I just read my friend's blog and she mentioned something about being "flexible and open" or something like that. The idea being that as mothers we need to have that flexible quality. That is one thing that I don't have. I am so not flexible. I'm too into scheduling and accomplishing and getting things done. I really need to change. "Ohhh but it's so hard!" I think to myself. But inside I know it's what I need to do. I need to balance myself out. I know Heavenly Father is trying to help me change. I really believe that this 'living in Turkey' thing is helping me. You may be thinking "Oh, it sounds so cool and exciting!" Well, you're right but it definitely has it's downsides.
However the upsides are these:
1.I have much less control over my life right now. If I want to go somewhere, it really does depend on the weather. If it's raining, I'm not going to walk around this city with my toddler in his stroller and get splashed over and over by the cars that go through the nearby puddles. Why is this an upside? Because I'm a control freak and anything that jumbles up my day is good. Especially if I can't blame it on anybody. I need these jumbles to help myself continue on with life no matter what comes up. I need to be happy rain or shine.
2.I can't buy the food I want like cake mixes, sour cream, canned foods, canned mandarin oranges, chocolate chips, brown sugar, marshmallows, etc. Having to adjust my cooking patterns has not only been a healthy change but it has been a stretch on my brain. What am I going to make for dinner tonight? What will my kids eat? This isn't much of a stretch anymore because I now have my turkish recipes, and my kids like a lot of them. The only time I feel the stretch is during the Christmas holidays when I can't make kilos of cookies like I used to in the States. Heck, I've got a toaster oven. Even if I had the ingredients, I wouldn't be able to mass produce them like in a large American kitchen.
3. Money is an interesting thing. I never thought money would be an issue with me. But it is. I don't love it, but I do. I love it because if I want to, I can take a taxi home from church instead of making an hour to hour and 1/2 trek home when the kids are exhausted. I love it because I can say to myself in the evening "I want to watch a movie. Let's go rent one" and we can. I love it because I can stay home and clean my house and read stories and talk about trains with Cinci because we have enough so that I don't have to work. I love it because I can be warm inside my home in the wintertime. I love it because it is something that if given away can be useful to anyone. I love it because you can add it to hard workand dreams can come true. Blah, blah, blah. If pebbles were our currency I would love them too. Now that Jonathan has a very good job we have an amount of money that permits more flexibility. It omits many instances where I would say something like this "I'm sad that I can't buy chocolate because we're too poor." I guess many of you must think "Gosh, that's a dumb thing to complain about." I know, it sounds dumb, but there was a short time in my life where I didn't have enough money to comfortably buy chocolate. Can you believe it? Well, money provides flexibility. I'm so thankful I have just enough to help me be more flexible.
4. Space. I know for some of you readers out there, space is an issue with you. Living space when you have children is a huge issue with me. Unfortunately, here in Istanbul, renting is expensive, and if you want space you need to pay a high price for it. We live in a three bedroom apartment. Compared to other apartments I've been in, we have it pretty nice. However, I am used to more space. Spoiled? The reason having a smaller space to live in helps me be flexible is because I see a lot more of my kids now. A lot more. I am forced to interact and work with them constantly. Asking them to pick up toys in our front room, asking them to take their dirty clothes to the bathroom (where our washing machine is), asking them to be quiet so they don't wake up the neighbors or their brothers, asking my kids to move away from the patio door so that I can bring in the high chair for every meal, etc. Every small abode has their quirks, as does every large abode. With three boys I like more space rather than less. We like to let them spend their energy running or jumping or having pillow fights or anything that requires a safe open space where they won't hurt anyone or anything. We work with it, and I am glad I have this opportunity to experience living in a smaller place while I have the chance.
5.Culture. Turkish culture has many beauties. Many beauties that I'm sad to say traditional American culture lacks. Generosity, a respect for the elderly, a genuine love for children, a sincere desire to help, and an undying devotion to Ataturk. Despite these beautiful qualities, this culture also possesses a sort of Spanish time system. Everything takes longer than it should. Meetings run on and on. Paperwork is put off till the next day and the next day and the next day. Loose plans are made for the weekend. Maybe. Visits are unannounced. People invite you to come over and visit anytime, and they mean it. People say this in the States, but do they really mean it? No. They don't really want you to come over at 9 PM while they're putting their kids to bed. They don't really want you to come over during dinner unless they've specifically invited you for that evening. Well, Turks do. They invite you in and feed you, always. So this stretches me because as you've noticed, I love to plan. I love it. I love to fill in those slots and see the future come to pass. Jonathan is penciled in at 5:07 but when he doesn't appear, it's surely that meeting's fault that was scheduled to end by 5. Oh well.
That's about it for now. Maybe I should just pencil "flexibility" into my agenda in every slot. Well, maybe not in every one. Some.