I found myself in a fabric store in my new home country, Singapore, asking for anything they had in fall colors. Singapore is one degree north of the Equator and experiences no seasonal changes. The weather in Singapore is like living in The Truman Show. It’s as if someone is sitting behind the curtains at the control panel and they turn on the rain for about an hour each day and then set the temperature back to hot and humid with the occasional thunderstorm to keep things interesting. You can imagine the bewildered look on the faces of the elderly Singaporean shop owner and his wife when I asked for seasonal colors.
Being in a new country and somehow completely neglecting to bring any Thanksgiving decorations left me longing for tradition and familiar. I was at a tearful loss. Already highly emotional from all of the changes involved in our family’s transition, the thought of not being able to decorate nearly sent me over the edge.
After a few days of sulking and sweating when I so desperately craved easy with a side of cool autumn breeze, I set out on an adventure with an open mind and renewed vigor to find anything and everything I could gather that transported me to the fall season.
I went to the textile shops on Arab Street, one after the other with my shopping trolley in tow, and found beautiful batik fabric pieces in oranges, greens, and browns. Because I’m not a seamstress, I would leave the fabric pieces unhemmed and drape them over our tables as if the unfinished table covers were a “Pinterest on purpose” idea. I found several small wicker baskets that I could use on the table for napkins and flatware and a few pieces of orange satin ribbon to weave around their sides. My adventure then took me to Chinatown where I found Chinese satin wine bottle covers in shimmering earth tones with delicately embroidered designs. The inserted bottles that once held wine would now hold gorgeous, fresh orchids.
We hosted around thirty guests for Thanksgiving that year from multiple countries and cultures and a variety of ages. We sat around our eclectically decorated tables that reflected our new lives together so perfectly. It turned out to be such an enjoyable holiday and we parted with grateful hearts, full tummies, and memories to last a lifetime.
We have since celebrated Thanksgiving in Texas, Cambodia, New Zealand and this year, we’ll experience Thanksgiving in England, our new home. Oh, the irony.
If you are in a transitional time during this holiday season, be it from an overseas move, a marriage you are fighting for or may have even lost, or an unexpected turn in life that just has you feeling out of sorts, 1) know you are not alone and 2) I encourage you to take a deep breath and go on an adventure. Allow God to meet you where you are and take you where you need to go. If you can muster a grateful heart and open hands, He’ll surprise and overwhelm you and fill your “shopping trolley” with His goodness. I’ve seen it happen.
Psalm 34:8 New International Version (NIV)
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.