Sunday, October 21, 2018

Dancing in America

Grandparents take full advantage of birthdays when they see us, so when the girls were home this summer, my mom celebrated both of them simultaneously in a month that neither was born in.  

One advantage to living overseas.

When the girls go to ballet camp, they can't have any outside contact the first four days; however, I saw these pictures on facebook, and I spied Karis in them.

These were tryouts from their first full day there.

*Karis is in glasses on the left

*Karis is to the left of the instructor, looking right.

 When we did facetime, Karis was dressed up for a Saturday conditioning class.
(The theme was "musicals," and her group dressed up as lions from "The Lion King.")

Kylie and her friends posed outside during some off time, and she sent me some of their pictures.

On a side note, their summer dance intensive is put on by Ballet Magnificat in Jackson, Mississippi.  It is a faith-based camp where the girls not only learn skills and techniques of different styles of dance, but they also spend time studying the Word and learning to worship through dance.

I highly recommend it if you have a dancer in your family.

Some friends of mine in Mississippi went to see the girls and took pictures for me.

*Kylie - front and center

 These are the girls and boys who attended the first two weeks of camp.

After camp, they had an opportunity to see friends.

Karis is so used to be the tallest girl among all of her classmates in our country, so it was nice for her to have a friend taller than she...but not by much. 

 I was also surprised to see that Texas is now selling 113 pound burgers! 😂

Saturday, October 20, 2018

One last side trip...

Before we left Greece, we took a side trip to the southern coast.  Leaving our first location, our bus took us down through winding roads where a few people got car sick from all the turns.

The roads along the southern coast followed the coastline more and were less twisty.

We went to see the ruins of Poseidon's Temple

But it turns out that hiking and exploring were more fun.

You can see the Temple up on the hill.

We hiked down to where a drop off was that led down to the water. 

Doug, Keira and Caleb slowly made their way down to the water (it's further than it looks).

 Shortly after, Kylie decided she'd join in.

Karis and I spent some moments alone, and then we ended up sitting on a rock and talking for about an hour while we waited for everyone else to climb back up.

 Can you see them, way over there on the rock?

Before hiking back up the hill, we took some pictures with the beautiful water backdrop, and then we drove back along the coast watching the sunset.

Yeah for summer adventures!

Dear Greece,

Thanks for the memories!

The Taylors

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A Pretty Decent Locale

We had a week-long conference in Greece during the last week of Ramadan, so I don’t have any amazing stories about the end of Ramadan because we were out of the country. 

It was a nice blessing to actually be able to get out of the country, since the airport had been closed from the end of September to March.

We left on June 10th at 2:55am after Kylie finished her online school for the year a few hours earlier on June 9th at around 10pm.  That’s called “cutting it close.”

The conference was refreshing, and we had opportunities to meet some more people who work in our region of the world.  The kids had a great time, too, and since it was such a small gathering, 6th-12th graders were all together, so my older three were in one class together.

Check out the size of the feta in this Greek salad!  

 And, of course, we had a serving or two of pork.

On our way to the conference, the bus stopped for a bathroom break at a souvenir shop in Corinth.

We took this picture of the man-made canal there that cuts through the narrow isthmus of Corinth.  The canal is 4 miles in length, but it's very narrow, so most modern ships can't pass through.

It took 12 years to dig and was finished in 1893.  That is a lot of rock cutting done without modern-day tools!

Our first night at the conference, the kids wanted to rush down to the water, so I thought I'd get a picture of Keira's first time to ever touch the ocean.

But within 30 mintues, like all kids, she ended up preferring the sand to the water.

While Kylie and Caleb preferred seeing who could knock each other off the floatie first.

Keira loves the water, however, she has always been a little timid of getting her face wet and trying the pool without floaties.  But she wants you to know that she went swimming with her class at the conference, and when she saw that other kids could swim, she decided she could, too.

Off came the floaties, and down she went.  She taught herself to swim and go underwater in a few hours time.

One day, our schedule allowed us a free afternoon to see some of the local sites.  Many people took a boat or a ferry to neighboring islands, and we did as well.  It was quite beautiful, and it refreshed all of us.

The conference was a few hours north of Athens, and it was nice to be out of a city atmosphere.

The weather was beautiful, and my only complaint was that the week was too short.  It was such a blessing to be with other people who work in our area of the world, share stories and gain encouragement from each other, and the meeting place was in a pretty decent locale, too.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Impromptu Tea Time

I'm always looking for green spaces for Keira to play in.  The park is nice, but it is usually very crowded, and parking is never easy.

One day, I loaded Keira's bike and drove to my friend Dalia's neighborhood.  She told me she wouldn't be home, but I could park at her house.  As we were riding, we came upon this large, green empty space. 

Keira parked her bike and took off running.

There was one older lady sitting way on the other side in a folding chair all by herself, so I wandered over.

She spoke a different dialect of the language I am learning, but we were able to communicate some.  She was very kind, and what I gathered is that she had gone to the market, and when she returned, she had been locked out.  She was patiently waiting for her sister to return.

We sat together for awhile, and then a neighbor she knew pulled up on the other side of the green space.  They greeted across the grass, but soon the lady and her daughter came over for a more appropriate "hello."

The daughter spoke English and help translate for me between her mother and the older lady.  After about 3 minutes, this sweet mother said she was going to make tea and bring it for us.

What I didn't know is that she meant a real tea party!

Her son came out carrying a table!  

He walked it all the way across the field, and while he went back for snacks and a table cloth, his sister went to the older lady's house and brought four chairs from her porch.

Then, while the mother was still making tea, the older lady sat at the table, and the daughter played soccer with Keira.

Tea arrived in fashion!

This kind of hospitality is rare! 

I had never met these ladies before, yet they welcomed me so warmly.

The large box on the table is some special Turkish coffee packets she liked.  We were talking about what she liked, and when she found out I had never heard of her favorite kind, she had her daughter go back to her house and get me not just one packet, but the entire box to take home!

They were all so kind and invited me to come back anytime I wanted.  We exchanged phone numbers, pictures, and I have since run into her and her daughter at the grocery store.

This was such a lovely God-surprise on a beautiful day when I thought we were just going for a bike ride.  I hope we all remember to take notice of how God sometimes chooses to love on us through the people around us.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The End of Things

Government schools and activities here usually run until the end of June.  Thankfully, the schools that my kids went to, ended in May, but dance and soccer continued through Ramadan and into the heat of summer.

The dance studio had end-of-year presentations for each class.  The class that Kylie and Karis taught took place at the exact time that Keira was also in class, so we didn't get to see Kylie and Karis' kids perform.

Here is Keira with Mrs. Natalia.  She is the wonder woman of the dance studio.  She teaches little girls' ballet classes, pilates, yoga, aerial yoga, and ballet pro (Kylie and Karis' class).

Her husband had trouble finding work here, so he had to leave.  Pray for this family as they are currently separated.  We really love having Mrs. Natalia here, but we also know she needs to do what is best for her family.  

When Keira was finished, I went upstairs to the older girls' class where they were posing for all the mothers.  You can see as the summer wears on that fewer and fewer come.  Their class usually had 11-13 girls attending.

I didn't get a picture of Caleb's last soccer practice, but this a handsome snapshot of him and his milkshake on his last day of school :)

Ballet Pro also did an open class performance, but our family was the only one who attended.  Four of the ladies are from out of the country with no family here, and the others say they would rather not invite anyone.