Monday, 5 November 2012

Holiday Jealousy

Today, I’m going to rant. Today, I’m going to moan. Today, I’m going to ask for all of your sympathy. Today, I’m going to tear apart every American holiday!!!

Don’t get your panties in a bunch here. Stick with me!

If you didn’t know, I live in South Africa (jeeze why aren’t you with the picture yet??!!) Here we have lots of public holidays which are really just great excuses created by a government, who believes that a 15 minute tea break means 30 minutes, to give us more days off work…PAID! Oh it is lovely. Of those public holidays I believe that we celebrate Easter and Christmas with America. The other 3 holidays which were what my calendar revolved around as a child are NON EXISTENT. This I am very upset about. For this I get very heartbroken. And for this I am VERY jealous when I read all of the great food, clothing, and decorating ideas that come across ALL of the blogs I read!

Aren’t you even slightly concerned for my mental health? You all are killing me! You have no concern for the better of your fellow Americans living abroad! RAWR! (Sorry I really do love all of you!)

We will start with the most recently past holiday…Halloween! As a child I could not understand why on such an important day we were in school! Have any of your children professed the same confusion? I’m sure they have! It is a logic beyond a young minds comprehension. Halloween is just as important as our own birthday. I never knew the logistics or the background of it growing up as I did the other holidays. For me it was always about the costume (which is exactly the same as dress up play!) and the free candy! Candy is also just as good presents when you are 6! What also surpassed my logic well until the first Halloween rolled around in South Africa was that this IS NOT a holiday celebrated world wide. In fact, most don’t even consider it a holiday! It is a random day chosen to give permission to be someone your not and get away with antics you would never attempt in your work clothing! Why in the world would people not understand how important this is to human sanity???!?

South Africa is starting to come around and I’ll be damned (oh that’s right…DAMNED) if my children will miss this lovely excuse for CrAziNess their entire lives! Somehow, my small farming town in no where South Africa will realize the joys of this day. (Especially the moms who can get away with not dressing up but still getting chocolate by explaining to their children that parents must test the candy to make sure there isn’t anything dangerous! Oh my mom was clever!) I am getting involved and will be that crazy American woman who plans a Halloween party “for her kids” every year but actually just wants to give herself the prize for best costume in the adult category! (I may be quite a small girl but for this mom of two I automatically disqualify you if you are dressed as a slutty/exotic ANYTHING….can I hire a bouncer?)….

Ideas welcome for Halloween hits South Africa 2013!!!

The next holiday that I am sick to my stomach over is…duh duh duh…THANKSGIVING!! I have nothing to give thanks for on the last Thursday in November as no one here understand what the flip I’m talking about! (Okay I'm still thankful for so much in my life and will WILL {double promise will} write a post before Thanksgiving to fall into theme!) Nor do they understand that it is like an American tradition to have such a big dinner! No a BRAAI DOESN’T COUNT! We need a turkey that has been stuffed, the potatoes AND sweet potatoes. We need corn and rolls, and cranberry sauce, and beans, and all the ‘fixins’ (also explaining to South Africans why most Americans don’t actually say a g is tiring too!) I want a table that seats the whole family! I NEED to watch the Macy’s day parade (even if it is 4pm here and I’m watching via internet!). It is not just another excuse to put our crazy families together in one house for an entire day and see if Grandma White and Grandma Gray can agree on the texture of the mash while the men scream at the football! It is not an attempt to see if we will all emerge unscathed!

This was a day where we all were together. Yea, the kids fought, the men lounged, and the women ‘slaved’ away over the perfect dinner. You looked forward to your Aunts famous Pumpkin pie and your Grandmothers perfected baked beans. We all have that one special dish that we craved all year round but is only made on these special days!

I’ve started stock piling articles and ideas for how to teach my children about Thanksgiving. I feel that they are American too even though we live here. They need to know about the pilgrims and the Indians. They need to know about the history. They need to know about that silly looking cornucopia in the middle of the table and how peace was achievable (however short lived!). I believe that I am one of maybe a handful celebrating this beloved holiday across the world….but heck I can’t sit drooling over your pictures of dinner for the rest of my life now can I!?!?! (My biggest concern is how do I cook that much all on my own….my boys have to learn to cook and fast!)

The last holiday that is absolutely heartbreaking that I cannot celebrate is…..FOURTH OF JULY (hear Katy Perry’s Firework playing in the background…oh yea!) Try explaining that this is more than just a BBQ to a South African (Oh heck try explaining that a Braai and a BBQ are the same thing and that we don’t just grill hot dogs and hamburgers but steaks, and pork chops and just about anything else we think we can pull off!!)

One would think that a country who also fought off the British to gain freedom would understand the importance of such a day! You would think they would also bear pride in having a day that they could throw everything off, have bottle rocket wars, and shot the national anthem at the top of their lungs. But sadly…no. This country is lost at the concept of our grand firework displays, our 10 foot Uncle Sam’s on stilts, or the parades!

I miss trying to schedule the whole week to squeeze in as many firework shows as possible, meticulously planning what small towns are having their parades and when as to make sure I get to see them all! I miss the excitement as you lay out all the fireworks you’ve accumulated and debating the order in which they’re going to be lit (only to have, as it never fails, a mishap…like when your grandfather lays his lit lighter stick next to the box holding the grand finale and everything ignites…..or when someone gets a clever idea to string the poppers through the apple tree!!)

I miss the feeling that summer was finally in full swing as we rapidly approach the beginning of a new school year. I miss being proud to be an American and the pride that emanates from everyone you pass that day! Old Navy’s flag shits!!

Oh, in reality, I love South Africa. I truly do. I’m glad I live here and am proud of all this country has overcome in the last 100 years. I just can’t turn off the fact that I am American and I don’t want to! I love these holidays and the silly traditions that come with them. I miss the apple pies and down home country feel. I miss the American pride and attitude that the people in this country can’t understand and I can’t describe to someone who hasn’t felt it!

I want to incorporate our own traditions into the lives of my children in hopes to keep some of this
American-ness alive. I hope that they will one day get a chance to experience each of these holidays in the States so that they can understand these wacky ideas that come from their mother (who is creeping out their friends with spiderwebs in October and turkeys made from construction paper in November!).

I hope that as time goes by I won’t want to quit following all of you every year as you RUB IT IN MY FACE the joyous times you are having during the best holidays EVER created!! Just kidding!



  1. This made me cry, and feel a little bad for not appreciating things more! You should absolutely share your holiday traditions in South Africa!

    1. Shame!! I never mean to make anyone feel bad....well I take that back. (shh ;-]) But I swear it wasn't my intention with this post! But yes I only realized how much I took for granted when I left! I am definetly sharing my traditions now!




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