Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Gift of Time

One of the really nice opportunities that living in Turkey has provided is "guilt-free" time...time to think, time to research, time to read, time to write, time to learn new things. This morning, for example, I woke up at 6:30 a.m. with no pressure of a "to-do" list but rather time to sip coffee (still prefer a morning cup of Joe to the more culturally acceptable chai) and prepare a "would like to do" list. It's 11:30 a.m. and this is how I've spent my morning:
*reading and editing a graduate student paper titled "A State Accounting System in the Middle East in XIV Century: Example of Ilkahanid State (1256-1353). Although the writing has some serious editing problems, the idea that Turkish graduate students must write in English, even though most can't speak it, is pretty amazing to me. And although the topic appears quite dry, I found it fairly interesting. It appears those old empires including the Ottomans had some very sophisticated accounting and financial systems. They kept volumes of books that would amount to tax codes (laws) along with revisions as needed. The defense spending was divided into two categories, soldiers and officers, and when not enough taxes were collected the public housing projects and buildings were not finished.
*making a leek soup. The leeks here are plentiful...maybe even one of the staple vegetables this time of year...and very inexpensive...So I've got lunch and dinner for the next few days.
*studying Turkish. I try to complete 3-4 lessons a week each taking about an hour. I'm really good at translating Turkish into English but I'm terrible going from English to Turkish. I try not to cheat and look at the answers, but after awhile my brain gets tired of thinking and so I usually give myself a little help. I'm at the point now where I think I will hire a teacher for a weekly lesson because I think there may be several ways to say things but my book only gives one answer.
*talking to Eric. We usually talk once or twice a day but on the weekends it's nice because we aren't rushed by the pressure of me trying to catch a school bus or him trying to get to bed early enough for his 4:30 a.m. exercise class.

Now it's time to get dressed for the day, make my weekly 45 minute walk to the mall, see a graphic art exhibit produced by one of my colleagues, meet a parent for weekly English conversation practice (hopefully hers, not mine although sometimes I wonder after speaking in one syllable words all week), and buy snacks for the hike I'm going to join tomorrow with the Malatya Sports and Nature Club.

...and all this because I have the gift of time.

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