Friday, April 1, 2016

Gule Gule Turkey!

WOW! What a week it has been.  It seems like Easter was years ago because so much has happened.  I'm sure that most of you have already heard the big news because it seems like every major news source knows more than we do, but in case you haven't heard, I'm leaving Turkey!  Tuesday (the same day as my LASIK eye surgery), we found out that there was a mandatory dependents recall for all dependents living in southern Turkey, Izmir and Mugla.  Surprisingly, Istanbul and Ankara were not included.

It all started Monday night when Mike got a phone call saying there was a mandatory meeting for military members the next morning at the NATO base.  Mike was less than thrilled to have to miss class, but was out the door the next morning.  I went to Turkish class, figuring it was just another meeting about safety and nothing of importance.  During class, I texted Mike to say that I was going to go to lunch with my classmates and he replied with "That's not a good idea, you need to come home."  That's when I knew it was serious. After class, I rushed home to find out the big news.  All we knew was that there was a mandatory dependents (spouses and children) recall, so that I would be leaving and most likely heading to Germany where there are a few large military bases.  We didn't really have a timeline of any sort, but it was just enough news to send us into chaos mode.  Despite knowing this, we still chose to go ahead with LASIK.  We knew that I wouldn't be leaving before Thursday and many people are able to travel within a couple of days of doing it.  I guess it was a big risk, but we knew we'd be spending Tuesday just sitting around waiting for news, so we might as well sit around and get my eyes done.

All the while, we had been told that we must wait to tell people until after it was made public.  We kept checking the embassy website and waiting for word from people that we could let our friends and family know what was happening.  Somehow, though, the media got a hold of the information and, within hours, all major American news sources were reporting on the recall.  I got so many different texts, Facebook messages and emails about this, it was insane.  You guys really know how to make us feel loved! It wasn't exactly how I wanted to break the news to people, but that's what happened.

Wednesday, we headed to the base for a meeting, hoping to get more clarity on a timeline.  Unfortunately, there wasn't much new information.  The colonel at the base is filing an exception memo for all of the families with children so they can finish out the school year at the DoD school in Germany together.  He's also filling one out for me and another wife so that we can stay in Germany while we figure out what our husbands are going to do.  The goal for Mike is to finish the semester here and then move somewhere in Europe so that he can write his thesis next year and still continue to travel and finish the program.  If this ends up working out, I will stay in Germany until the end of the semester and then move wherever we end up with him this summer.   Because of these exceptions, we were unable to get a timeline since we have to wait for them to be approved.  When we were at the meeting, we were able to do all sorts of other things, like provide passport numbers and banking information so we can get things like airline tickets and per diem when the time comes.  It was chaotic, but productive.

Thursday was a day of waiting.  We thought the exceptions might get approved that day, but no news came in.

Today, we attended a meeting and were able to get more definite details.  I was booked on a flight for Monday and will arrive in Ramstein that afternoon.  There is already one family from Izmir there (they were on vacation when the official notice was given and weren't allowed to come back to Turkey! I can't even imagine! They have two kids!) and I've been in contact with them.  The base has arranged for someone to come and pick me and the other family up and escort us to living arrangements on base.  We are provided with a small, fully furnished apartment with a kitchenette. The base is one of the largest in the world and has all sorts of amenities, so I think it will be an easier transition than some other places.  Everyone keeps reminding me that there is a Chili's and a movie theater on base! I'm not sure how much I'll be eating at Chili's but I know that I will take advantage of the Chipotle in Frankfurt at least once while I'm in Germany!

Unfortunately, we were not as surprised as some might think when we found out the news.  We've been hearing things for the past few months that have lead us to think this was a possibility.  We were a little surprised at the timing, but ultimately, were not that surprised.  It's not the best timing (my best friend Karen is coming next weekend for a month!) but it's also not the worst.  Mike will still be able to finish his semester and hopefully his program.  We're also extremely grateful that we don't have kids that have to go through this.  My heart breaks thinking of the children who are going to go to their second school in one school year and then will be moved and start a third school at the beginning of next year.  I also feel sad for the Turkish people who are unable to leave the country, even if they felt unsafe.  Getting a visa as a Turkish citizen is extremely difficult and moving is expensive. All in all, we're lucky.  This will be a little stressful, but not nearly as stressful as it could be.  Plus, I'll get to explore Germany a little more!  I'm welcoming any and all visitors!

When we found out the big news, Mike immediately started singing "Leaving on a Jet Plane," which inspired us to make a whole Evacuation Playlist for me.  We'll take any and all suggestions!  Here's what we've got so far.

  1. Evacuate the Dance Floor
  2. Leaving on a Jet Plane
  3. Bye Bye Bye
  4.  When I'm Gone (the cup song)
  5. I'll be Missing You -Puff Daddy
  6. See You Again- Wiz Khalifa
  7.  So Long, Farewell- Sound of Music
  8. Never Can Say Goodbye- Gloria Gaynor
  9. Hello Goodbye- The Beatles
  10. Closing Time- Semi Sonic
  11. Ticket to Ride- The Beatles
  12. Let It Be- The Beatles
  13. All You Need is Love- The Beatles
  14. I Will Remember You
  15. 1000 Miles Away
  16. Homeward Bound
  17. On the Road Again
  18. Born to Run

Thank you again to everyone who reached out to check on us and make sure we're okay.  We feel completely safe in Turkey and were not planning on this, but we're trying to make the most of it.  If anyone wants to take a spontaneous trip to Germany, I'll be there waiting!