Well, the time has come for Jonathan and I to move along in our next big adventure.
Since we fell in love and I moved to Atlanta in October 2007, our heart has been to return to the unreached nations as soon as we could. Jonathan felt the need to get more coffee experience before moving, and I was excited to start our life wherever we were!
Last November, we went to Turkey for 9 days to visit some of our dearest friends, Eric and Allison, as well as attend a conference put on by some friends I worked very closely with in Cairo. We also prayed that God would give us some leading as to when we should go and where. We loved our time in Turkey and were especially uplifted by our time with Eric and Allison. After lots of prayer, Jonathan and I both felt like God was leading us to the same place as Eric and Allison, even more than to a country! We shared this with them and they were in agreement that we should move to Istanbul with them. Eric and Allison are working for a coffee roasting business, so Jonathan will fit right in.
I had decided I would go to cosmetology school. What better option to find a job in Turkey than through doing hair? I planned to spend a year studying at the Aveda Institute in Atlanta, and open a salon in Istanbul. I went through the whole application process and was very eager to begin in March. A few weeks before it started and right before I turned in my 2 weeks notice to my boss, I decided to wait until the May school started because I didnt' feel released from my job yet. Then, a couple of months ago, I went to the Aveda Institute and got my hair cut. As I was taking in the scenery, people, music, etc. I suddenly realized that this wasn't what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I could do it and enjoy it, but my passion isn't hair: it's people. I just wasn't willing to talk hair for hours and hours to get to the heart of people. Jonathan and I prayed about it and brought it before Eric and Allison and they agreed that they never felt right about it as they had prayed for us.
During these past few months, Jonathan's job role has changed to managing two coffee shops, with a huge part of his job being fixing up the shop he took over. Though he's good at what he does and enjoys working in the coffee industry, he has found that he's already gained the experience he needs to move on to something else, possibly somewhere else.
Suddenly, in a matter of hours, we were left in a position where we were people in a place without vision for that place. Atlanta had begun to wear on me and I was slowly burning out in my job, while Jonathan was feeling like he had accomplished what he originally set out to do a year and a half ago. We also sensed the Lord had moved us into a position of supporting our family (roommates and friends) in their desires to see Atlanta draw nearer to God, without us really catching the vision as well.
Before we knew it, we were ready to go...sooner rather than later. Jonathan and I decided the best way to go is to become English teachers. Eric and Allison led us to Cambridge University and their CELTA certification, because it is one of the most recognized certifications for English teachers in the world. They offer the course in the U.S. and also in Istanbul, but it's about $1000 cheaper in Istanbul so we decided we'd do it there. Eric and Allison also invited us to move in with them so we'll have a place to live.
So, long story short, we're moving to Istanbul in July. The CELTA course starts July 27th, so we're planning to jump on a plane mid-July. We told our bosses a couple of weeks ago and though they're both disappointed to lose us, they celebrated us "living our dreams."
We've learned a bit of Turkish already and I've found that it's already MUCH easier than Arabic. Istanbul is a wonderful city that blends the Islamic culture with a European influence. I'm excited to jump into a new culture and lifestyle all over again and I'm sure Jonathan will adjust easily (like he always does).
Though we'll miss our friends and family here, it's time for something new. We're ready and excited!