The other night, I went over to my Turkish friends’ apartment for card playing…UNO card playing that is. My foreign friends here think that UNO is the best game ever invented and often ask me when’s the next time we can play. It’s pretty interesting to me because if I were living in the states, and I invited some friends over to play UNO, I don’t think they would come. But here, UNO always meets with cheer and exclamation points. So anyways, I went over to my friends’ apartment and took the UNO cards, some hot chocolate packets, and half a bag of snickers. As I took out each item from my bag, their eyes got bigger and bigger. They were so excited by the hot chocolate, candy bars, and of course, the chance to play UNO. In addition, I also took them some books that my American team-mate was lending to them. Can you imagine their delight? My dear Turkish friend, Minaya, told me that I was like Santa Claus coming with a bag full of all these gifts. My heart felt light that something so simple could bring so much joy, but I made sure to mention that all these things were not actually from me, but gifts from other people that I got to share.
The actual card playing was also a lot of fun. Their room-mate, a Korean student also studying Chinese, joined in the festivities. He is funny in and of himself, so explaining to him how to play UNO was also entertaining. Whenever he laid down that second to last card, he did it with a swift motion, and a loud, brisk “UNO,” and then broke out into a huge smile. I never would have thought that playing UNO and drinking hot chocolate with mid-20 year old friends could be oh so fun.