A Christmas ago my sister and I flew to Istanbul to spend the holidays with our parents who were teaching there for the fall semester. It was the first time since my sister and I were children that we were in Turkey together as a family, and we spent it exploring parts of the city we’d never seen.
We marveled at the prevalence of shops dedicated to sequined, drag queen worthy gowns, in paradoxically, one of the most religious parts of town. We photographed shiny mosaics of Biblical scenes in the gilded Kariye Müzesi, and, en route, stopped for boza, a cinnamon dusted fermented millet and wheat beverage at the original place for it, Vefa Bozacı. At the suggestion of the owner, we bought roasted chickpeas to top our drinks from across the street, and when we returned, the teenage girls sitting across from us, assuming we couldn’t understand their Turkish, discussed how silly we looked, and rightly so, as we wondered what to do with our bag of chickpeas and our boza.