Celebrating major American holidays and living in Madagascar somehow just don’t go together very well… or maybe we just haven’t found our groove with them just yet. In fact, the last 4 holidays we’ve celebrated in Madagascar have been doozies… starting with Christmas, then New Year’s, Halloween and most recently, Thanksgiving. Some more have been doozier than others.
Christmas of 2011 was bad, real bad. Looking back, it’s still bad but at least now it’s also comical. It was our first Christmas as a family in Madagascar. Our first Christmas to not spend with others. It was hot… as I recall it was the hottest day of the season. I made lasagna the day before. We opened Christmas presents and the kids were happy. Jamie opened his present from me… a plant. Yeah, not what I really wanted to give him but alas without other options, he got a plant. And a pot. I opened my present from him. We both, Jamie and I, started crying. Later, as we were getting ready to have Christmas dinner, sweat dripping, grumpy, ready for the day to be over, we had the novel idea of keeping with the most-non-traditional-Christmas we’d ever had by eating dinner in our bedroom with the A/C and fan on while watching the movie Elf on our computer. Quite pathetic. We did keep with our family tradition of baking a Jesus cake though… lighting candles, singing Happy Birthday, the works. The said chocolate cake totally flopped. Yeah, looking back we definitely focused more on ourselves than on Jesus and with that, the day was just like our cake… a sad, hopefully non-repeater flop of a day. And definitely comical nearly a year later.
I’ll spare you the details of New Year’s but it was a bit of a bust too after a hard Christmas day and celebrating Jamie’s birthday 3 days later.
Halloween wasn’t a complete doozy. The benefits of living in a country where there is no American festivities around helps when you don’t actually dress up and trick-or-treat on Halloween but rather on November 1st. Jamie was out of town for work and returned a day later than planned because his flight was bumped up and he was notified 6 hours after the flight actually left! This then put our plans a day behind as well. There’s a great little resort 25 km north of us called Antsanitia. We desperately needed to reconnect as a family so we took the kid’s halloween costumes, bought and brought the candy and loaded up the car for a 2-night getaway. When we arrived, Jamie passed out the kids candy to the staff of the hotel, all of whom we’ve come to know, which in turn passed it out to our kids. A bit different but the improvising seemed to work for the little ones.
And so that brings us up to speed until this most recent holiday… Thanksgiving. This was in fact, the dooziest of them all. We had arranged for some WorldVenture office meetings to take place the same week of Thanksgiving so that we could celebrate T-Day with our friends and co-workers from the capital city. On Tuesday afternoon I started to get sick. The sickness worsened and continued… continued and worsened and on and on. There were going to be two cooks for our Thanksgiving dinner… one of them was me who was sick in bed with a raging fever and the other, a fellow American who was tending to her sick child who had tonsilitis. In the end, Thanksgiving dinner at our place for 14 was cancelled. The healthy ones met at a restaurant on the beach and enjoyed French/Malagasy cuisine while Isabella (who was also fighting something) and I stayed home and had a Thanksgiving dinner of scrambled eggs and toast. Definite doozy.
Here’s hoping for a doozy-free Christmas and New Years in the weeks to come!
Feeling your pain! Wish I could make it all better. Love, Mom
If only we could remember to laugh when “doozy’s” are occurring and not wait until the next year 🙂
Your stories reminded me of when I was in Africa and it was my first Christmas away from home and my family. My friend Mike and I were camping and on a strict budget. We felt so fortunate to be able to splurge on a box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes for our Christmas dinner. I missed my family tremendously and found such comfort in a simple cereal that reminded my of home.
Thanks for a good laugh, but sorry for your sickness and disappointment. It is so hard not to have certain expectations about holidays, even when we tell ourselves not too! Forging new traditions to accomodate your reality will likely take years but will be worth the tears and heartache when you come through the other side with a whole new understanding and appreciation for holidays – a time to be together and celebrate the goodness of life God’s given us! I would love to know what Jamie gave you . . . 😉
I hear you, friend! We moved houses 3 days before our first Christmas, and I was so stressed out by trying to still make it the perfect event for our kids that I bombed it all…the lemon pie didn’t set, the rolls burned, the fudge (made to be a gift) reliquidated on the plate. I ended up sitting on the kitchen floor, holding my burned rolls, crying!!!! Then Ethan lost the house keys in our friend’s yard and it took 3 hours of searching long grass with headlamps to find them. As we were driving home, Chad said, “That was the worst Christmas ever…at least we have left-over chocolate pie.” Then Ethan stood up to get out of the car, and stepped right in the middle of only redeaming factor of the day (aka, the chocolate pie)! While memories of that day still make me laugh…I was NOT laughing then!!! Sorry your T-giving was so rough this year. Holidays take so much more work out here, it just doens’t seem fair for it to not work out! Glad you’re doing better and here’s to a better Christmas!
Alissa Great letter to us all. Love the pica. of the kids. Glad your felling better. I hope Christmas is a non dozzy this year & looking forward to have all of you home for Christmas 2013. It will be aGREAT time together! Love Dad !!!