Sunday, July 3, 2016
Some missionaries don't find maintaining traditions important, and some, like me, do. Some people in the States don't have family traditions, and some do. It's not a "bad" thing, it just an "is" thing. And that's okay. For me, it was important to maintain tradition so we knew that no matter where we were, there were going to be some things that were always going to be the same. When we were in Honduras, and we organized summer teams I told Mike that I never wanted teams on the 4th of July week. It was just too important to me, and I wanted to celebrate. You may think that having a team there, which means more North-Americans is a great way to celebrate - but for us it involved hosting the team, which is fantastic but takes a lot of work which meant less focus on a chance to celebrate the holiday.
Between the time we spent in Costa Rica in language school, many gatherings of other ex-patriots, I looked around me and realized that a lot of the missionary kids didn't know the National Anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance, and some basic U.S. History, I wanted to make sure that Madison did. We were in Honduras, after all, they teach Honduran history, not U.S. history - so unless I taught it to Madison, she wasn't going to learn it.
I was committed to this date, wanted to make sure that Madison had a good understanding of her U.S. heritage, and so I hosted a BBQ each year - and those that wanted to come could come. In Honduras, that meant that lots of North-Americans, along with our Honduran friends would celebrate, fire fireworks when we had them, throw a foot ball around, and enjoy the day.
Now we find ourselves in Africa. Currently, our team mates are on a mini-furlough in the U.S. There are two other, single, North-American missionaries near-by. In addition, our neighbors consist of Mexicans, a Costa Rican, a Chilean, and of course Equatorial Guineans. So...looks like our 4th of July luncheon is going to be in international event indeed! I'm making sliders, apple pie (if I can find enough apples), and we even purchased some party poppers to end the festivities.
Decorating has always been an outlet for me. It's a way of maintaining some "norms" no matter what country we are in, or what holiday we are celebrating. Can't find many Thanksgiving decorations outside of the U.S., no Valentine's decorations, and certainly not 4th of July decorations - so I brought a few with me. Not much, I had to pack light...but a few came with me. So, it makes me happy, and I will continue on with our family traditions, regardless of what country we currently call home.