Holiday Wishes, Courtesy of Mac and Lilli

Author: Patrick Bredehoft

As we head into the holiday season, my wife Nancy (Penn Med, ’15) tends to get a little sentimental about our animals.

Mac, the cat, and Lilli, the dog, were both born in Turkey, and traveled back to America with my wife and me when we moved to Philadelphia three years ago.  In addition to being home to practicing Jews, Muslims, and Christians, Turkey is the home of Saint Nicholas, who is known today as Santa Claus.  A host of holidays are celebrated in Turkey: religious, cultural, and political.  As teachers at a small school outside of Istanbul, my wife and I introduced our students to some of our favorite holidays: Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas.  We also introduced them to the idea of keeping a dog and cat in our home (pets are far less common among most Turkish families).  Somewhere along the way, Mac and Lilli grew closer to one another, perhaps as a result of their own journeys halfway around the world.

Every holiday, Mac and Lilli remind us of an incredible range of experiences in a country we loved, even though it was very different from our own. They remind us that friendships emerge in unlikely places, and that love is a far more valuable occupation than judgment. They remind us of our families, both near and far, and of the innumerable blessings we enjoy.

May your holidays be wonderful, wherever they take you.  May you celebrate unlikely friendships.  May you be reminded of your blessings.


Mac (on the left) rules and Lilli (on the right) obeys.


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