While we were in Germany, things didn't stop in Turkey. We knew that a few days after we got back from Germany, the Sacrifice Holiday (Bayram) would begin. I think of it as like a Islamic Thanksgiving. Traditionally, your family is supposed to buy a lamb (yup the whole thing!). You share it with your family, the poor and your neighbors. It started on Wednesday at sundown and went through the weekend. The big day, though, was Thursday, which was when the celebrations take place. We didn't plan any trips or anything since we had just gotten back and thought it would only be a day or two. When we left for Germany, people weren't even sure if they were going to get off for the holiday.
Mike scheduled meetings for school on Monday since it was to start the week after Bayram and we arranged to meet for my residence permit (everyone who lives here needs a residence permit, unless you have military orders like Mike) on Tuesday. We figured that if there was a holiday, it would be Wednesday and Thursday. We really didn't think there would be any sort of holiday or closures because there hadn't been any sort of celebration allowed all summer. Earlier in the summer, when it was the Turkish Independence Day, the president had cancelled any sort of celebrations because of all of the deaths in the southeast, so we figured this would be another holiday with cancelled celebrations.
Boy, were we wrong.
A week before the holiday, the president declared the entire week a holiday and said that government offices would be closed all week. At first, I don't think Mike and I believed it. We just couldn't grasp that the government could close for a week, much less close for a week with only a week's notice. Sure enough, though, that's what happened.
Mike went to talk to the University on Monday only to find out that they were closed and we found closed doors on Tuesday when we showed up to my residence permit appointment.
The whole week was pretty quiet outside. I looked out and the only store that was open on Wednesday was Starbucks (of course!). On Friday, we went to a movie, which had two other people in the theater (it was in English, so we didn't expect a huge crowd, but usually there are at least six or seven other people) and our walk to the theater was very quiet. Things picked up on the weekend and returned to normal, but it was definitely a quiet week.
We really haven't left the house much. Even the commissary was closed on Thursday since the majority of employees are Turkish. We've been doing a lot of reading, a lot of puzzling,
some gchatting with our favorite goddaughter,
|she's obviously just as thrilled as we are to see her|
and a LOT of freaking out over the Pope. Okay that was just me, but you would have thought there was a movie star or something by how excited I was (shoutout to Karen for gchatting with me and being equally as excited about all of this with me!).
It's definitely been an interesting, albeit frustrating at times, experience. Mike and I were trying to think of a time in other countries where the government would shut down for a week. There is speculation that when the Queen of England dies, the banks will close for a week. In the United States, the government shutdown of 2013 was probably the closest it would get. It's definitely different and not what we're used to, but I guess we'll figure it out.