Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

The hardest holiday

Easter is the hardest holiday to celebrate around here. It faces the uphill battle of 1) being a Christian holiday in a Muslim country, that is 2) held on the Western Christian Sabbath (Sunday), which is a work day here. I forgot it even was Easter until about the day before. Yesterday - Easter itself - I made a last-minute trip to Spinney's in Mirdif to get something special for the girls for the holiday. The selection was very poor, though - hollow chocolate rabbits missing most of the foil covering; über-expensive dark chocolate eggs; smashed-in boxes of truffles. From that miserable pile, I salvaged two Lindt chocolate hens wrapped in shiny, colored foil - one for each girl. I gave the hens to the girls after school. Because Easter is a school day here. I felt like Ma Ingalls in the wilderness, handing over a single stick of peppermint candy to Mary and Laura for Christmas.

Fortunately, a neighbor held an Easter activity afternoon with egg-and-spoon races and even an Easter Egg hunt. Later, as a family, we watched a few Easter videos on Sterling had a doctor appointment in the evening. To spend more time as a family (really), all five of us went, together. We received our most sincere Easter greetings of the day from the Muslim receptionist who wished us Happy Eid (holiday) and talked with me about how it can be hard to be apart from our extended families on such holidays.

It wasn't until we moved here that I realized how much I drew upon the public consciousness of certain holidays in my own celebrating of them. It's easy to remember that Easter is approaching when the dollar section of Target is overflowing with that plastic green grass, plastic eggs, and wicker baskets. Last year we were in Germany for Easter, and public awareness of the holiday was in overdrive - the whole country shut down for a few days of celebration, town squares were decorated with Easter eggs, etc. Furthermore, if you celebrate the religious aspect of Easter, you can count on Easter Sunday being a day off from work, a day to dress up in your finest and take pictures of the family. We did have an Easter program at church on Friday, which was nice. But it wasn't Easter itself, so I didn't think to take nice pictures or sit down with the kids to talk about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I think in future years, we should consider holding our own religious Easter observance on Good Friday, our Sabbath. Then I can not worry that we're missing Easter when Sunday itself comes around with all of its busy work/school-day distractions.

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From fear to love