We have spent the last couple days a little bit outside of the city for a conference that Tony is helping with. It is a training on counseling and member care for those who want to learn and grow in their ability to provide care for others who sometimes work in difficult places but who may not have a ‘degree’ necessarily to always feel competent in specific areas when they face those who struggle with anxiety, depression, marital conflict, and personality disorders, etc. This conference is a grad school program on steroids with some of the best in the field from the States coming together to present on their areas of specialty and equip people to care well. It’s really quite exciting! We went to Thailand for this same conference last year, so it is nice that now we only had to travel an hour from our new ‘home’ here over the seas. It makes such a difference to not spend the first 12 of the 15 days trying to flip your son’s sleep schedule from days to nights and nights to days! If you are ever interested in attending this conference in the future, please let us know and we can provide you with information – but it would be money and time well spent.
Being outside the city over the past couple days has provided a much-needed breath of fresh air for all of us – but particularly for Samuel.
Because we are very early on in helping Samuel adjust, I am very limited in the time that I spend with the conference participants and instead, I have focused on nurturing a sense of security in Samuel. It seems to have paid off so far – because he is far more content and peaceful here than he has been in the past month. The below picture is evidence of his sense of security because here he is, for the first time since we arrived, walking away from me with a new friend who spent some time with him this afternoon!
I think that no matter how long he lives as a city boy, his heart will always be most alive in the “country” where there is space to run free.
(The above picture shows Sam’s new favorite activity bat ball although I think he still prefers soccer/futball to basketball.) Today, I had to bench him for not sharing the ball with the man who actually brought this ball to the court. Because of this consequence, he told the story before bed: “batball turn” to which I reassured him: “Yes Samuel, you need to take turns and share with others when you play batball. Thank you Gretchen for laying the foundation for taking turns! (Pictured below is Samuel refusing to share the basketball just prior to being carried off the court screaming and in serious need of a diaper change)
Thank you Landon for giving Sam one of his favorite new toys “beads” before we moved him over the seas. He loves carrying these around with him as we explore the city or play in our apartment!
The past two mornings, we have spent time with some new Turkish friends who, as a family, run a hamam. It has been quiet for them in the mornings so they have time to hang out with Samuel and I while we wander around the hotel grounds. It is a great way for us to learn language and get to know a wonderful family who have run this kind of family business for years.
It has been SO SWEET to see Samuel warm up to this couple who mostly speak to him in Turkish. You can tell they are wonderful parents and grandparents to their own children and grandchildren by the ways that they interact with Sam. We have transformed the spa/fitness area into a space where Sam can explore and enjoy during its quiet hours due to the hospitality of this family. We spend most of our time in the lobby/sitting area where they move the two fish to Sam’s level and teach him how to feed them as well as creatively improvise on another fun activity that I’ll share with you later!
For those who don’t know, a hamam is the infamous Turkish Bath which have been around for centuries. If you ever visit this beautiful country, you will have to find a recommended Hamam to experience this age-old tradition.
Sam’s experience of the Hamam includes: his absolute delight in hearing his voice echo against the walls; running in circles while breathing in the relaxing, warmer air; and being treated by our friends with such love and care.
I will take my camera along for future mornings with Sam at the Hamam so you can get a sneak peak into the fun he has having. I am reminded of how much the Turkish people love and value children in the ways that Samuel is blessed by people who he meets – whether it’s on the bus, at the hamam, or at the Pazaar (Farmer’s Market x 10 – pictures coming soon!).