Thursday, November 20, 2008

Miscellaneous and Piracy, by Christopher

Yesterday Sarah and I came to work like normal. I found an email in my inbox from my principal informing us that the Ministry of Education inspections had been postponed to next Tuesday.
Most of the Turks I spoke with were overjoyed that they had the rest of this week and the weekend to prepare for the visit.

Personally, I was ready to get this formality over with. I’m a rip the band-aid off quick kind of guy. But I suppose we’ll have more time to make sure all of our preparations are ready for the big visit.

Today I was expecting a fourth grade class to join me this morning like usual, but their teacher told me that his class was headed to a carrot factory today. I asked the obvious question first, why are they going to a carrot factory? To learn about how carrots are processed, he told me.

Um, alright then.

Sarah and I have confirmed that we are booked on an overnight train trip to Istanbul. We leave Monday night, December 8th, and we stay for four nights. We’re going to do all the typical touristy stuff for our first visit: Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, The Grand Bazaar. And we’ll be taking a ton of pictures and video to share with you, of course.
Istanbul is the traditional heart of Turkey, regardless of the fact that Ankara is actually the capital of this country. Istanbul is where the boldest Turkish experience lies, where the culture runs strongest. We are both excited to experience the city.

We have also decided that our big trip this summer will be to Spain. Sarah’s life was transformed by her time in Spain, and this will be my first time in the country. She is very keen to take me to the big cities, but also to the hidden backroads and villages. We’re not so sure how long we will stay there, and there is so much of Europe that we want to see. Our decision will come down to money and time, as usual.

Coming home for the summer is also a big priority for both of us. When and for how long have yet to be decided, but we are thinking two weeks would be about right. Any longer, and it may be hard to get back on a plane to come back here! Not that we don’t love it here, but America is the land of infinite comforts, and we can’t let ourselves get too comfortable. Talks are underway.

Meanwhile, Sarah and I have been captivated by all the news about pirates. Not just any pirates, Somalian pirates. We can’t get over how anachronistic it is to see pirates grabbing the top headlines day after day. Seriously, we ask? Pirates again? But day after day, the Somalian pirates keep themselves firmly in the international spotlight.

I can’t come to grips with why the UN doesn’t just deploy a submarine to blow up their ships, or fly over their vessels in a bomber and drop a bomb on them. Why is there such a thing in existence as I read about yesterday, a ‘pirate-fighting warship?’ Can naval battles seriously exist in the world today? Two ships squaring off and blasting each other? With what, cannonballs?

I would love to hear an explanation of why these pirate ships aren’t being blown to smithereens with impunity by planes and submarines, if anyone wants to hazard me a guess.

To me the whole situation is comical, like if every day the news was reporting that a group of rapier-wielding musketeers was crossing America, sticking up all the 7-11’s in their path. The whole thing just seems very enjoyably ridiculous.

In other news, Sarah and I joined a health club, if you didn’t already know. I am scheduled to go in at 9:30 am this Saturday to meet with the staff nutritionist who will perform a health evaluation on me. Sarah has no doubt that I will be found to be underweight for my height and told to eat more calories, an outcome she is already preparing her jealous sarcasm for.

I just can’t seem to help it. God knows I try. I eat everything in sight regardless of nutritional value or purported health risk and still I can’t seem to slow down my nuclear metabolism. I tell Sarah that I hardly ever gain weight because I’m burning calories all day with all the difficult thinking I do.

You can probably hear her scoff from there.

We’re also headed to a shopping mall with a group of staff on Saturday. This mall is supposed to be the nicest, best stocked one in Ankara. I’m expecting to enjoy eating my fill of some recognizable food court offerings. I’ll settle for Sbarro, but I’m secretly hoping for an Auntie Ann’s Pretzel’s to appear. Those pretzels are my crack. Especially the cheese and butter versions. With salt crystals gleaming like huge quartz deposits on the crispy skin. Oh, how I hope.

We’ve got grad school tonight with the teacher that we both love. His class bursts at the seams each week with valuable information and discussion. We look forward to and prepare for his class with enthusiastic regularity each week.

Oh, and I made soup again last night. I’m really starting to get the hang of it. I’ve only waited thirty years to figure out to cook something. But, hey, one dish down. Only a billion gazillion to go.

1 comment:

  1. The pirating will most likely continue until the ciaos on land in Somalia is handled. This country is really in a mess right now and it’s most likely only going to get worse before better. Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991, when clan warlords ousted longtime dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned on each other. There are currently 3.2 million Somalia’s in need of humanitarian aid. I wonder if the pirates are helping any of these folks – I doubt?

    There was a success yesterday in that a naval destroyer from India sank a "pirate mother ship". One down, many more to go.

    See for more details.