Pumpkin party!

16 02 2013

The experiences that we have shared with our ‘son’ since his arrival have been unexpected and plentiful. We not only get to share our culture with him- the riches of seasons like brisk autumn and the forthcoming winter- but we also get to experience our daily lives through the filter of his eyes. This boy only knows the seasons of hot, rainy, and less hot, more dry. While September seemed cold to him, October at least offered some condolences. Not only was it Bank’s birth month, but he was born on the American holiday that we know as ‘Halloween.’

Bank arrived in our country just at that moment when autumn turns summer exploits into a fall retrospective. We got to share with him the turning of the leaves, and explain how they would dry out and fall to the ground, exposing the barren branches to the cold of winter in a seemingly cruel humility. To expound upon this seasonal glory, we drove to my uncle’s pumpkin farm for the annual pumpkin picking party. We gathered in a field of head-sized squash leaves, plundering for hidden fruits to harvest. Bethany and I showed him what to do, and he dove into the task, alongside the rest of the impromptu pumpkin-picking community.

For Halloween closer to home, we hosted our annual costume party, and Veerephat (aka ‘Bank)’ donned his traditional Thai cultural garb for the affair. I was a Hawaiian marathon runner, and Bethany was an international backpacker for the night (honestly, she just wanted an excuse to practice wearing her loaded pack for a few hours). We took several other opportunities to dig through the costume box and dress up for impromptu gatherings in the weeks surrounding his birthday. He did not hesitate to dress up with the rest of us, and looked fabulous doing so!

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I’m sure that turning 17 was nothing like what he had imagined, given the extended Halloween celebration surrounding his special day. I can say that I never had a more fun fall, getting to explain all the strange cultural traditions that I normally don’t think twice about. Have you ever been asked to explain trick-or-treating? Or why pumpkins are considered a special symbol of fall? “Yes, HAVE!” Bank exclaimed when he saw his first pumpkin. Apparently, they grow in his home country too, but they are not revered as they are in the days surrounding Halloween here. All I know is that, regardless of how jack-o-lanterns caught on, we had a blast sticking our hands inside the goopy pumpkins guts, and then roasting our own pumpkin seeds. Halloween? Check. Just the first of many American cultural traditions that we look forward to sharing with our Thai son.

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