Less than 10 minutes from my apartment lies a magical place. The streets are filled with toy soldiers, sparkling lights and even a Christmas Tree (or more accurately ‘A New Years Tree ‘ for the Turks). Stars and lights hang from restaurant windows, store entrances are decorated with ornaments and to my surprise , even familiar Christmas music plays in the stores. For this homesick American, it is to my sheer delight to see familiar symbols, decor and music to celebrate the holiday season in the Istanbul neighborhood of Nisantasi. Read the rest of this entry →
This year was my fifth Thanksgiving away from home. While it breaks my heart to away from the established traditions, lively discussions, delicious food and my wonderful friends and family, I am delighted by the wonderful new and established traditions that shape my own celebration!
My friend and I befriended a Turkish man with a New York accent on the bus, while we were returning from the Sabanci Museum yesterday. He was a Business professor at the esteemed Bogazaci University and lived in the United States for many years, while teaching at Temple University. We started by talking about Seattle and the Bosphorus, but after leaving the bus, our interaction continued with one final conversation. He reemerged from the crowd to wish us a happy Thanksgiving. In fact, he was off to celebrate with his Turkish American friends!
He inspired us. His enthusiasm for American life and Thanksgiving was surprising, but also endearing. Originally, I was saving all of my energy for our established weekend extravaganza with friends (we always reschedule Thanksgiving festivities to ensure we get the whole weekend to celebrate and prepare), but we decided to have a Thanksgiving dinner of our own last night as well. Now, keep in mind we came to this decision at 6 PM last night…so we did not have much time.
The bakeries were full of ghosts, eyeballs, witches and bloody hands. Tivoli, the amusement park in the middle of the city opens for two special weeks to celebrate Halloween. We bought an unlimited pass and spent most of Saturday night jumping from ride to ride, and celebrating Halloween with all of its charms and quirks. We even dared to enter a Haunted House! For this homesick American, it was a perfect escape… Read the rest of this entry →