Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Vienna, Italy

The guy that drove us to the airport was slightly flying, but we felt very safe.  He was a great driver, and we were on time to check in.  Then all the people catching the flight had to switch gates because... well, I don't know why, but we could've stayed on the beach a little longer, because we ended up getting transported like cattle and waiting a while. Then a few hours later, "Welcome to Vienna"... OK definitely not when we had planned.... But at least we are somewhere closer!  We met some cute families on the flight with adorable little kids.  We've met so many friendly travelers!

Surprise!  It's beautiful here.  We never would've planned a trip to Austria, but since we are here, we definitely plan on coming back.  Our hotel last night was nice for the short time we stayed there.  But the shower had no curtain, only a small glass "wall" that was about 1/5th of the tub's length.... How do you shower with nothing to block the water??Well, you shower then you wipe the floor before you get out so as to save your hiney from falling on wet tile...
Almost everyone is speaking German AND English fluently, so hooray!  I can understand people again!  And we can real ALL the signs and know what they mean!  We walked around downtown and I took a few photos, and I plan on uploading them sometime in the next few days.  Vienna is the CLEANEST city I've ever been to.  And for a Monday night, it was surprisingly alive here.  We Like it!

We spent about 7 hours in the airport today, hoping to catch an extra seat on one of the two flights to the states.  It didn't work, but we are trying again tomorrow.  Keep in mind, people have been waiting to get on the flight since 17April.  So we're not top priority, but we are hoping to fly to DC at 11ish tomorrow.  Fingers crossed!  But we are safe, and we know that God is in control.  I have no idea why there's a 200-years-of-stillness volcano with a long name erupting in Iceland, but I'm not too worried about it because I know there's a reason for everything.  And all things work together for good for those who love the Lord.  So it'll be good, even if it doesn't make sense now.

We are pretty sad that we're not going to see our families tonight; we've been looking forward to it for weeks.  But for tonight we are on the 7th story of the airport hotel, watching the tower.  They "play" huge advertisements on big buildings-- like a projector billboard.  Pretty cool idea.  I've only seen light up pictures on buildings at Christmas.

We have been relaxing all afternoon, letting our dirty clothes dry out. haha.  We need to do laundry-- we're getting down to wearing our cleanest dirty stuff.  Truly "roughin' it" :)  Parker has been a really good sport.  He seems to like people watching, so a crammed full airport is pretty exciting!

Oh, I took a video today, it took 1minute, 37 seconds (approximately) to walk very quickly from the end of the line to the airline counter.  And I was walking fast.  The line went all the way to the end of the terminal.  It was nuts.  We waited about 3 hours (OK Daniel waited, me and P went walking around) just to get on the waiting list.  Then we Stood around the rest of the time waiting to hear "Passenger Wise"... but we never heard it.

If at first you dont succeed, try, try again.  And try to have fun waiting around.

Right now, Parker is playing with a reading light attached to the wall with his Dada.  He's trying to figure it out.  He is so curious now, and his hand-eye coordination is getting better every day.  And in case I've never said it before, i  Love seeing my boys together! 

"Another aeroplane, another sunny place, I'm lucky I know... But I wanna go home"

Monday, April 19, 2010

Blog 19 April 2010

11:50 am. The big wigs of airline travel decided to wait until last minute to cancel our flight. As of last night, airlines in Germany were opening back up at 2pm. Well our flight was supposed to leave at 3pm, and because it wasn’t cancelled sooner, we were unable to make different plans. So here we are, sitting in our hotel lobby, using our cellphones (not a cheap hobby!) to contact the 2 travel agencies we are working with. As of right now, our options are less attractive than poop on a stick. We can take a 3-day bus ride back to Germany. No thanks… We can take a 12-hour bus ride to Istanbul, Turkey, and stay there until APRIL 26 when we can fly to Dulles. That would give us 3 days in the states, and another week of living in a hotel, which could be fun but luxury living costs a bit too much for that! Should I start fundraising?

This is a bit frustrating. Actually, I don’t mind a few delays here and there, or even a small change in plans. I’ve prepared myself for that, but I’ve not prepared myself for a BIG change of plans. I want to see my Mommy, Daddy, Other Mother &Dad, little sister, and everyone else we love! Daniel is on the phone right now trying to find other options… If we are stuck, we better make it fun! Right?

We are looking into flights maybe to anywhere on the East coast… Oh wait

UPDATE 12:15pm Turkeytime: we are flying to Vienna, Austria! From there we will try to get a flight to the US. That is ALL I know… oh wait, they called again.

Update 12:20 pm

Looks like we will be spending the night in Vienna, maybe. We are headed to the aiport in Antalya now, so I should be able to update.. maybe. We might stay in Turkey another night, haha We know nothing, but if we’re stuck in Austria, I’ll tell you all about it. Looks like we will get to the states somehow though. Hope we have internet in Vienna so I can tell you what’s up.

 Love love the Wises.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 9. International Meals 17 April 2010

We had lunch with some Turkish folk, and it was wonderful because they all spoke fine English. They’ve been hiding it all week! The guys who work entertainment here want to make Parker smile, but 11 times out of 10, they scare him when they pick him up and talk with their loud voices, calling him OBAMA!!!! It’s kind of funny because the exact same thing has happened every time. I think he’s just scared of their loudness.

So, what is Parker scared of? Extreme loudness, facial hair, and getting thrown into the air. I feel certain he will eventually outgrow these fears.

We played in the Sea again, and the sunset this evening was gorgeous!

We had dinner with “Oma and Opa” (that’s German for Grandma and Grandpa), a sweet and adorable older couple. They just L-o-v-e Parker, and they’re youngest grandkid is 5, so Oma said this time was very good for her. Parker loved being fed applesauce straight from the spoon of Oma, and this is only the beginning of the spoiling he will experience once he’s around the Real Grandparents!!

So, what does Parker Love? APPLE(sauce), Mommy milk, Dada, crinkly sounds, and sand. I feel certain he will keep these on the “love list” for a while. It will grow A LOT when he meets all his relatives in the States! He doesn’t know it yet, but he is Super excited about the 2nd half of our vacation!

The volcano looks like it will cause flights to be cancelled until Monday. Our flight is supposed to take us to Frankfurt Monday. We are then supposed to fly to the states on Tuesday. If the first flight gets cancelled, they WILL reschedule everything, so hopefully the volcano will shut its hole and we will be able to come back to our roots as planned. If not, we hope to be there in time to keep our plans. If not, it will STINK but it will be OK. If not, we must trust that everything happens for a reason. But until then, we are staying VERY PUMPED UP about seeing our Moms, Dads, Nana, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, cousins, friends, etc etc etc!!!!

Did I mention this place is SPEEDO CENTRAL? I was considering doing a whole post about them, but I’m not really fond of the idea of documenting the experience with photos. If you’re planning a European beach vacation, prepare your left and right brain for all the grown-man-upper-thighs you will be seeing. I guess it’s really not THAT bad, but I’m definitely FOR the swim trunks style of America’s beaches. And my husband doesn’t have a choice. haha

I guess this is a good note to end on for tonight! Haha! Love, the Wises

Day 8, Our 24th Monoversary! 16 April 2010

We started the day with an Apple, and guess what! Parker actually said it twice today! It sounds more like “Abble” but it clearly means “please give me that delicious ball of yum”. The first time was at breakfast, then again at dinner. The girl sitting with us at dinner is Turkish and doesn’t know English, but she heard him repeat us, and she was astonished… “He says it!”

The boys had guytime and Mommy took a THREE HOUR NAP. It was fabulous. Look at these cuties:

We sat out on the pier for a while enjoying the beauty.

Then the boys passed out for a while.

We spent the later part of the day playing at the Sea. The waves were no higher than 6 inches. Perfect for playing in the water with the Baybee. He really likes standing in it, and that makes me happy! It’s the first time we actually got all the way in the water. It seems much warmer today.

They don’t have seashells here. Seriously, I didn’t find a single one. The pebbles are quite beautiful though, as you can see from our small selection:

Parker found a pet rock, and chewed on it for a while. He doesn’t actually have teeth yet, and it was too big to choke on, so I figured since it makes him happy, he can enjoy it for now. It’s illegal to bring pebbles home anyway, so its not like rock chewing will become a habit.

It’s weird to see all the way to the bottom. There were a few little fish swimming alongside me, and after a billion pebbles, the ocean floor was finally smooth, but it was one slick rock. WEIRD> It’s like swimming in a river. Daniel says he’s almost prefer not to see the bottom.

That safari hat was Daniel’s

Today is our Monoversary, and Parker actually fell asleep at dinner so we had a date!

It was fun being able to focus on each other. 2 people came by to take a photo of us on our camera so here we are!

Day 7 An Apple A Day…. And a Volcano 15 April

Happy Tax Day.Thanks to our tax refund, this trip is paid for. Have you taken care of your tax stuff? Enough business talk, let’s get to vacation!

Parker LOVES the baby in the reflection.

And of all the toys we brought, he seems most amused by empty water bottles and the empty wipes bag. He’s easily amused, much like his parental units.

We headed straight out to the seashore for us big people to catch some rays.

Don’t worry, Parker is SPF’ed from head to toe 

Then we headed to the pool so the babe and I could sit in the shade. Dada was BRAVE and jumped in. The pool water is Really Cold. Colder than the ocean! I like this one because it looks like he dived into the pavement:

During our chilltime, we found BBC, the British news station. The volcano in Iceland just might change our travel plans. No need to worry yet, but we’re keeping our ears open. We both want哦to go to弹劾三他特色so八达岭y

Woah, something Parker pushed made it go Asian.  What I was saying is, we both want to go to the states SO bad.  We've already had 2 "maybe not" moments where we thought we might not be able to come.  The flights in Germany are probably going to be cancelled if it keeps blowing smoke... We Know that God is control so it will be OKAY!

Over the past few days, we have found the solution to a fussy baby during meals. Just give him an apple to play with. It’s like a ball, and any boy would love a ball, plus it tastes sweet, so it’s the perfect solution. Pears work too. We give him an apple at least once a day. He gets very excited when he sees an apple! Kind of like my reaction to ice cream cake…

Speaking of ice cream cake, this is how you say it in Turkish (spelled out phonetically):  Dahn Dur MALLeh Pasta.  Don't forget to roll your "r" after you're finished being so happy about its deliciousness.
Happy Birthday is "Eee Key Doe Dune YourName Here"-- it actually means something like "it is So good that you were born this day" and they use the same Happy Birthday tune.
And Thank You is "Day Shay Coolah"-- I remember this by thinking "one day Shay will be cooler"
Now we are ready to attend a Turkish birthday party!!

Day 6 Me No Comprend-day 14 April

Note:  There will  be pictures whenever we get to a faster internet connection!

We started with a nice teeth and gum cleaning.

Then headed out to catch the city bus. We wanted to visit Kale Alanya (pronounced Kah-lay, it means Castle). We hopped on the first bus we saw, and luckily it was full of English people. They informed us that we are on the wrong bus, and we are going the exact opposite direction of the castle. Oops. So the driver knew a little English and decided he would take us with him on his lunch break [awkward, but we got a free cup of tea!], and then drive us back to the city, so we could either catch another bus in attempts to get to the castle, or wander around like fools in the streets of Alanya. Guess what we did? We wandered. We could see the castle far away, so we just headed toward it. I saw all sorts of fake name-brand clothes I sort of wanted to buy, but Daniel is VERY good at saying no to the hustlers. Good thing, or else we might have to buy another piece of luggage. Interestingly, all the sellers start out speaking in English, and if you don’t answer they switch to Deutsch, and I was happy to hear my native tongue so many times in one day, especially since they were saying “I give you good price”… I like good prices. But I don’t need any clothes and I’m waiting for US bargains anyway.

We came upon a street of restaurants, and decided to eat at the one AFTER the one with a hookah pipe on each table. We decided on Mahperi. The waiter was friendly, the food was fine, and sitting outside with a view of the Castle and the Mediterranean Sea makes you feel quite special; Royal almost. We like Turkish bread. It’s flat bread with seeds on top, and they gladly give seconds.

I ordered a mushroom omelet and have officially decided that I love fried baby chickens from anywhere in the world. Daniel got Turkish Lamb something or other with French fries and rice. This lambchop looks just like an electric guitar:

Parker was a good boy.

Then we walked around the marina, and finally decided to take a boat tour. We worked together and successfully changed our first diaper on a boat. The grown up bathroom was DISGUSTING, I will not go into detail. Let’s just say, being on a boat surrounded by water sounds after drinking a bottle of water was NOT ENOUGH to make me use that toilet. Yah, it was that gross. Anyway, We got to see the castle from the Sea (and we found out we’d missed all the busses for the day that take you to the castle— so this was as good as it gets), and then some fishes that they called “dolphins” but were actually just fish eating bread, and a few caves. I think we took the cheap tour, but it was still fun to see the beautiful ocean and castle walls. And the lighthouse was pretty too.

Look at this beautiful mosaic made from pebbles at the marina.

Here is the doorway of a mosque. The bathroom was downstairs, and I didn’t use it because I was wearing shorts and my shoulders were showing and well, I just wasn’t sure if I was allowed to go in there so I didn’t. But Daniel was brave and consequently was relieved much sooner than I was.

Back on a bus. We found a Turkish man at a plant store to help us get on the right one to take us to our hotel. Here you can see the normal safety standards of cars. Yep that is a little girl with NO seatbelt sitting on a lady’s lap in the front seat. Oye. I prefer being on a bus. As Daniel says, they have authority on the road. The drivers don’t wait for you to sit down before they take off, but at least you normally have a few people around to catch you if you lose balance while searching for a seat.

The day was unplanned, exciting, and fun, and ended with a beautiful sunset. This is the pool right outside our front door.

We gave P a bath in the shower, using his shirt to clog the drain. He enjoyed it and so did we! Look at that curly hair!

Daniel says this face makes him look like me. Not sure if that was nice or not. Haha.

Parker also has a deliciously cute butt, but I’ll have to show you that in person. I’m not gonna post his whole nekkid backside online!

Day 5 Cleopatra Treatment

A beautiful new bloom woke us up this morning :)

We did a little time on the shore this morning, then came in because we were turning pinkish.  After being in the arctic for so long, we are not too tough in the sunshine.  We watched Nickelodeon for the first time in over a year-- Spongebob and Madagascar, translated in German, and a European soccer game.  Not too eventful, but isn't vacation about relaxing?

Today we ventured to the Spa and Wellness Center, and got the "Welcome Paket". We sat in the sauna, then got "Cleopatra Care"-- where we lay on a big slab of stone and get SCRUBBED with  'sea salts in a silk purse', then an aromatic foam massage, then get covered with honey and milk, and in between each step, they rinse you with cold or hot water (whatever comes out, I suppose).  Then D got the Sports Massage, and I got the Aromatherapy Massage-- ah it was nice, and Daniel thought it was OK...  Then we got Algae face masks.  Right towards the end of this pampering, Parker woke up and since he didn't know the "babysitter" he cried and I could hear him upstairs.  My masseuse was telling me to "chill out, it's good for Mama to chill out", so I tried my best.  Daniel got him and comforted him while I continued to "chill out", and I must say my back feels SO GOOD!  D said he wasn't crazy about it, and would rather let me have 2 massages.  I won't argue!

We then walked around the hotel, it is so pretty here!  Nothing dramatical, and I'm SO GLAD!  God is so good!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 4. Voyage to Alanya

The boys played in the hotel room before breakfast 
We left Antalya this morning and headed over to Alanya. Alanya is the biggest wedding gift in the history of the world! It was given to Cleopatra by Antollos (?look it up) What a cool wedding gift! The trip over was beautiful, and reminded us a lot of 17 at Myrtle Beach, with the exception of this water looking like Kool-Aid with all its beautiful blueness.

We munched on our baklava as we in-processed and waited for the bellboys to carry our luggage in. Our hotel room is AWESOME and if we ever build a house I want our room to be a lot like this. There is a sliding glass door in the back that has an Ocean view from the porch. At first, they brought a baby pink bed,
 but then brought a boyish pack-n-play for Mister Parker. We “moved in” and then headed out to the beach after Parker started napping. We plopped him in his tent and took a few moments to stick our feet in. It is FREEZING water!

We ‘tanned’ for a while, and once Parker woke up, he just didn’t want to stay in that tent. He wanted to be out with us big folks. He wanted to see what that sand stuff was all about

He likes how it tastes. I didn’t stop him because I would rather him like it than hate it.

We tried to binky to keep him from eating sand, but he just used it as a digging tool. I’d stick it in my mouth to clean it; so I ate some sand today, too, and really, it’s not too bad.

He wasn’t too crazy about having his feet in the water. He just stared at the ocean and did a sort of “run in place” thing when the waves hit his feet.

Then we sat in the Wet sand. He liked that a lot, too.

For the first time in 2+ years, we saw MTV! It was subtitled in German, and all the commercials are German, but we watched the show about America’s Best Dance Team, and Next. I can’t say I MISSED seeing that stuff, but it was fun to watch the dance teams.

Dinner was delicious and we finally found 2 boys that speak English! We are the first Americans they’ve met since working in this hotel, and at first they thought I might be Turkish.. Which means maybe I did get a little tiny tan! LoL. The lunch crew didn’t seem too friendly but then again none of them could speak with us. The dinner was yummy, and here, we eat outside, so Parker gets to check out the kitties that clean the floor.

After dinner, we hurried to go on a sunset walk. I wanted to freshen my breath, so I grabbed the complimentary bottle of blue stuff and put it to my mouth. Guess what. Shampoo doesn’t freshen your breath… Yes, That’s what I get for making assumptions, it was shampoo, not mouthwash. Luckily it was kinda thick so I didn’t get too much but OYE it was disgusting.

Our walk was nice and P fell asleep as soon as he could hear the waves crashing.

It is so beautiful here!

Here is a happy puddle Daniel found on our way back. He is super goofy once you get to know him. We are two peas in a pod I suppose.  He definitely puts many smiles on this face.

smiley puddle.

Day 3. Wise got a “Whiskey” 11 April 2010

Sorry there are no photos! I typed these all out, and now the internet is just too slow. I Will add photos as soon as possible!

Omelets for breakfast. I LOVE OMELETS.

Most of the day was rainy. Aktay was a little more comfortable today, and Daniel asked him to slow down a few times, but other than that, he did great. Everytime I felt he was too quiet up there, I’d nudge Daniel and he’d ask a random question about Turkey to make sure he was awake. He was every time!

Our trips—downtown Antalya, a new modern mall, I think the newest in Antalya. Not allowed to take photos there. BIG and very clean and nice.

Then we went to the “Old Town” where the van kissed brick walls at least twice. Aye yi yi. Aktay’s cousin owns a carpet shop there. This part of Antalya has Tiny streets and lots of big dogs. We heard a man with one arm playing the accordion and singing, sounding very sweet. We saw leftover Roman watchtowers from 2nd century AD. Statue of the founder of Antalya. Statue of the first “president” of Antalya—Constantine?


Outside of old town, Aktay took us to get the “best baklava” here. Found out the store owner died, and they relocated, but we got there and we bought a whole kilo of it because they said that was normal. Do you know how big a kilo is? We’ll be working on that for a few days!! It truly is DELICIOUS! We also got a small ice cream cone full of the creamiest ice cream we’ve ever had. You seriously had to chew it.

Waterfall. Beautiful. Flowing under the city from the Taurus mountains. It stopped raining as soon as we started walking to it. Talk about perfect timing! We were hoping to see a rainbow, but it was beautiful enough without it. {videos to come, it’s gorgeous}

Jewelry store. This is where I got my golden Whiskey. Actually I got lots of apple juice for free, and I picked out a gold “W” with 4 small diamonds in it. (Whiskey is “w” in the military Alpha Bravo Charlie alphabet) Daniel says now we have to have 4 kids so the necklace can be more sentimental. I don’t think our parents will oppose to that idea. He also got me a chain so I can wear my new treasure. I love it! It is dainty and beautiful and just perfect!

Leather store. I expected to see nothing more than slick black leather jackets with a gold zipper and maybe a few Harley Davidson tags. We walked into a big store with an electric “baby grand” and huge pictures of beautiful models in leathers and furs. There were probably 1000 jackets/coats and that was just on the first floor. We didn’t even go up to the second floor where they sell their fur-only coats. How many cows died to make this store so beautiful? We saw a coat that 50-cent bought recently up in Istanbul, but we forgot the camera, so look out for a commentary in People Magazine about a coat Fiddy is wearing from Punta Leather Store in Turkey. Imagine if Daniel and 50cent had the same leather coat with a fur collar.

Daniel found an AWESOME leather jacket moderately priced at 1200 euros. After saying it was a little too short, and a little too big in the waist, the seller brought the price down to 900 euro. It is brown leather with lots of secret compartments and zipper pockets, but also has patch-like designs in a checkered pattern. Since we forgot the camera, I’d like to describe it to you with a celebrity in mind. I could see Ashton Kutcher wearing this leather jacket. In other words, I really do like it, and I realllllly like it on Mister Wise (he’s buffer than AK anyday). The price was then lowered to 600, then I played the piano, and at the end of my first song the man said “420, no 400! That’s my final offer, I can’t go any cheaper”. I got an ovation from an already standing crowd (they are salespeople so they were not sitting), and then played a few more diddlies. Parker helped. We went back to see Daniel, still looking at the jacket with the salesman. I really liked it but its just too short. So, while I never said no but secretly hoped Daniel would find one that was NOT 1200 euro ( I didn’t know it was so drastically reduced—I was at the instrument, remember), he decided not to spend a large chunk of hard-earned money on the best looking hamburger we’ve ever seen.

The hotel staff here is fabulous. They are all so nice and friendly, even though only a few speak English. One non-english girl loves on Parker at each meal, calling him Sugar, making all the Germans laugh. They think its funny to call someone Sugar. One older gent in particular thinks I’m “beautiful, very nice” and tells me what food to get, so I end up getting Tons of food because he says all of it is “very nice”. It is. Tonight we needed something to store our baklava from downtown because the honey started leaking from the carton... The friendly German family beside us spoke English and the father tried to ask Parker’s love for a plastic box because she knows German. Well, here’s the series of events chaining from our need for a box.

1. She thought he wanted to box Daniel, like have a fist fight! I was pretty sleepy at this point and found her shocked reactions hilarious.

2. Later, I asked her for the plastic box and explained that our baklava is leaking. She called a guy over who Said he knew English (he said it in Turkish) and actually he had no clue what I was saying, and our audience of 6ish tables didn’t know either!

3. Finally Martin, a hotel worker who is very fluent in Anglais rushed over to save the day. After his translation, the girl brought me a bowl with a saucer to cover the top and led me to the dessert table, telling me to take whatever dessert I’d like to my room, and that there will be fresh baklava so we can eat it in the morning …. We were getting closer! A German lady yelled from her table to Martin “You are Perfect!” Why didn’t she translate for me?! I guess she enjoyed seeing this stupid American try to save her baklava.

4. Another explanation to Martin.

5. Martin brought us a big plate with forks.. And he said “ALL THIS WORK FOR A PLATE!”. And that was fine except we needed to store it, not eat the whole kilo of it tonight!

6. A more specific explanation of our need.

7. Finally he went to the kitchen and brought us some slightly used aluminum foil because they don’t have plastic…

Whew, that was exhausting. I think we are going to experience culture shock next week in the states, understanding everyone for the first time in over a year.

Until then, we are having a blast being sore thumbs in Turkey. And my W necklace is beautiful. Who cares if it was slightly overpriced, I can always say “this is the necklace your Daddy got me on our vacation to Turkey”. Tomorrow we head to Alanya for a week on the beach. I’m going to miss the staff here, they are so great! If you’re planning a trip to Turkey, I highly recommend Royal Atlantis beach hotel!!!

Day 2. Music and History 10 April 2010

Parker didn’t sleep well last night. Must be the combination of a new place, and sour Mommymilk from all the stressing yesterday as a passenger in the van. But he woke up happy so I’m OK with being sleep deprived!

Today we had a delicious beautiful breakfast (and got the song “That’s Amore” stuck in our heads), and met Aktay in the lobby. He apologized and assured us that all the bad is over and he will be very careful today. We requested a baby seat but can’t get one until tomorrow. There are no seat belts anyway so I’m not sure it would be safer. Daniel demanded that he drive very slowly.

I’m pleased to say Aktay listened. And today was a blast. He really is a great tour guide, with lots of knowledge and patience. We first went to Aspendos, one of the only 4 ancient theatres left today.
A Roman Gladiator met us to say hello!

They had festivals for the “wine god” here. Can you imagine celebrating WINE on THOSE steps?! Was it an attempt to lower the population?

This is where I would stand if I sold cotton candy at Gladiator events:

This is paint from the 13th century.

This used to have lots of columns and statues or Roman gods.
Then the Stadion outside of Perge.

It was U-shaped and many athletic events were held here.

Then we visited the remains of Perge, which was built in the 1st and 2nd century AD, but destroyed by an earthquake in the 1200s. You can still see how beautiful it must have been. Paul preached here!

Then we ate a typical Turkish lunch, and they gave us Free Baklava! YUMMM. Another display of wonderful hospitality. They were playing racy music Turkish videos (no turbans on That channel) and a Domino’s commercial came on! Go American franchises!

At the restaurant, Daniel had his first experience with a Turkish toilet. What is that, you ask? Oh, it’s a hole in the floor with a water hose so you can wash away whatever may hit the sides. Maybe the point is for the people to have super strong hovering muscles in their legs? Anyway, the girl bathroom had a regular potty with pH balanced hand soap—whew. All of it was “normal’’ except the mothballs in the drain.

We got to visit a local village, mosque, and a kind Turkish woman’s house, and she fixed us tea and store cookies. She talked to Parker but he didn’t quite understand. She had both a European and a Turkish toilet. Her Turkish potty was a hole in the ground, too, but it looked like there were “feet slots” on either side, and it was made of ceramic with a large-ish oval hole. I didn’t feel right taking pictures. Her floors were covered with Turkish carpets everywhere except the kitchen and bathrooms. Those rugs sure are beautiful.

So then we went to a Turkish carpet distributor, and we learned how the rugs are made. They were very pretty. Daniel, Mister We-are-not-even-going-to-Think-about-buying-something-there, decided to REALLY LIKE this one shaggy WHITE wool rug, then decided that Parker really liked it, and after seriously thinking about spending $2500 and selling our Lederland couches for a big impossible-to-comb-or-vacuum rug , we walked out of there still bearing our status as hardwood floor-ists. Whew. I don’t think I could handle cleaning that. But I will say, it was very comfy to lay on, and it WOULD be fun for family camp-ins. But we’re tough enough to stick with a blanket on the floor for camping and movies. And an air mattress is looking much more affordable now!

I must say, today was Very fun, and I’m so glad we did not cancel on Aktay. He is very nice, and I even got him to sing to us today. I sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”—he had never heard that! Can you imagine not knowing that song? Well I didn’t know what he sang to us…

We got back just in time for a beautifully-set dinner with American background music. I chewed on delicious crepe with “A Moment Like This” playing and we left the room to the sound of “Gangster’s Paradise”. Seriously. There’s nothing like an exotic vacation spot to remind you of middle school 5th quarter dances.

Now the boys are asleep as I write this, so I’m tempted to sneak down to the midnight snack bar. But since I’m sleepy too, I will wait ‘til breakfast. Tomorrow is going to be another busy day, and I’m very excited about it! Aktay will be here at 9am, and he’s taking us to try the Best Baklava in Antalya!

Day 1 The wheels on the bus go round and round… 9April2010

April 9, 2010
I've written this, with blank spaces for pictures, but can't add the photos til we are back in the states!  Come back later to see the shots.

We got a solid 2 hours of sleep before waking up for departure from our house at 2:30 am. The trip to the airport was painless, and even though we woke Parker up for the adventure, he was a charm. Our friend rode along to take our car back home… And 3 hours later, he was still on the road. The airport is only about 1.5 hours from home, so he must’ve enjoyed the scenic route :) Boys don’t like to get told that they are lost. It’s nice to know our Lola Corolla is safe back in the driveway. We were Very early for our flight, so we set up camp.

At 6:30 hopped on a bus to get to the plane. Parker slept during takeoff. {}

There were lots of babies on the flight. In front of us was Paul—the dreamiest 2 year old I’ve ever met! He had brown eyes and curly blond hair. He kept kissing Parker and petting him, and playing peek-a-boo with us. We spoke baby together, saying “la la la” and “woof woof” and he even let me read a book to him. He shared his gummy bears with me, and played a card game with Daniel. I miss him already.

I think we flew over the Alps.

The Taurus mountains greeted us beside the Mediterranean Sea—this is the MOST BEAUTIFUL flight either of us has been on.

Parker slept during landing, too, so the ear-popping experience must not have been too bad.

The airport in Turkey was easy to navigate, I got to tell my friend Paul goodbye one last time, and we found our tour guide, Aktay (pronounced Oct-iiii) waiting for us outside. He keeps calling us Danielle and Jesseeca and Parcare. I love how all the Turkish people are saying his name. Anyway, guess how many people signed up for this guided tour. Did you guess? Two and a half. Yep, yours truly, the Wise family, is the only group here for this particular journey with this travel agency. At first it seemed a bit shady, but its actually like getting VIP treatment.

Now for the bad part of the day:

We were headed out to the shuttle bus and realized that we forgot to get the stroller from the baggage claim. Daniel headed back in and had to go through all sorts of gates (we do NOT speak Turkish, mind you) and about 15 minutes later he came out with the beloved baby cart. We headed to the lot expecting to see a bus. Aktay drove us to our hotel in a “shuttle” that is actually a silver minivan with no seat belts, and no baby seat, and we realized right away that stop signs don’t actually mean stop (they say DUR, which I find hilarious); and dotted lines in the road actually mean nothing.. And 2-lane streets often have 3 lanes of traffic in them; and speed limit signs are only there for reading material. I was freaking out from the first stop sign.

Daniel probably has bruises from me squeezing his leg each time I feared for our lives. We nearly sideswiped twice, and swerved a bit, and then we were speeding along, getting closer and closer to this obedient car in front of us in the right lane. I was trying to keep my mouth shut, but then we were just TOO CLOSE and I shouted “WOAH!” and then I guess Aktay woke up (seriously we were about 2 seconds from hitting the car) and he just :::SCREEEECH::: took a sharp left turn on the straight 3-lane highway, leaning us far right, then hitting my head on the left, and landing us in a median with two wheels in the grass on a curb about 9 inches high, and the rest of the van in the street. I held Parker tight and having Daniel beside me kept me from sliding anywhere, and somehow there were NO CARS In the other 2 lanes, and we were all OK. Parker didn’t even cry, but I sure thought about shedding some tears of my own. What if there had been cars in the left lanes? What if we had hit that car in front of us? What if I hadn’t been holding Parker? What if Daniel had been sitting on the other side of me? What if, what if, what if…. Breathe. We are all fine, and the only damage is my achy neck and a busted tire. God protected us and that’s all there is to it. Within seconds there were about 5 men around to help us. We were near an auto shop, so they had the tire changed and fixed within 30 minutes. We got to see the Turkish hospitality right away. We were given water, and chairs, and these 2 little kids were spying on us, and by this time there were probably 10 people coming to see what happened. I gave the kids cookies and they ran away with delight. Aktay said he was very sorry and didn’t know what happened. I was a bit ticked off, (because I know what happened but I’m not sure WhY it happened) but at the same time, So So happy that we were all OK. We couldn’t get another driver (this is what happens when you don’t know the language or the number to 911—seriously, its different in foreign countries—in Germany it’s 112). So away we sped, still too fast, with only One more minor incident with a large pothole causing a bit too much bounce and making me scared again, causing me to yell, “can you PLEASE slow down!!!”. We finally got to our hotel. We contemplated cancelling our guided tour and just staying on the semi-warm beach. But after much prayer and calming down and discussing it. We decided to have a good talk with Aktay tomorrow.

I think this whole incident has a purpose, but I’m not sure what it is yet. Maybe to remind me how fragile life is. Had there been another car beside us, we would not be alright. Had that happened, I would’ve spent my last full day with Daniel being cranky and snappy and stressed as we finished our packing. So we’ve realized it takes EFFORT to get along better than just OK but it is so worth it. He is my best friend, why do I take him for granted?

Back to the good parts:

After a short nap, we took ourselves on the short walk to the SEA!! IT was beautiful! Parker just STARED at the water, like he stares at men with goatees, but the ocean didn’t make him cry like facial hair does. He was studying it from the safety of Dada’s arms. The water felt cold in the afternoon sun. We sat out on chairs for a while, and I’m wondering if I’ll end up with a baby-shaped tan line.

Dinner was AMAZING. I loaded my plate(s) up. I suppose this all-inclusive deal is going to be an easy way for each of us pack on 10 pounds this week!

Everyone here speaks Turkish and Deutsch. Only a few know English. It’s weird feeling so foreign. But I am so glad to be here!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Happy Easter!! and first pics of Spring!

Daniel was off work for Easter, so we had a great time together as a family at church.  I made Duck with greenbeans and sweet potatoes for dinner.  It was pretty good, but we kept saying "Aflac" during the meal :)

Our Family

Yesterday was BEAUTIFUL so I took Parker outside to play in his new tent from Daddy!  But first, he wanted to explore the grass and little flowers.  After many attempts to eat it, I let him play in the safety of his tent while I tried to absorb some Vitamin D.  Living in Germany has made us very, very, pasty white.
I love his little hands and feet!

Parker loves the baby in the reflection.  Every time we pass a mirror or window, we make sure to wave at that cute little man that mommy is holding, and my oh my, we talk about how handsome he is!

He also LOVES his Daddy!  Yesterday when Daniel came home from work, Parker was in his exersaucer and as soon as DaDa walked in, he started SQUEELING and smiling for about 2 whole minutes.  It was so adorable.  He is very interested in Daddy's uniform, especially the hat and basard (thing on the sleeve).

It's like he knows to soak up all the time with DaDa he can get.

We are SO excited about our vacation!  We leave in just 2 days!  We will be in Antalya and Alanya, Turkey until the 19th.  Then we spend the night in Frankfurt and fly across the Atlantic Ocean and spend TEN DAYS in our hometown!  We can't wait to see you all!

Here are a few things we have planned.  Please see the note on my post from March 22 about making plans with everyone.  We really want to see you, but we need you to stick to OUR schedule.  We simply don't have time to please everyone.  Family AND Friends should come to anything they want!

April 23-- My Daddy is having a get-together at his house. Times TBA.  Anyone and everyone is welcome :) I definitely EXPECT to see my aunts and uncles on his side, along with Granny, and my cousins. 

April 24-- Fincastle Baptist Church. We have the park, picnic area, and the gym inside in case there is bad weather.  Again, everyone is welcome.  It's my Mom and our niece Katie's birthday, so it will be a fun time. 

April 25-- We will be attending Fincastle Baptist Church on Sunday morning.  Our sweet nephew Jared is getting baptized!  Then I'm certain we will be going to eat either at Wanda's or out somewhere with the Wise/Foutz families.  Come join us!  Pastor Kevin is a good preacherman.

We will be posting more plans on facebook as they come up.  You can expect to see us at Walmart at least once!  But for the most part, we will be at my Dad's, Mom's, and Daniel's parents'! 

You can bring food to any of the events :)  We like food.  But the most important part is that you bring YOURSELF and a SMILE.  Oh and we also like great big hugs :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

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Parker's HALF BIRTHDAY (March 24)

March 24, 2010.  The child is officially 6 months old.  Half a year already... 31 more of those and he will be driving.  Yikes!  Dada bought him another cool present, a car that converts into a push toy, and after constructing it, Parker has really enjoyed it!  He can get into things better when he's sitting on his car.  His fave thing to do is lean forward and play with the "hood" of the car.  The belly bar holds him up.  Daniel didn't even Need the directions! He is good at this "assembling" thing!

The day before his 1/2 birthday, I took Parker to the zoo with my friend Danielle and her babies.  It was a lot of fun!  The zoo in Kaiserslautern is impressive.  I think we might get season passes because Parker is sure to enjoy it a lot more when he is older.  They have camels and porcupines, a lion, a tiger, and chickens running wild. And monkeys! And a playground!

Parker had his 6-month check-up and is officially 17 pounds, 11 ounces.  He is 27.5''.. He is tall and handsome, just like his Daddy!  Daniel's mouth is healing from the wisdom teeth removal, and I must say I really enjoyed him on Percocet-- it makes him super focused and alert.  I expected him to be drowsy and miserable, but he was great! 

We are all well and blessed beyond measure.  And we are SUPER EXCITED to be visiting soon!

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