I miss American Christmas stuff. As tacky as a lot of it is--read: George Michael's "Last Christmas" or cheap, fake greenery--it's a deeply embedded part of my Americanness. This year though, I'm experiencing a non-Christmas-celebrating culture.
|"Happy New Year" -- See what I mean?|
Well, kind of. Turkey doesn't want to commit to Christmas, especially here in Kayseri. Too Christian, I suppose. I understand and respect that. This is a Muslim country. In America, we don't do much for Ramadan or any Eid holiday. However, here in Kayseri, there is a strange mix of not wanting Christmas, and wanting just a little.
New Year's decorations often include a mysterious sleigh led by deer hovering in the background. Strings of tiny lights wrap pillars at the mall. Surprisingly, the bigger grocery stores stock a very modest collection of Christmas decorations. On our budget, I limited myself to a string of multi-colored lights and box of six assorted ornaments. Just a hint of Christmas this year.
Ok, so there I was, last weekend, the first week of December, missing my holiday season. Our Turkish teacher (also my colleague at school, and friend who plays volleyball) organized a trip downtown to a historic building where we could learn Ebru, the art of paper marbling.
|Hunat Hatun Medresesi|
|The Ebru Master and me|
|Trying my hand at Ebru|
Overall, life in Turkey is becoming richer every day. Developing friendships piece by piece, riding the ups and downs of teaching, learning more Turkish, trying more cultural things--this is the process of having a life here.
|Me, Justyna (awesome Polish friend), and Alan|