25 November 2010

A very happy Istanbulian Thanksgiving

Celebrating Turkey Day in Turkey, without a turkey. Sounds like a riddle, tastes like Wagamamas, and ends without feeling overly stuffed or even remotely satisfied from the experience. Physical cravings for needing to loosen my belt after three slices of pumpkin pie aside, so remains my gratitude. Today has been a wonderful day of reflection for me.

Sitting around the table with my girlfriends here in Istanbul for our little makeshift edamame-and-tofu themed Thanksgiving lunch at Wagamamas, I realized how many gifts I have been given in life to travel, to teach, to learn and to see things that many won't have the opportunity to see. I am thankful for this. These girls are amazing, exactly the company I should be keeping, girls who dream big, live large, and don't wear their fears on their sleeves. I know that we all look up to each other and rely on each other for support immensely. I am thankful for them. I realized how strong and courageous I really am, despite my weak moments, and I am thankful that at the end of each day, I know I can trust myself and my intuition to always make the right decisions and to guide me in the right direction. I thought about how hard it was for my family to see me go so far away, and especially so near the holiday season. I am thankful for their prayers and for their support in this trip. I am thankful for my friends back home who are just in their reminder that snowstorms blown out of proportion are not as romantic as I might think, and that I shouldn't always think the grass is always greener on the other side, especially when the other side boasts 60 degree weather on any given November evening.

I am dearly thankful for Aaron and his undying support while I undertake this little adventure, short from pushing me out the door when I had my doubtful moments about coming here, he has been there every step of the way, and always with useful tidbits of advice on things like which American swear words I should teach the kids first--suggesting I teach  the Biblical ones, stuff the four years olds can handle, before I move on to the "hard stuff," geared toward the 11 and 12 year old range.

So while I sit here in a skyping-frenzy, using up the last few hours of my mid-week off day to keep up with the ups and downs of the bummer of a blizzard that did not leave Salt Lake City in a post-apocalypic state that was the most anticipated event of the holiday weekend, and the progress of the hatchery-born turkey's roasting in every oven across America, I find myself thankful for even the small things, things I normally would cuss and pound my fists over in a catastrophic fit of injustices played upon me on any given weekday but today. Things like the hilariously over-dramatic Turkish TV dramas that run from 16:00-24:00 nightly that turn any sour mood of mine into a gleeful, giddy one. The kalamata olives and honeycomb I get to eat every morning on toast with Turkish tea for breakfast. The stray cat in the neighborhood that Mira and I have christened Alice who follows us around everywhere as we go about our daily walks to and from the park. The two ducks that look like Jemima Puddle Duck and the loner goose who live in the idyllic pond with willow trees providing fantastic hiding places for tea parties that is right in my backyard.

The understanding I come away with, as many celebraters do, as this Thanksgiving Day of 2010 comes to a close, is that there are many, many little things, each day, I should take the time to appreciate, to feel gratitude for, and the people in my life who deserve my vocal appreciation of them more than just during the holiday season. So to all my friends and family in Utah, New York, and scattered across the world, and all the turkey's who so courageously gave their lives for 20 USD or even 80 TL to the millions giving thanks during the festivities today via engorgement of the belly, mutlu bir gün seni dilerim, a happy day I wish you.

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