* I think I’m just going to accept that every post is going to be a short novel for a while 🙂
This was a week that I have been beyond grateful that this pregnancy has not been too hard and that I crossfit. We wrestled our things off the plane, in and out of Callie’s car, and into our temporary lodging home at the Hodja Inn, only to spend three nights there before we received our house and the loaner furniture and moved in. Thus having to having to pack up everything, with the addition of about 6 boxes of stuff I had shipped or ordered from Amazon before leaving the states, to transfer it once more. Will had to attend a newcomer’s briefing all day the day we had to check out of the hotel and into our house, so Callie and I had to handle getting everything moved. Then I spent the afternoon trying to get our house setup with the few things we had from the loan locker.
Getting Set Up
I’m not sure if this is the case at every overseas base, but at Incirlik there is a great option to do the Plane to Pillow program. Before you arrive, your sponsor (a person assigned to you to help you get your life setup in Turkey) can accept the house you are given, you send them the paperwork with the pieces of furniture and types of supplies you need (dishes, coffee maker, pots and pans, linens, etc…), they get everything set up and ready to go, and you can literally go from the plane straight to sleeping in a bed in your actual house the first night you arrive.
At least that is the theory. And some lucky ducks actually have it happen that way for them. Obviously it didn’t for us, although the Hodja wasn’t too bad and it was nice to have wifi and cable for a few days while we were still trying to figure things out.
We got news on Wednesday that we might have a house on Friday. Then Thursday afternoon Will was given a set of keys (check out this set of freaking keys!!!) to our house and was told we would be moving in the next day. The next morning Callie called housing and was informed the movers would be arriving with the loaner furniture at 9:45. We got the first load of stuff loaded from the Hodja and got to the house about 9:25, and five minutes later the movers showed up. At 9:38 all of the loaner furniture was assembled and in place and the movers left. So we went to the Airmen Family Readiness Center to pick up some dishes, linens and things.
It used to be that the AFRC had kits of supplies put together. Each family could select from the A, B, and C kits, pick up a nice little package and be on their way. But as usual there are always a few bad eggs that ruin things for everyone else. Over time people would complain about the things they received or didn’t receive (can you believe some people actually got angry they couldn’t get a cake mixer or a blender??), and some people just flat out refused to bring back the things they had checked out feeling that it didn’t make sense for them to buy their own stuff when it was already provided. Given that the vast majority of the supplies are acquired through donation, you can imagine that there isn’t just stockpiles of necessities sitting around. And when it’s peak PCS season (such as now), the base can see 300-400 families coming in…all needing these limited supplies until their own unaccompanied baggage (UB) and household goods (HHG) arrive.
So instead of kits, everything has now been moved into a small room and families are invited to come in and select items to create their own “kit.” I ended up with four plates, four mugs, four bowls, pots and pans, a coffee maker, a roasting pan, a colander, some cooking and eating utensils, two bowls with lids, and a mixing bowl. Then we went to the BX where I bought dish towels, an oven mitt, toilet paper, soap, a shower liner (more on that in a second), knives, and a scrub brush for the kitchen sink.
When you pack up your UB, you are told to pack anything that you consider to be essential in getting your house set up to function for a little while until the rest of your goods arrive. This is all well and good, except that even though our UB is here sitting in storage waiting on us, we still probably won’t get it delivered to the house until sometime later this week. And obviously you still have to live and function until it arrives. For the most part we are doing just fine. I’ve been able to cook, wash clothes, and live pretty normally for the time being.
I had been told to be sure to pack a shower curtain, shower hooks and towels in our UB, and I did, but since it hasn’t gotten to the house yet I picked up a cheap shower liner at the BX to use for now, and washed the towels we had packed in Jim’s crate to use. I did not however think about also needing shower hooks for the liner. And since we don’t have a car or bikes, and walking is really a good 45 minute one way deal, I wasn’t making a trip back to the BX to get them. Instead of we been thankful to have a very long hosed shower head and have been trying to “shower” without drenching the entire bathroom as much as possible. Kind of creates an all new shower experience when you are completely open to the rest of the bathroom haha!
Our only two hardships at the moment are still not having wifi (when you depend on internet for your TV, email, texting, phone calls, and general admin it is REALLY hard to go without it – update, got wifi the night I wrote this post!), and the cement pad double bed we are sleeping on (well, Will doesn’t seem to mind it as much as me). I’m grateful that we have a bed to sleep on, but the one and only pain I’ve had throughout pregnancy has been my hips and back, and the little double bed with a rock hard mattress that we have has not made it easy to sleep. Because I lugged a pillow from home across the ocean, I luckily have an extra pillow to wedge between my knees or behind my back, but in reality I could use like three extra pillows right now. I can’t sleep on my stomach, and I’m not supposed to sleep on my back, and trying to sleep on your side with a basketball hanging off the front of you puts a lot of strain on your joints throughout the night. The other night I rolled over and my entire pelvis popped. I’ve never had my pelvis pop before, but man did it feel good once it did. I cannot explain how excited I will be to receive our UB so I can fold up the down comforter I packed and make it a make-shift mattress pad (it’s way too hot to use it as an actual blanket on the bed), and man oh man how glorious it will be when our beloved memory foam mattress arrives. I think I will be singing for joy…literally. I’m just hoping it gets here sooner rather than later so I can actually enjoy it for a little bit before going to Germany and having to go back to lodging furniture.
Trekking Across Base
Friday I ended up spending about 7 hours at the house alone with no internet, phone or transportation. So Saturday we decided to make the trek back across base to work on getting our internet and phone set up, and to rent some bikes from Outdoor Rec (since our rental car fell through). It was 100 degrees that day, and the walk took us about 45 minutes, so by the time we got to the internet place we were both drenched in sweat. We signed up for the new internet service and were told, “It be two weeks, eh, long time.” But that we could call Communications and see if our house is still enabled on DSN in which case they could hit a button and give us immediate internet access until the faster new service came online. Of course the communications people were out that day, so still no internet for us till at least Monday.
Next we visited Outdoor Rec to get some bikes, but alas, they only had one bike available. We already knew we were going to probably have to take a taxi back to the house after we went grocery shopping, and I didn’t like the idea of Will or I have taking a taxi alone or having to ride the bike back alone, so we passed.
Then we tried stopping by Will’s office so he could go ahead and schedule our UB to be delivered…but the internet was down.
Next we lunched on Taco Bell (ugh) and borrowed the BX wifi for a while to email home and catch up on a few things before stopping by the Commissary to try to shop for the week. The base has a great taxi service to help you get around, and thankfully they frequently drive by the commissary parking lot looking for poor saps like ourselves that need a lift. We knew they billed in Turkish Lira, but we didn’t know if they accepted USD or credit cards, or if you could only pay in TL. We also needed TL so we could finally venture to the Alley off base to eat dinner that night (we had been warned not to use our credit cards in town because some peoples’ credit cards had been double swiped). But after enough attempts to finally freeze my USAA card, we accepted that whatever pin we were trying to use was incorrect and we were out of luck. We hailed a cab and he thankfully accepted USD (although I think we grossly overpaid for our ride in the end), and later Will ran back out to another ATM with his debit card and was finally successful in securing some TL so we could go out for dinner.
That night we dined at the Moonlight Cafe, I have a separate post with pictures coming soon. Then Sunday we went with some of the other JAG’s to the beach that is closest to us called Yumurtalik, also covered with pictures in a post coming up.
By Sunday night our hearts were full, and we were tired. So tired that I even managed to sleep almost the whole night through without tossing and turning or waking up a million times, cement bed and all 🙂
A Quick Note About Baby and Daddy
Due to Will being in SOS, he missed some of the bigger progression months in this pregnancy. He was around every couple of weeks or so, but he missed experiencing my bump going through big growth spurts, and the moments when the baby was practicing its acrobatics. Until we moved to Turkey, he had only gotten to feel the baby move one time. So on many levels I think it was hard for him to not only accept that this baby is for real, but also to develop any kind of attachment to it. He hasn’t actually said this by the way, it’s just kind of my observation. And I can understand how hard that would be. I am the one with my belly slowly expanding, and the one that feels the baby moving throughout every day, and I still struggle with acknowledging the realness of it all. I can’t imagine being in his shoes trying to evoke a whole new set of emotions for this little being that neither of us can see, and he can’t even feel.
But I do think some of that has changed since we’ve been here and he has been around me and the bump every day. He’s actually seen it move now, and he’s felt it numerous times. He’s scared to death to use any pressure when I try to get him to feel Baby’s little body that is pressing against my belly. But more than anything I can tell his mindset has shifted a little. I think it’s finally starting to hit him that this little one is actually going to be outside of my belly here soon. He’s started thinking about how he can work from home some so he will have more time with it. He flipped through the baby’s clothes the other day, and I swear a light went off over his head and his eyes lit up at the surprise of how much stuff Baby J already has. It melts my heart, and I already know seeing him with our child is going to just absolutely turn me into a puddle. I know there is immeasurable joy in meeting your child, but I can’t help but think that a good part of the euphoria is seeing your significant other fall in love with this being that is the perfect combination of the two of you. I really, really, can’t wait!