Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Seaside Bride

My son and his wife married in April, on a beautiful white sand beach in Florida. Between trips back to be with my parents, I made a wedding quilt for them. This pattern is very difficult. All the pieces are curved, and putting them together requires focus and perserverance. Aaaarrrggghhhh!

The main fabric is not white – it is a white sand color, with seashells! All the colors are the colors from the beach on that beautiful wedding day. And it was finished just in time for Christmas, alhamdallah!

December 26, 2006 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Christmas, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Photos | 10 Comments

Chinese New Year’s

Today I am busy packing for my upcoming trip back for my father’s services, and taking down the Christmas decorations. Why now? I won’t be back until after New Year’s, and I don’t want to have to face it all then.

My son and his wife left late last night, and will be meeting up with me again later this week. As soon as they left, I stripped the bed, threw the sheets in the wash, started taking down the tree. My method of coping with grief is to stay busy.

But I also have another agenda. And I am going to tell you something that may change your life, as it changed mine. So if you are very very happy with your life right now, stop reading NOW. It’s a Locard Principle kind of thing – if you read this, it will leave a trace on you. OK. You’ve been warned.

I have a very good friend, an amazing woman. She was born in Hong Kong, into a wealthy family, and married an American. Not only was he American, but he was in the Navy, and he was a Mormon. So she had to learn three cultures at once – American, Navy/military, and a new religious culture. I tell her I am amazed that she survived; that is a lot of new information and new ways of doing things to do all at once.

Who knows why people become friends? All I know is that friends like this, you keep. From the beginning, we were like sisters. For all our differences, we never had a problem making conversation – we both liked investing, and we talked money, real-estate, stocks endlessly. And we had sons the same age who became – and still are – best friends.

We settled in the same area, and while I am living in Kuwait, she has visited my parents, called them, and frequently sat with my Dad while he was recouperating from his latest debility. She would take him flowers from her own garden, and magazines, and keep him distracted. She has been a blessing to us all.

Several years ago, in one of our conversations, she told me about Chinese New Year. When the New Year comes, your house must be sparkling clean, your bills must all be paid, and you must have money in your pocket, food in the refrigerator, and friends in the house. The way you start your New Year is the way your new year will be. So if you want order and prosperity, you have to be prepared.

I’m not Chinese. I’m not superstitious. And what if she’s right?

Every year, I have to have the tree down and everything put away by New Years. (Traditionally, the tree can stay up until the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6th, when the Wise Men come to visit the Christ child, and should be taken down the next day. Especially when using live trees, you want to anyway, as the tree is dried out, all the needles are dropping and it becomes a fire hazard.)

What if the Chinese are right? I make sure all my bills are paid, and I pay a little extra on the mortgage. I make sure we have money in our pockets, and plans with friends that include good food.

I’m not Chinese. I am not superstitious. But why take chances?

From time to time I think about NOT having everything done by New Year’s, but if I try that, I get too nervous and end up having to do it all on the last day of the year. My friend says you do NOT want to start the New Year cleaning your house!

She told me. I just told you . . . are you starting to get nervous? (wicked gleam)

December 26, 2006 Posted by | Christmas, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Locard Exchange Principal, Relationships, Travel | 3 Comments