Monday, April 30, 2012

I Survived Knee Surgery!

Yup!  I sure did.  One of the scariest thing for an expat is needing surgery or to be hospitalized in their host country.  Usually it means dealing with doctors who may or may not be at the standards you are used to from home, language barriers and all kinds of issues.  But I'm happy to say that my experience in Turkey was awesome.  My doctor actually picked me up from home, drove me to the hospital, helped me check in, came and checked on me pre-surgery and post and then came back at the end of the day to help me check out and drove me home!!!! And the anesthesiologist spoke great English, gave me all my options and helped me make the best choice for me... it was also the first time I didn't wake up groggy and dizzy from a surgery.  My nurse spoke little English but she tried hard and was very sweet and caring.  The hospital is also staffed with people equipped to deal with foreigners in several languages.  There are two ladies who speak English and walked through the whole process with me... checking me in, taking me to my lovely private room, helping to translate my family history, helping me to deal with my fears and helping me to leave at the end of the day.  I love those ladies with my whole heart!  They make a trip to the hospital less of a frightening thing and a little more like being with family when you clearly aren't. So I had minor knee surgery in Turkey and I couldn't be happier with the results.  My pain is VERY minimal... really just a little soreness at the end of the day, I am walking around with the only issue being that I can't bend it properly and I feel like I was well taken care of.  Chalk up a point for Turkey and their medical system and workers... especially at TOBB hospital (Hastanesi) in Ankara... they do a great job!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Children's Day in Turkey

April 23rd is Children's Day in Turkey.  This holiday started 92 years ago when the national assembly was formed and Ataturk declared that the future belonged to the children.  So, today, children all over Turkey are performing in ceremonies and enjoying a day of being treasured and important (which for many children in Turkey is just a normal day.... kids are well loved here).
In my school, we celebrate with a short ceremony that highlights the importance of the day and celebrates the unique qualities of children.

We also plant trees that will grow and help heal the land just like the children will grow and become the leaders of tomorrow.  It's also really helpful that it was Earth Day on Saturday and the planting of trees goes hand in hand with that.

This year we also added a fundraising event where students would bring in money to help support a local rehabilitation center for children and also to egg their teachers into cutting their hair or shaving their heads (the hair will be donated to A Matter of Trust and be made into mats to help with oil spills). Basically it was a great day where fun was had, people were celebrated and most of all, people were helped!!
These are the staff that bravely cut or shaved their hair off.  3 of them were women who went bald for the cause and they all looked BEAUTIFUL!!

Ballin' in Ankara

First off, let me start off by saying that I am sorry I'm behind in my blogging.  Life just gets busy and things get laid by the wayside.  It's a bit of a shame but it is what it is.  Anyway, one of the things I've had the pleasure of doing in Ankara that has been busy and kept me from blogging is going to see a live basketball game.  I love the sport (I even poorly coach it at the high school girls level...thank goodness for the real coach who lets me be comic relief and a cheering section all rolled into one) and getting to watch it live is always fun.  Since there aren't as many foreigners here, it's sometimes easier to get to meet the foreign players and to talk to them.  Some of my friends are lucky enough to befriend them and get free tickets to games on a regular basis.  Not too long ago, my friend Trish got some VIP tickets and included me and a couple of others in the fun.  I loved it!!  The sad part is that it's just not that popular here.  The stands were mostly empty. 

We were cheering for the team in white... that was the friends team and they won!  It was a good game, even though some of the ref-ing was pretty terrible.