pit called Hell. This was a strenuous hike with something like 400 unevenly spaced stairs. But my parents are in great physical shape and handled the hike just fine. We were all glad that we were visiting in the springtime and not the hot summer!

My mom at the Women's Market -she purchased this vest from the woman who made it. And even though she speaks no Turkish and the woman spoke no English, my mom was so excited and admiring of the vest that by the time she paid for it the woman was kissing and hugging her like they were old friends. The same things happened at the Incirlik Thursday market with aTurkish man and a pair of cheap shoes (well, less kissing).  My mom has that effect on people. She doesn't just make friends, she makes fan clubs.
Dad at a Mosaic Museum in a town not far from the base. Soon after we left the town, heading for Snake Castle, I got hopelessly lost. I could see the castle but I couldn't get to it. We ended up far off course in an unfamiliar city. Normally this would completely freak me out but my dad has always had a encouraging effect on me. We have a long history of me doing things that terrified me (ferris wheels to rock rappeling) if and only if my dad was there beside me.  As it happened, some nice Turkish men who spoke no English but noticed our obviously American behemoth car lead us out of the city and back to the main highway.
One of the reasons we chose a Greek Island cruise is that 30 some odd years ago my dad traveled to some Greek Islands to buy sheep for Iranians. Intrigued? Well, that is another story but he remembered the Greek Islands as some of the most beautiful places he had ever seen. So he was pretty excited to see Greece again and we were excited to go with him. Even if we didn't buy any sheep.
Santorini - rode donkeys up the steep hill from the dock to the mountaintop towns. How many retirees can say that?
 The Parthenon in Athens. Bucket list - Check.
Mars Hill. Where Paul preached. Which was a pretty gutsy thing to do considering that the Parthenon is right behind him. Before coming to Turkey, my mom did extensive research on Paul and his travels. She was so excited to visit Tarsus, Ephesus and Mars Hill. They've both been to Jerusalem before but like me before coming here had no idea how much Biblical history is in and around Turkey.
 Speaking of Ephesus. . . .
And here's Hieropolis. We fit both of these lovely Turkish Roman ruin sites before and after our cruise.  I'm pretty sure my parents were stuck in the Rome airport back in the 70s with three little kids and no diapers due to a canceled flight. That little adventure left no time for touring Roman antiquities. Who knew that coming to visit the same daughter who wore her dad's hanky tied around her tush in lieu of a nappy on the next flight out of Rome would remedy that?
I haven't covered even half of what their visit entailed but that's okay. This photo shows pretty well how the visit felt to me.  So Happy Mother's Day and Happy Father's Day Mom and Dad. Thanks for coming to visit us. Thanks for being the wonderful parents and grandparents that you are. Thanks for making all of us feel so loved.

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