I can't believe it's almost December again. This year has been so full of great things, and now my favorite time of the year has come. I have always enjoyed Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but now I love these holidays because I feel like I finally have a real family and home and our own traditions.
Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. I don't have very clear memories of Halloween as a child, my costumes were often generic store-bought, I was a devil one year, Catwoman one year, a witch, etc. Only in high school did I really start to get in touch with my creative side and pursue my own interests and hand-sew my own costumes. So now in my family, our Halloween tradition is to make our own costumes. This year, Chinami was lucky enough to have 3 costumes! She was a Minion for trick-or-treating at the shopping center, Joy from Inside Out for her preschool party, and for our family trick-or-treating, we dressed up together, me as Totoro and Chinami as Mei (and I drew a baby Totoro on my bump as well for Kairu.) We ended up spending Halloween up in Manoa with our "ohana" from the baby store, who were dressed up in homemade Alice-in-Wonderland themed costumes, which was an interesting combination!
This past Thursday was Thanksgiving, and Chinami and I were especially blessed because not only were we able to enjoy the holiday with Yasushi as a family on his day off the day before, we were also able to join our other ohana for dinner on the actual day. Because of a combination of the emotional abuse inflicted on me as a child (and resulting low self-esteem and C-PTSD) and the fact that I have been moving across countries and oceans every few years for basically my whole life, I find that I have become untrusting and scared to really make a connection to people. In Hawaii, your friends become your ohana, your sisters, your brothers, aunties, uncles, cousins.....and I am finally becoming comfortable with letting more people into my ohana, and extremely blessed that I have found some amazing people. Chinami has also done her part to help me make these connections with her exuberant sociable personality and I am so thankful for her! Anyway, the food was amazing! I made my traditional Thanksgiving dinner, which was a turkey stuffed with lil smokies, onions, and garlic, and covered in a bacon blanket, with some brussels sprouts in the pan, mashed potatoes (that Chinami helped make!) creamed spinach Boston Market-style, wild rice and quinoa cooked with chopped onions, carrots, and celery in a turkey stock "takikomi" style, and for dessert, a two-layered kabocha and sweet potato pie. My friend/brother's Thanksgiving was similar, except he had a traditional roast turkey with crispy skin stuffed with wild rice and whole vegetables, various side dishes and pupus including potato-carrot mash, creamed spinach, homemade cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, giblet pate on toast, and I contributed one of my pies and a plate of squash and eggplant cut into sticks, wrapped in bacon, and roasted in the oven. The kids made fun turkey headbands and we all had a blast!
Yesterday was the day after Thanksgiving, which is always the day of the holiday parade in Waikiki. Just like last year, I made a dinner from leftovers we could pack up and eat while watching the parade. Since we had a picnic lunch of turkey-bacon wraps and raw veggies in guacamole at the park, for dinner I made a tomato soup with corn, lil smokies and brussels sprouts, and a couple of creamed spinach pies and cheesy crescent rolls. We enjoyed the parade, and were able to hurry to the beach to watch the Friday fireworks as well before taking the bus home for a good night's sleep.
This Sunday, we will put up our Christmas tree. Since I don't see a point in buying a real tree that was shipped from the Mainland, usually brings invasive species with it, and dries out and dies by Christmas because of the climate here, so we have a white fiber optic Christmas tree that goes nicely in our living room. In Honolulu, there are many local Christmas parades and other fun events to enjoy up until the big day, and even though Yasushi works on Christmas, Chinami and I will still find ways to enjoy the day making candy houses and playing with whatever toys she gets.
After Christmas, it's New Year's, which will be celebrated Japanese style of course with Gagaku at the Dendocho. Hawaii is such a great place to live, not only because of the weather, but because of all the great things to do!