This week's FS weekly roundup theme is traditions. Traditions are the glue that holds our family together. The trouble with life in the foreign service it can make traditions hard to maintain since you never know where you will be living in a year or so.
When we lived in the states before David decided to launch our family on this around the world adventure, we had a host of family traditions. This time of year we would go to the pumpkin patch at the Methodist church up the road from our house, I have picture of each boy as a tiny baby propped up in the pumpkin patch looking oh so cute. When the leaves started to change in November we would go hiking at Lost Maples State Park to see the fall leaves. At Thanksgiving we would head to my Uncle Tommy's house for the big family Thanksgiving. A few days after Thanksgiving we would drive to the same tree farm every year to choose and cut our tree for Christmas. There were traditions for each holiday, events that marked the passage of the year.
You can't maintain these kind of traditions when you decide to live your life in a progression of countries across multiple continents. Instead you develop other kinds of traditions. Traditions that are more portable and not tied to a particular place.
It shouldn't surprise anyone who knows me that many of our current traditions revolve around food. Some traditions are annual events, like making tamales for Christmas. I used to make Dave get up very early in mid December and go stand in line at Ruben's Tamales on the south side to get our tamales for Christmas Eve. If you are from South Texas you probably eat Tamales at Christmas time and Ruben's are the best in San Antonio. There is no Ruben's in Lilongwe (or Frankfurt or Jakarta for that matter) so now I make my own. They are pretty good, not as good as Ruben's but a whole lot better than no tamales. Thank goodness for the internet, I can order all the tamale making supplies I need.
Other traditions are weekly. Monday night is soup night. I am sick of this one but when I tried to do away with it due to the fact it is HOT here there was protests so I am still making soup every week. Wednesday is dessert night, and Friday is movie night. Actually Saturday has become movie night because Friday night here in Lilongwe means softball at the school followed by volleyball at the shack. You have to be flexible in this life, but it's the small traditions that mark our week help make a new place seem like home just a little faster. It helps our kids understand that even though where we live may change, somethings stay constant no matter where we live.