So I'm sitting on the other side of the world, back in exotic Indianapolis. It is great to be home, but as I traveled back from the airport to our cute little apartment, I immediately missed looking up and seeing beautiful structures like the blue mosque peppering the landscape. Of course, I did make it to church this morning, and Broadway UMC is a beautiful building too. It was nice to be back.
Let me first say a few more words about Turkey. In our stay in Istanbul and in our travels to Ephesus we enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of the Turkish people. As we arrived on our bus to Izmir at 11:00 at night, we were hoping to still make it a little farther toward our goal, to Solcuk (pronounced Soljuk). Chris mentioned to a woman sitting next to us that he wasn't sure we'd be able to catch a bus still that late at night. When the bus stopped, we were getting off, but she was leaving with the bus to one of its other destinations in 15 minutes. Rather than stay on the bus, or step just outside to stretch, she grabbed her daughter of about 6 years, and ran with us all over the bus station trying to find out information about a bus to Solcuk. We finally found someone with some information, and of course we needed to head to a complete different side of the bus station. She ran back to the bus and left us with this other man. He, also a complete stranger, of course had his own agenda in the bus station that night. But he too dropped that agenda to help us find out what we needed. We experienced that kind of helpfulness again and again. Talk about being made to feel welcome.
Last year when we travled to Spain I saw for the first time some characteristics common to architecture influenced by Muslis cultures. Of course this year as we travled through Central Asia and to Turkey we saw many of the same geometric patterns and tiles. This year I became a little obsessed with drawing some of the patterns and shapes in my sketchbook. It is amazing to see the different shapes. When you think you're looking at stars, you're looking at many intersecting squares or triangles. When you think you're looking at repeated crosses, suddenly you see eight-pointed stars. I've posted two pictures that are some of the result of my sketches. The site only allows us to post pictures saved in a certain format. If you'd like me to send you a very small file so that you can tile your computer's desktop with one of those patterns, just email me. The colors I've used for the patterns are inspired from the painting inside the blue mosque.
In spite of a delay at the start of my trip, I had a comfortable journey home. It was very difficult leaving Chris in the airport, but we've known this was coming for quite some time. I've already talked with him a few times via the internet. We are both getting very busy already, me with my new job and Chris with his research. December will be here in no time.
Our good friend Ali met me at the airport in Indy. I traveled with my bag and also the medium sized Sanduk that Chris and I purchased in Dushabe. I got some very strange looks going through the airports, but in the end it was no problem. Ali, who always goes to the extreme in his desire to show his kindess (he is from Istanbul too), refused to let me carry the Sanduk to his car in the parking garage. It isn't terribly heavy, but it is large and awkward. I definitely would avoid carrying it long distances if I could. Eventually, about 2/3 of the way to the car, I managed to convince Ali to let me help.
I arrived just in time to go to my good friend Scott's wedding yesterday. He and his wife Sarah are now on their own trip for their honeymoon. At the reception I got to relax and have a good time with many of my friends from college. It was an great way to come back to the U.S. I had an awesome experience this last month. I'm so thankful to Chris for showing me this part of the world.
With that I'm signing off from our travel blog. Chris will continue to update it for the remainder of his stay in Tajikistan with stories and pictures. If you'd like to see the 500 or so pictures that aren't posted on this site, just give me a call! :) Hasta luego!