Jonathan and I are now back in Atlanta. Long story short...it was time to come back sooner than later. We learned a lot about our strengths (and weaknesses) through our time in Istanbul. We both also learned to appreciate what's in front of us rather than desiring that which we can't have. Here's a brief summary of our 6 months in Istanbul.
- Being together 24/7. Jonathan and I had the great joy of working the exact same work schedule. This means we were literally together 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It was definitely our very favorite part of our 6 months in Turkey. We never got tired of each other, and though for some, absence makes the heart grow fonder, for us, continual presence makes the heart grow fonder. We continue to be amazed at how our capacity for loving one another grows day by day.
- Living in a big city. We loved walking to work, walking to the supermarket, taking the train, subway, metrobus, taxi, and whatever other forms of public transportation we needed. Life in Istanbul was so simple! No car, no car insurance, no monthly cell phone bills, etc. On top of that, I'm not sure I've ever experienced such a beautiful city in my life!
- Friends. We are so thankful for the friendships we developed--especially with other ex-pats living in Istanbul. They welcomed us into their lives with open arms and were all so encouraging and supportive when we were struggling with work, language difficulties, and everything else.
- Teaching. Though teaching had it's ups and downs, we are thankful for the relationships we developed with our students and the joy we had in introducing a new language to eager students.
- Language barrier. We were teaching 35 hours a week and lesson planning on top of that, which meant we had no time to learn Turkish. It was frustrating not being able to communicate in general day to day life.
- Loneliness. We had an amazing community around us in Atlanta, from our roommates, to our community group at church, to lots and lots of family. We love being around LOTS of people practically all the time and missed sharing day to day moments with others.
- Teaching. Though the pay was good, the company we worked for wasn't the most upstanding company. After teaching English, Jonathan learned that teaching English isn't the job for him. I'd still like to give it a try, but for a different employer.