After we had the confirmation that I wouldn't be leaving until Monday, we quickly made plans to enjoy our last weekend together and my last weekend in Turkey. There was another American couple who had just moved to Turkey last month (can you imagine...moving to a foreign country and then finding out a month later you're getting kicked out?!?!?!) and we had really enjoyed hanging out with them through these meetings. Guys, we finally had friends! Anyways, Mike and I offered to take them wine tasting so they could enjoy wine country before Jessica had to leave. We had so much fun with them and are definitely sad that we won't get to spend more time with them.
Sunday, we enjoyed one last day together and ran some last minute errands. I found an article about the emotions people go through before deployment and I definitely could identify with almost every single one. This whole thing has been crazy, but the closest thing I can relate it to is a last minute deployment. This time, though, I'm the one leaving! I don't think what was happening really hit me until Thursday or Friday. Before that, I was kind of in shock/robot mode of doing laundry, trying to pack and figure out what I needed to bring. Once it hit me though, it was a complete emotional roller coaster. I'm a crier, so these situations where my emotions are heighten just lead to a lot more crying. I stubbed my toe, which made my eyes water and before I knew it, I was crying about leaving Mike! It was crazy. Overall, I feel like we've been pretty positive about this whole situation and there are definitely some perks (the world's biggest commissary!), but it's not ideal and my emotions have gone haywire. Mike was pretty sad as well, so between the two of us, it was a sad Hogan household on Sunday.
Monday morning was also super emotional, at least for me, but luckily there was last minute packing to do, so I was running around until it was time to leave for the airport. When we got to the airport, we had an emotional goodbye before I crossed through customs. I found my gate and, eventually, found the other family that was being evacuated. They're another navy family who was living about 3 hours south of us. They have two children under three and the husband had been out to sea until Saturday. When I say I'm lucky, I'm not kidding. Can you imagine what that poor wife has been dealing with? God bless her! Anyways, I found them and it was so nice to have people to travel with throughout all of this.
The flight was pretty turbulent towards the end. At one point, it dropped and people screamed. My stomach always struggles with landings and this was not helping. I just kept thinking, "they evacuate me from Turkey for my safety, but the end of me is going to be on this plane." When we landed, the Turkish people on the flight clapped (they do this every single time, regardless of how smooth it is) and the Germans all sat stoic. So stereotypical. After going through customs and grabbing our baggage, we eventually met up with the people picking us up. Luckily, we had time to grab some sandwiches before leaving because it's over an hour drive from the airport to the base and it was 3:00 in the afternoon. I was so impressed with the kids because they were so carefree.
When we got to the base, they had a whole team waiting for us there to help check us in. They went over what we needed to do in order to get on and off base, the numbers for medical assistance, the things that we would be able to get reimbursed and a million other things. Luckily, they had it all written down for us as well because, by that point, I was so tired that not a lot of information was actually being retained. It was kind of emotional because at that point, I realized that I was doing all of this without Mike. They kept saying "Since your sponsor (the active duty service member) will be in Turkey, you need to do this, this and this." I felt so bad for the kids too because they had reached their limit. One of them was crying because he wanted to live in the conference room instead of getting in the van to go to our apartment. At that point, I was ready to do the same and probably could have slept on a conference room table. I'm glad I didn't, though, because our lodging is incredible. I have a full kitchen with pots, pans, and silverware, a living room and dining room table, two bathrooms and three bedrooms. It's enough room for full families and more than enough room for little, old me!
|My bathroom...the shower is behind the door|
|The entry way to my bedroom!|
After we got settled (the other family is right across the building from me!), I decided to walk around a little and get some dinner at Chili's. I had heard so much about it that I knew it had to be my first stop. I treated myself to a large margarita and burger. Calories don't count on days like this one, so I enjoyed it with no regrets. My only regret was that I didn't get another!
Overall, everyone here has been extremely welcoming and helpful. People are always so gracious whenever I tell them that I'm from Turkey. I think they think I lived in a war zone. Whatever. The other family from Izmir that I came with is so nice and I'm so glad they're right down the hall. The other wife from Izmir, who has been here for a few weeks while her husband was working (they couldn't even go back to Izmir to get their stuff!!) took me out to lunch today and showed me around, so overall, it's been as easy of a transition as it could be. I'm so thankful for everyone who has helped me get settled and made sure that I have everything I need. I miss Mike a ton, especially since everything is so overwhelming, but I'm so glad to have this part of the evacuation done. Now if only we could figure out where we're going next.....