Christmas Countdown: How things have changed in Turkey
This is our 9th Christmas to live in Turkey. When we first moved here, so many things were different than they are now. We were just laughing with some friends the other night who have been here as long as we have, about the "old airport." I'll never forget flying straight from Singapore (which won "Airport of the Year" almost yearly...with its hanging bougainvillea and water fountains) to the Ankara airport. It was so basic and so old, I turned to CC upon our arrival and said, "What happened? Are we in Mexico?" But there's a new airport now, and as beautiful as it is, there are times I miss the old. Another big change is that when we moved here, there was NO Christmas anywhere. We had to buy our Christmas tree at the end of December, as the Turks use it to celebrate New Year's Day. (I secretly suspect they all want to celebrate Christmas, but just can't bring themselves to admit it!) But year after year, we have seen more and more trees shining through apartment windows early in December, more and more decorations at malls, more and more Santas selling lottery tickets. And then the other day, CC looked out our window and saw this... a Santa trying to crawl into an apartment balcony! Hang on, Santa, it's been windy this week! And this year, I decided rather than wishing Turks a "Happy New Year!," I am saying, "Happy Christmas!" (in Turkish) in hopes they'll want to know more about why we celebrate.