People often ask what foods I miss from my home country. There are some I miss, such as Colorado’s green chili. However, after living in three different countries, the food I miss most may not come from my home country. . . which leads me to cherry juice.
When I lived in Turkey, I fell in love with vişne suyu, sour cherry juice. If you’ve tasted the Turkish version, you know it’s nothing like the cherry juice we can get in America. It’s tart, not sweet, and so refreshing. I was delighted when I moved to Morocco and discovered that a supermarket there often carried a brand imported from Turkey. Not always, so when I found it, I bought it.
Throughout my time in Morocco, I had a pretty steady supply of cherry juice. So, when I moved to Jordan, where it seems like half the brands on the grocery store shelves are Turkish, I looked forward to continuing to satisfy my cherry juice cravings.
Alas, in one of those mysteries of overseas life, the one Turkish item I rarely find in Jordan is cherry juice! Occasionally, I’ll stumble across a box in an unexpected place, like a small dukkan (a little local market) near my house. But I can go six months or more between cherry juice sightings. Whenever I find it, I buy it. . . and I savor every drop!
Cherry juice has taught me 3 life lessons:
- There’s a difference between what I want and what I need. I know I don’t need cherry juice. But sometimes, when I’m craving it, I start to lose perspective and begin to feel deprived. I have to stop and remember that I can always get fresh fruit or some flavor of juice, which is all that I need. I need to let go and keep something I’m missing from building into a desire that distracts me from contentment with what I have.
- There’s joy in not always being able to get what I want. There’s fun in the quest. Often when I’m out and about during the course of my work, I’ll stick my head in a shop, just to see if they have cherry juice. And when I find it, I rejoice! I savor it. I enjoy it even more now than when I lived in Turkey and could drink as much as I wanted. I have become more thankful for an unexpected good gift.
- My world keeps expanding. Before I lived in Turkey, I could have cared less about cherry juice. Rather, when I first went overseas, I had a list of items I craved from my home country. Then I discovered new foods, new customs, and new people that became important to me. While this means whenever I move to a new place, there is more I miss from my previous homes, it has also opened my world in ways I never expected.
Cherry juice reminds me of my growing appreciation for the variety of good gifts found in every corner of our world.
What is your cherry juice?
About the Author: Libby is an IDEAS Associate and professional librarian. She currently resides in Jordan and works with libraries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Enjoy other blogs by Libby, such as Work in the Time of Corona.