Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Americans eat turkey?

In class on Tuesday, I showed some of my students photos of my life- of Egypt, Israel, of my family, friends and places that are important to me, and had them ask questions. One of the photos was of my family on Thanksgiving; sitting around my mothers perfectly prepared table, with platters of food stretching from one end to the other, and a huge Turkey plopped right in the middle. My students curiously inquired, "hoca(teacher), what is that?" I replied, "Oh this is a famous American holiday. A special part is that we eat Turkeys on Thanksgiving." My students literally said nothing. Confused expressions instantly dawned their faces. "Hoca?" Searching for a delicate way to explain why we call turkeys, turkeys, I couldn't help but giggle. In Turkey, they call turkeys hindi. Hindistan is the Turkish word for India. So, in essence, our word for turkeys (and the meaning behind the holiday- cooperation of the settlers and the Indians) is their word for Indians. Half-way across the world, I sat pondering the irony.
English & Turkish Words 
Please, dear bloggers, see the ironic twist in this. How very culturally inappropriate, right? The Turks name for turkey is their name for Indian- where in fact we get the essence of our holiday(cooperation with the Indians[native Americans])- that we center around turkeys.After explaining the distinctions to my class, they burst out laughing. No shocker there. I can't wait for my second Thanksgiving in Turkey (the country). The first was rather anti-climatic in terms of turkey eating, but it sure was unforgettable. To read about it, Hoo-boy. Today is Wednesday, my day off, in the middle of the week, and I am off to purchase some bus tickets for my trip to Yalova/Istanbul this weekend and attempt to find a few sorely needed household items. Can't wait!

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