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Eat the Grapes Don't Fight the Battles: A memoir of a Teacher's Experience in Turkey

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For centuries, Turkey has been a country of intrigue and mystery. Modern Turkey, too, is a country of paradoxes, both European and Asian, modern and traditional, secular and strongly Muslim. Yet one family discovers, in the midst of it all, there's much to be treasured at the core of Turkey's mystique. Eat the Grapes, Don't Fight the Battles is a must-read voyage of three family members as they move to Turkey for a two-year adventure.

After thirty-seven years of teaching, Craig ...

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Overview

For centuries, Turkey has been a country of intrigue and mystery. Modern Turkey, too, is a country of paradoxes, both European and Asian, modern and traditional, secular and strongly Muslim. Yet one family discovers, in the midst of it all, there's much to be treasured at the core of Turkey's mystique. Eat the Grapes, Don't Fight the Battles is a must-read voyage of three family members as they move to Turkey for a two-year adventure.

After thirty-seven years of teaching, Craig Johnson takes an early retirement and searches for meaning in this new phase of his life. His only plans: to get away and experience something unusual. His wife is open to a new beginning, yet is unsure about leaving her home behind for unfamiliar lands. Johnson's sixteen-year-old daughter, while enthusiastic about the idea of living abroad, can't identify Turkey on a map.

In his touching, thoughtful, and humorous voice, Craig Johnson explores the journey of teaching youth in a Turkish school while overcoming culture shock, reconciling family dilemmas, and embracing the unpredictability of living thousands of miles from home. The cards stack up against this Minnesotan family as they strive to achieve normalcy in a world of challenges, but they learn in the end that cultural discovery can mend the fences of their own fears, biases, and vulnerabilities.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592983148
  • Publisher: Beaver's Pond Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/1/2009
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Craig Johnson is a first-time author and lifelong educator. His thirty-nine-year career ended in Izmir, Turkey, which is the subject of this book. He is retired and he and his wife Jean live in Minneapolis.

Since returning from Turkey, Jean has been working for the Hennepin County Library System as a technology trainer.

Jennifer graduated from the University of Virginia. She spent two years teaching English in Japan and then received a Master's degree in theological studies from Bethel Seminary. She presently works in communications for a church in Minneapolis.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Pre-Game 5

It's Not Over Yet-One Man's View 7

Good-bye America, Merhaba Türkiye! 18

Orientation: Preparation to Be Turkified 30

First Half 37

School Days 39

Culture and the Shock of It All 62

Only in Turkey! 85

It's A Ball! 97

Timeout! Let's Go Far . . . East 102

Transitions 115

Half-Time 123

Wedding Bells 125

England and Scotland 128

Second Half 139

School Days-That'll Be Easy . . . Right? 141

Timeout-New Year's in Paris 164

Layups-Wide Open Shots 165

Timeout-Rome, Barcelona, Canary Islands 172

Back to School Days 175

Timeout-Prague, Vienna, Budapest 187

Another Layup 189

You Like Meetings? I'll Give You Meetings 191

More Layups 200

It's a Ball 216

Only in Turkey 224

Crunch Time and School Days 234

Overtime 241

Timeout-Black Sea 246

Post-Game Analysis 251

Acknowledgements 253

Als 254

About the Author 255

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 6, 2009

    A good read for the armchair or the globe-trotting adventurer

    I had a smile on my face when I finished this book. Eat the Grapes is an enjoyable look at one Minnesota family's venture outside of their comfort zone and an insider's view into living life outside one's culture after so many years in America. I was amused by the interplay of wills and personalities as each of the family members dealt with changes and new experiences. This book is definitely a must read for any reluctant adventurer; it is inspiring to read about a man who, at the end of his career, takes his family on an exploration of unfamiliar regions, customs, and way of life.

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  • Posted December 5, 2009

    Going overseas?

    I wish I had read Eat the Grapes before my family moved overseas several years ago. Sprinkled with humor throughout, Mr. Johnson beautifully articulates the "irks, quirks, and perks" of living in a new culture. Lots of people talk about a new adventure in a different part of the world but "Mr. Craig" actually stepped out and led his family on an unforgettable experience. If you have already spent significant time in a different culture, then you will enjoy this book as you relate your own life to their two years in Turkey. And if you are planning a move overseas, then you should consider reading this book as preparation for what is in store.

    Andy L. Donahue, Singapore

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