Musings on my adventures around the world and my ties back in Texas as well as some of the the ideas I have to adapt and create to keep those places close to home.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Traditions

Easter is one time of year when I am truly aware of how much I have left behind to live internationally. It has always been an intense family time for me and trying to recreate pockets of our traditions, while helping me to maintain some sort of contact, does not make it a holiday like at home. Sometimes I think that it just makes me miss my family all that much, although I won't stop trying to recreate bits and pieces of what made Easter in our house.

To start with I always knew that Easter would mean at least three evenings at church, sitting in a pew with my mother and sister. Feeling close to them as we went through the true mystery of our religion. I try to get to mass for Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday or Easter Sunday. Somehow sitting through at least two of these services on my own just highlights my loneliness on these days.

Then there is the food aspect of our holiday. Any Easter has to include my mom's (she would say Aunt Ida's) homemade rolls, hard boiled eggs dyed to bright Easter colors, and jello eggs. At this point I have hope of one of the three turning out completely, even though I've made every attempt for all three this year. I felt sure that the rolls would turn out, and though they taste right I guess they are either too light or too damp and won't raise as they should. It's hard to color your eggs when you can only buy brown eggs (making me realize that Easter is the only time I'd voluntarily buy white eggs at a grocery store). So far only the blue ones have turned out, and that after almost an hour sitting in the dye (yes - at least I've learned to combine 1 tablespoon of vinegar, 20 drops of food coloring and some water to create my own egg dye). So that leaves the jello eggs, which admittedly I haven't tried yet. But I did save my egg shells, carefully cutting off just the top sliver and shaking out the egg whenever I used some the last few weeks. It was perhaps a bigger success to keep anyone in the house from throwing away my empty egg shells. Jello packages from the grocery store seem to have provided me with everything else I needed to fill them up. It only remains to be seen if they will actually turn out. I have my hopes for this one. After all I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be Easter in my or my sister's mind without the jello eggs.

Then there are the memories to contend with. I imagine my sister heading over to my mom's house on Sunday, and am sure that a Easter egg hunt will be part of the day's festivities. It brings back fond memories. Every year my father was the one that hid the eggs, and as we limited the hiding space to the living room and occasionally the dining room there were a limited number of places where the eggs could go. The last year I was home for Easter I felt as if I could do my egg hunt with my eyes closed and still find them all. I remember one year my brother-in-law complaining on the phone that they had been to my parent's for Easter. Dad hid the eggs, my sister gave him a 10 minute head start....and she still found almost twice as many eggs as he did. All I could think was that he should have called me and I could have talked him though it on the phone, then maybe it would have been a fair competition. I can still reel off a list of at list ten places that an egg will be: balancing on one of the side supports of the coffee table, up in the circle below the light bulb in the lamp, tucked behind the fold out doors in the dining room, under a crystal glass on the room divider, in the corner between the fire place and the sliding glass door, in the random granite ashtray now relegated to a random place, in a glass pitcher on the dining room windowsill, in one or two of the plant pots, balancing on top of a few glasses in the room divider, in the corner of the wall and speaker...I can see myself there.

Oh the memories. Even though I'll be spending Easter along again, I will try to focus on the good memories I have from Easters below, always knowing that the memories can't replace what is missing from Easter this year - family.