They don’t celebrate Halloween in the UK with the same degree of enthusiasm as my family does in the states. Despite my needling, my Husband just didn’t get into the spirit of it, asking me why it’s such a Big Deal(™).
I couldn’t speak for anyone else, but in my case, I told him, “Because, for one night, you’re Alice in Wonderland and you’ve gone down the rabbit hole.” Being an imaginative type, the prospect holds limitless possibilities and even from a young age I’ve been making and wearing my own costumes (fouling up my mother’s sewing machine to no end, she’ll vouch).
But here, Halloween came and went with nary a wave hello nor goodbye. Perhaps to console myself and to make up for it and the added omission of the American Thanksgiving, I made “Pumpkin” (actually, I used a King Squash for this, but the taste is close enough) Pie from scratch by steaming the squash and scraping it out and making the crust by using a Gluten-free sugar cookie recipe. The result was the picture below:
All in all, I think I did pretty well. We carved into it tonight and gave it a try. The taste/texture, not to brag or anything, was perfect. My husband loved the crust and has requested I use it again for doing cheesecake.
I remember thinking this time last year and all through November, December and straight into January how hard it was being 4,000 miles away from my husband – then my Fiancé – and feeling less than stellar at the notion of another year of being apart. It wasn’t easy then, but I went in knowing that this first year together would be harder.
The expectations, the requirements, surrounding instant and unequivocal, totalitarian integration – the points where I let go and the spots where I rebelled against the belief structure that asserted that integration equals the complete abandonment of my original culture – were at times especially challenging to negotiate. I didn’t always succeed in that, either. It hasn’t been easy for anyone, I’m aware, but thankfully, a lot of times I’ve been able to retain a significant amount of my comfort zone. Which is likely saying a lot considering, so I think my husband and his family can be applauded for their tolerance in that respect.
But I knew going in the holidays, once they came along, would probably be the hardest. The Pumpkin pie was as much my own reward as it was proving to myself that it didn’t matter what anyone else thought, it didn’t matter if the stores clerks have no concept of canned pumpkin to say nothing about the pie itself, I was going to have pumpkin pie or bust. This year, or at least for now, I will content myself with that and tell myself that next year I will be able to do more. Next year will be better.
Because, at this point, that’s the best way that I know how to cope with the holidays. One way or another, for my husband and I, there will always be on the wrong side of the Atlantic; one of us will always be yearning for familiarity, for family in one degree or another.
So this year, I will accept the lack of Halloween, the lack of Thanksgiving, accept that Christmas is traditionally turkey and I’ll have to find a way to make Cranberry Fool when I can’t seem to find sugar-free jello-equivolent in the stores and there is no such thing as cool whip… And vow that next year won’t be half the challenge, that there will be more triumphs than tribulations.