I coped a lot better than I thought I would with being away from my family for the holidays. I worked on christmas eve, christmas, and new years eve; I had a roommate who yelled at me to turn off my christmas carols, and refused to turn on the heat in our house all season; and I didn’t receive any christmas presents. But I did watch Elf, and I went to some nice parties with new foreign friends who were also missing home. And I made them a batch of my family’s traditional broccoli cheese casserole, which was a great success.
One thing I found amusing was that New Years Eve in Turkey kind of resembles Halloween in the US. Not in terms of the costumes, but in terms of the behavior. One night of the year where you can excuse yourself for being obnoxious, drunk, and doing inappropriate things to people in the street. I was warned not to go out on New Years Eve; I heard horror stories of 15 men surrounding a woman and groping/raping her, people being stabbed, and other less extreme cases; but the bottom line was that people were pouring into Istanbul from remote parts of Turkey; some may have never seen a foreign girl before. Therefore, they were somehow “excused” for going crazy.
I saw some pretty funny behavior, and luckily nothing too menacing. At 5 pm as I was walking home from work, and there was already a drunk man swerving the sidewalks, leering at me as I neared him. This kind of stuff continued to happen all night, but luckily I had a house party to attend, and the times when I went outside, I was surrounded by friends. Police were swarming the more touristy areas. But hey, nothing too majorly bad appeared on the news this year, and we welcomed 2013!