Do you remember: when was the first time you got drunk?
According to my parents, for me it was the New Year's Eve of 1992, when I was 7. They claim one or two glasses of drinks must have slipped away by me from the very well laid dinner table that we had in our Salon, that was carefully prepared for that day for our big family that were visiting; that was full of delicious food, including all sorts of mezze and a nicely roasted turkey.
I do not remember this New Years' Eve as me being drunk though. I remember it as me being very very happy. And the reason wasn't alcohol.
Growing up I didn't actually know that the Christmas was a separate thing that the Christians celebrate, apart from New Year's. This might be due to the fact that Turkey imported a little bit of Christmas culture, a little bit of New Year's Eve and Thanksgiving traditions, combined them all together into a single New Year's Eve celebrations, with a belly dancer on a national television channel being the highlight of the night. An ornamented Christmas tree with all sorts of presents underneath was something not yet an integrated part of the culture but only was to be seen on TV. To me, it was magical.
For that New Year's Eve, my oldest sister who was going to the University at the time came from Ankara to celebrate with us. Being already thrilled about this, there was another thing that completely took my feet off the ground:
She brought with her a plastic Christmas tree, bigger than my size at the time, together with all the ornaments and lights to put on.
Where did she find it? In those times there was no Christmas tree - and I am talking about plastic ones - being sold at the stores like today.
Was Ankara much bigger than Antalya? Must be.
We went out during the day to get presents to put under the tree. That Christmas tree became an anchor of that day, engraving all the excitement to me deeply. I was happy, drunk, 7 on that New Year's Eve.
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