Day in the Life // Grace in Turkey

Every month in our " Day in the Life" posts we feature a woman around the world to get a small peek into other people's "normal". This month we are honored to be featuring a friend who has created a beautiful life for her family in Turkey. Grace met her husband, Lucas, in Oregon and they have been married for 7 years. They have two children, True Zion 4y, Echo Joy 2y, and baby #3 on the way (soon!). Her families passion for Jesus, good coffee, and adventure led them to move to Turkey about a year ago and they hope to put down roots and stay for as long as they're able to. Grace lives up to her name and is such a relaxing, peaceful woman to be around. Make yourself a cuppa and cozy up to read about a typical day for her.

What is one thing you love about living in Turkey?

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There is really no way to narrow it down to one thing! There is so much history, culture, art, nature and beauty to explore in this diverse nation, I have literally only scratched the surface in my less-then-one-year of living here. Turkey has a fascinating blend of Middle Eastern and European culture, which is at times confusing but really has made settling in feel natural and fun. The thing I love most is it’s unending discoveries. My husband and I love to travel and see the world, but I’m not gonna lie, my capacity has changed drastically since having two kids (and being pregnant with my third). The romantic idea of “seeing the world” is now laced with the reality of flying in airplanes, sleeping in airports, facing jet-lag and all that glory with high-energy, always-hungry, active, excited, strong-willed-lovely-little-humans at my side that I adore so much! I’m a thousand percent okay not getting my passport stamped for a while and enjoying this vast country. We’re much more inclined to taking road trips, having the freedom to stop when we need and not be pressed by any timeframe. That being said, the wonderful thing about Turkey is that we can drive to where we want to explore...such a win!

What is one challenge you didn’t anticipate?

The language barrier. I’ve never been to a country that speaks as little English as it does here. Which is expected and not a bad thing, it just forces me to push myself harder than I ever have before mentally. You can imagine, as I’ve so passionately described my kids personalities in the paragraph above, I don’t have a ton of mental space to spare aside from raising my kids to be awesome people in this world. But at the same time, if I want to thrive in this country, (and I do with all of my heart), than I need to adjust and adapt as deeply as possible. Languages come easy to some people, and to others it is legitimate rocket science. Most days I feel like a rocket scientist making paper airplanes, which leaves a lot of room for insecurity and inadequacies to creep in… finding the balance to give myself grace and push myself to study and speak more has been constantly teetering. Ten months into it, I’m definitely nowhere close to where I wish I was, but trying my best to rest in humility and steady on. 

What is grocery shopping like for you?

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Each day of the week, the pazar (a local farmers market of sorts) pops up in each different neighborhoods across the city. Our’s lands on Fridays. It’s definitely one of the highlights of my week. It sometimes feel hard to get myself there because of the 20 minute walk and summer heat that’s hit Antalya, but once I’m there I’m smitten with the kind sellers, colorful palettes of fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables, nuts and dried fruit and so much more. If I was really good at meal planning like Tiff and Diane inspire me to be, and took more risks on meat and dairy products at the pazar, I could be set for the week! But I’m not there yet, so mid week I also go to an any average grocery store to stock up on what I couldn’t find or didn’t remember to get at the pazar. 

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What is your morning commute like?

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I’m a stay at home Mom with two toddlers. During the Fall my son will go back to pre-school and taking him there is my only consistent morning routine. But right now, it looks different each day. A few months ago I was in language school and took the city bus in the morning and afternoon, with a 45 minute commute to and from. But with Summer here, and being with my kids is the main theme, sometimes it’s to my favorite coffee shop and scooters to the nearby park. Other times it’s a very heavy double-stroller walk to the sea to swim. And more recently, it’s a “where can we go that is in driving distance so I can be in the AC and not waddle half across town” kind of morning. Because nearing 8 months pregnant and 100 degree weather will do that to ya. ;)

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Where is your favorite place to bring your kids?

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Hands down, the Sea. We live in the southwest, in one of the largest Turkish cities on the Mediterranean coast. There is not enough time and space right now to write about how stunning the Mediterranean is. It’s just a dream come true for our family to live in walking distance to a beach. Being in water is a family value, if that is such a thing! It’s free-fun and a really great way to meet locals and let the kids be free.

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What’s a local dish that you love to eat?

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The classic Turkish breakfast here is literally all my favorite foods placed on a table, all at the same time. Dreamland. The first morning after we moved to Turkey our friends took us to breakfast and as each dish was put in front of me I literally teared up with glee. It’s my favorite meal, but also one that has the potential to do some harm to the bod if not eaten with will power. Fresh bread, variety of rich cheeses, olives, vegetables and sausage…nuts, dried fruit, jams, honey and cream for dipping…a huge pot of fresh black tea, it’s heaven in your mouth you guys. (Just not so dreamy when trying to avoid gluten and dairy)…

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What do you do to rest and recharge? 

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I binge-watch Turkish soap operas on Netflix. Just kidding, but that has been a temptation in the recent past. ;) Right now the most energizing thing for me is to be with people and talk about Jesus. I love hosting guests and creating a space that is comfortable and enjoyable for rich fellowship. I often want to be alone when I’m overwhelmed by life, but it doesn’t necessarily recharge me. I’ve learned that about myself in recent years, isolation is rarely what I need because then it’s just me talking to myself, trying to unpack my deep thoughts alone, and not a lot of good comes from it. I need the accountability of community and friendship, the gentle rebukes of a friend and the encouragement of mentors wiser and stronger than I. I’m blessed with a group of ladies here that are in similar life situations, living abroad, mothering and wifing, and we try to get together once a week to check in, pray together and make sure our eyes are fixed on the only unchanging thing in our mutual lives, which is Jesus. It’s a real, open time to be raw with what our deep, messy lives, and authentically take part in the journey together.

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