Banana Cake and Berlin

My roommate’s dad is very sweet to us and since he knows I like bananas, he is always bringing me some. The problem is that they usually go bad before I can eat them. The easy American fix for this is banana bread. However, I didn’t realize this was an American fix (or maybe it’s just not a Turkish one–I haven’t quite figured it out yet) until I made some the other day. In fact, since there were so many bananas, I made two batches and decided to share most of them. When I took some down to the family I tutor for, she looked confused as to what it actually was.

“Mus ekmek,” I explain, which is the best I can do. It’s literally banana and bread, but with all the suffixes in Turkish, I have no idea if it’s right.

Mmm, banana cake sprinkled with brown sugar.

“Bread? Is this not a cake?”

Well, no. In English, we call this bread. But if you look at it, it does contain a different consistency than most regular breads. It shares a closer consistency to cake in my opinion and it is sweeter, but hadn’t thought of it until she actually pointed it out. Which, if it were bread would make it some form of Mus Pasta, as pasta in Turkish is actually cake. I know, I was confused too.

Either way, the smell of it baking reminded me of home and if I were in the States, I would be stuffing my face next Thursday with Thanksgiving foods. And for the record, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Ever. Who doesn’t love a holiday that centers around food? Alas, I will not be home for Thanksgiving this year, but I will be in Berlin with a friend from the States. So it will be fun to see how we can celebrate it together in a country that doesn’t celebrate it. Maybe we’ll have some mus pasta.

People Watching

Thanksgiving is, by far, one of my favorite holidays. What Jewish person doesn’t love a holiday with food and good company? This Thanksgiving I went home for a week and it was a fantastic break. I got to see the family, realize that my brother is now too cool for me (though somehow his friends are not), make delicious foods, and do a bit of non-crazed Black Friday shopping (thank you American marketing ploys) to get a bit of holiday shopping done. At the crack of dawn, I have to fly back to Colorado and resume normal life minus the 2,000 calorie meals (not counting the pumpkin pie). It’s a sad day in paradise.

But since my flight is so early, I get to sit at the airport for a few hours.  One of my favorite monologues is the introduction to Love Actually. (For those of you who don’t know this monologue, I have posted it in the Quotes section, but go Netflix the movie ASAP). It’s about the people you see in the airport–the relationships that take place. The reason I love this quote so much is because this is exactly what I do in an airport…

I creep.

I am a self-proclaimed people-watcher and the airport is the best place to do this. There are so many people of such diverse backgrounds coming together, briefly, in a single instant to reach a common destination. For some reason, the overall concept of an airport is incredible to me. People are coming and going, meeting or leaving, or not really sure where they’re going or what’s ahead. They travel by themselves, with others, or with newly found friends.

And for each of them, I make stories. Greg is on his way back from Iraq and has a layover before he can continue to New York to see his wife and newborn son. Sameera is on break from college and though she wouldn’t admit it to her parents, she’s homesick and ready to be with family for a little while. Hugh, with his guitar and long hair, is on probably teh fifth leg of his adventure and is trying to figure out if anyone will actually be able to pick him up from the airport. John shows his daughter, Emily, how the traffic controllers help the planes (magic, of course) so that she won’t be so nervous on her first flight.

When I think about it, it’s a humbling experience to know that there are personal details of millions of people–people with whom I have never met and will never come in contact with again. Their lives, whether I make it up or am actually right, will continue once we leave the gate after our final destination and continue on our seperate ways–not another thought to what might happen to others.