Turkey Day in Turkey
Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. This is the first time in my 22 year existence on this Earth that I haven’t spent Thanksgiving with my extensive extended family. We usually spend time with my Dad’s side of the family, feasting and then playing our traditional Thanksgiving game of… floor hockey. A little strange, but an absolute blast.
Coincidentally (because the Islamic calendar is lunar and hops back about 11 days every year), Thanksgiving coincides this year with the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha (عيد الأضحى), which is a holiday marking the pilgrimage to Mecca. To commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to God (copyright Wikipedia, ha), Muslim families all over the world sacrifice some sort of animal, usually a sheep – not that different from Thanksgiving, eh? We make pilgrimages to our families houses and sacrifices turkeys. But there is a big difference – the actual Eid is tomorrow, but today is a day where many Muslims will fast for the entire day. So this year, our day of feasting ironically coincides with their day of fasting.
Nothing reminds you more that you are an ex-pat than Thanksgiving. I was invited to 3 or 4 separate feasts, all from people trying to keep alive in their hearts the most genuine of our annual holidays, even if it would be with randos and not their families. I decided to celebrate right here on campus with the American faculty, and it looks like it’s going to be a gathering of a few dozen. We are all thankful of this nice calendar coincidence because we actually get a week long “Thanksgiving” vacation, just like we normally do.
Then, later tonight, I’m headed off to Istanbul, Turkey to meet up with one of my best friends from college, Sam Davies, and travel for a week. The flight was only $300 and will only take a little more than 2 hours – crazy! So to add to the irony and weirdness of this day living outside of the States, I’ll be ending my Turkey Day in Turkey. I’m thankful that I have this opportunity to live, teach and travel abroad, and I’m thankful for all my family and friends who won’t fade even though I’m 9,000 miles away.
Cheers, I’ll write again in a week…