Today is the American holiday of Thanksgiving, my favorite of my country's holidays. This year I am thankful for something quite specific, something I have alluded to on previous Thanksgivings but haven't been able to articulate until now.
I have seen some of the suffering that goes on in the world and today I am thankful that my problems and struggles pale in comparison to some of the world's bigger problems. I am more cognizant than ever that my strifes are all first-world, middle-class, bourgeoise problems.
The universe has been very good to me, and today I am incredibly grateful for that. I am doing ok, in fact, better than ok. I am doing very well. I have a job, a nice place to live, friends who cherish me, a husband who adores me, and an entire family that loves me.
Istanbul, much like life itself, is full of layers. I live in a very small sliver of a layer, one that includes such middle-class concerns as ripped tights and late airplanes and cleaning ladies and Starbucks coffees.
But all around me are signs of other layers, some so small you'd miss them if you weren't really looking. There's a woman on the street with a black eye. There's a man talking gibberish to himself while shaking a plastic cup on a street corner. There's a little girl weaving in and out of traffic trying to sell flowers as drivers pretend not to see her.
I don't know who creates the dividing line between the haves and the have-nots. I don't know who decides who suffers in one way and who suffers in quite another.
But I know that I have been blessed by someone -- by the universe, by chance, by evolution, by something -- to be where I am today because I certainly didn't get here by myself.
And I am very thankful for that.