Transitioning from a summer of meeting with multiple people every day to immersing myself in studying Turkish was this extrovert’s nightmare. At first I felt completely isolated. This is not what I envisioned serving overseas to look like! I was here because I wanted to work with people, but instead I was inside memorizing verb tenses. I wanted to scream. At the same time, the learner and achiever in me knew that this bookwork is an essential step to becoming an efficient tool for helping refugee and for communicating Truth. So I pressed on. Pretty soon I was out walking the streets in search of Turks to practice my language skills. Now, rarely am I in my house with my Turkish book for longer than 3 hours, because the rest of my study time I am out and about with my new Turkish helpers. Learning by speaking. We laugh a lot. I say a lot of things I shouldn’t- unintentionally, of course. So then we laugh some more. And a strange thing is happening: we’re becoming friends. Conversations are being exchanged about faith, family, and most importantly, football. Somehow, my broken Turkish actually is functioning enough to build relationships. It’s a miracle. Learning Turkish by being social– it’s almost too good to be true.
How is this a factor of feeling transitioned? Well, in comparing my first month to my third month- going on four- having friends really makes a difference in feeling like I belong here. Daily meeting up with familiar faces gleefully drives home the fact that I’m not just passing through. I’m here to stay awhile. And I’m here to invest. In people.
I. Love. People.