Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Last week I tried to get a post up about all my hospital visits. I ran out of time. It is still sitting in draft form in my computer. And now, I'm pretty much sick of thinking about being sick or hospitals or the like, so I'm not going to post it!
But I am, by the way, feeling much better! Thanks for asking :)
Now, on with life!
This is my favorite time of the year!

I must be honest. When we first moved to Ghana, this time of the year was my absolute hardest. I and my husband are originally from Michigan -- the Great Frozen North. We always had to wear winter coats over our costumes when we went trick-or-treating. The first day of deer season was frigid, and if there wasn't snow on the ground at Thanksgiving, then something didn't seem quite right.
Enter the move to a country on the Equator. Not only is Ghana on the Equator, but because of our seasons -- Rainy and Dry -- this time of the year is the hottest.
We originally moved to Ghana the end of August of 2003. The weather wasn't too difficult to adjust to at first. We were leaving Michigan at the hottest time of the year and coming to Ghana when it was pretty warm. It was summertime in the States and "summertime" in Ghana. Lots of sunshine in Michigan and lots of sunshine in Ghana. Piece of cake, or so I thought.
September passed and even though it was a little warmer than the summers I knew, it still wasn't too different, kind of like Indian Summer. I was still doing okay until the day I received a package in the mail with Candy Corn inside. Candy Corn!?! It was still summer in my book! Who can eat Candy Corn when it's hot? I decided that people in the States must be getting ahead of themselves. I put the Candy Corn away for later when it was closer to Autumn and trick-or-treat time. The closer we got to the end of October, though, the more agitated I got. Where were the leaves to crunch through and jump in? Where were the cool breezes? Where were the pumpkins? the scarecrows? the corn shocks? AAAAAAHHHHHH! Where was I? What kind of crazy place doesn't celebrate my favorite time of the year?

Pretty soon it was time for Thanksgiving. I kept waiting to see turkeys somewhere, anywhere. Where was the StoveTop stuffing? the cranberry sauce? the canned pumpkin?
I hadn't moved to another country; I felt like I'd moved to another planet!
Now it was time to start thinking about Thanksgiving dinner. What were we going to eat? What about decorations? (At this point I must tell you that we don't exactly have the most common missionary story. Suffice it to say that we were not working with any American missionaries. We didn't hardly know anyone from the States at this point. The rest is a story for another day!) What would we do?
Well, first we needed a table. We didn't have one of those yet. Pastor Samson had a tiny one we could borrow. Then we needed dishes. We didn't have any of those yet either. (To go back to the story for another day, we were living with an African pastor at this point and using the few things he had.) Off to Melcom, our one and only department store at that time.
Now it was time to figure out what to eat. What does one eat for Thanksgiving if not turkey? We ended up with roast beef, which wasn't really roasted because I didn't have a stove. I guess it should have been called boiled beef roast?!? We also had mashed potatoes and Velveeta macaroni and cheese, because a dear sweet friend sent a box of the prefab stuff :) Lastly, we splurged on ice cream and cookies, and I mixed and layered them into something like an ice cream pie. Yum!
We made Indian headresses to wear for the day, too!
Now get in your mind that I was seven months pregnant at this time, we lived on the top floor of an apartment building, and our apartment had no fans. Oh, the memories! All the pics I have from this time are in the States. One of these days I'll scan them into the computer for a good laugh, but for now you'll just have to use your imaginations!
So there we were, thousands of miles from "home" and traditions and culture, celebrating Thanksgiving. And guess what? That is one of my fondest Thanksgiving memories. John and I look back and laugh and rejoice about all God has brought us through and brought us to since that time...

I'll continue with some more holiday memories next week, but until then, what are your favorite Fall/Thanksgiving memories?


  1. Oh Patty! What fun! The memories we make are so neat to go back and think about.
    We are looking forward to Thanksgiving. Looking forward to seeing Kyle! He is supposed to get home on Thanksgiving day for only 2 days but we are so looking forward to seeing him and spending time with him and make some memories. I am hoping to take pictures of our kids all together !We will see how everything goes.He made the basketball team at West Coast so he is only able to come home for 10 days at Christmas so we are so looking forward to this little time.
    We love you and think about you a lot. Pray all is going well and that you are able to come home next spring. Jackie made it on the cheerleading squad! I know, never thought that would happen did we? Anyway, she is having a lot of fun! Now we get to go watch basketball again , since we have a cheerleader.
    We love you all!

  2. Patty I love reading your blog. Our first Thanksgiving in Ghana we cried. We were all alone also. Even though we knew of other missionaries who we worked with...huh umm. Well never mind. We should of had it together we were just an hour and half away at the time. Who knew? We do have much to be thankful for. We haven't had turkey for Thanksgiving for a couple of years. This year will be the first in a long time. What do you serve on Thanksgiving? homemade stuffing, apple pie, mashed potatoes and gravy, some kind of veggie, and fruit. Hopefully you get a box this time of year from home. If ever I want a box it is now, not Christmas. Oh and smores! for dessert.