The Borderlands Lodge 2014 Year in Review

December 31, 2014

In many ways, 2014 was a terrible year for the world. Up at the Borderlands Lodge, however, it wasn't so bad. Actually, it was a really good year in some ways, even as I empathize with those who've been through tough times lately.  

With this in mind, here are the top events that took up the attention of the Borderlands Lodge in 2014. These are not in any particular order of importance--some of these developments are of concern to the world, others are mainly of interest to me personally. Rather, these are the things that, five years from now, I think I'll most likely remember about this year.  

Christmas in Turkey

December 25, 2014

Back when I lived in Istanbul in the 1990s, I used to love the anonymity of Christmas in Turkey. Perhaps not surprisingly, few people celebrate the holiday--about 99% of the country is Muslim, while many of the Greeks and Armenians in Turkey observe Christmas in January. In fact, most of the people that I knew in Turkey didn't realize that Christmas was December 25th. They knew that Christmas existed, but thought it was January 1. 

So, Christmas Day is pretty much an ordinary work day. That's okay, though. Indeed, because Santa Claus and a lot of other Christmas themed-stuff has been appropriated into New Year's celebrations in Turkey, I still saw a lot of familiar-looking decorations during those years. Even the plainclothes police get in on the act in Turkey.

Dreaming in Ottoman

Saturday, December 13, 2014

I was at the Apple Store recently to get the battery on my Mac replaced. Apparently, if you burn the Mac for 18 hours a day for months on end, certain parts begin to wear down. I guess that's something to keep in mind for my advancing old age. 

While I was at the store, I mentioned that I work on Turkey (naturally, I was selling copies of Turks Across Empires out of the back of my car in the parking lot of the mall). It turns out that one of the employees of the Apple Store was a Turkish guy from Istanbul, who was dutifully marched out to meet and converse with me. When I told him I worked on Ottoman history, he jokingly asked me if I was planning on returning to Turkey to work as a language teacher. 

Turks Across Empires: Excerpt

Wednesday, December 3

These have been exciting times up here at the Borderlands Lodge. As I mentioned in my post from the other day, I spent the days before Thanksgiving attending conferences in San Antonio and Washington, DC, and had the good fortune to finally hold my book in my hands! It was a lot of fun, and a day that I wasn't always sure I would manage to see. 

The book is on sale on the website of Oxford University Press and Amazon, and should begin to crop up in other places, too. It's quite expensive right now, as it's a hardcover, but hopefully the hardcovers will sell out and the book will go into paper production, which will end up being cheaper. So---be sure to recommend the book to your local library, for now. Later, you can buy the paperback yourself.