Preparing for holidays, and looking for ways to incorporate the traditions of your own country with those of your new one, can be interesting. My mom and sister came to visit for Thanksgiving, and while most of the spread was your standard Turkey Day fare (not to say it wasn't absolutely delicious -- I love a traditional Thanksgiving feast), we tried to include a couple of PR touches. My mom made arroz con gandules, and she and I made coquito.
The arroz con gandules was eaten, for the most part. The coquito was given only a cursory tasting. Why is that? If people will drink eggnog, then why not coquito? I know it's not the same as eggnog, but I have to say that a coconut and milk drink sounds better to me than an egg drink. And if it's spiked with rum, even better! I had my coquito and loved every bit, but it's not quite the same when not too many people join you.
Now that I'm starting to think about Christmas and New Year's, I'm looking for ways to bring a bit of PR to Oregon. But there are obstacles. For example, throwing a bucket of water out the front door when the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve isn't as festive if you consider that the cold temperatures will turn the water into ice, and then you've got a potential lawsuit on your hands. Or you could try to start a parranda, but forget about lawsuits: you'd likely have an angry friend yelling obscenities at you for waking them up in the middle of the night and demanding to be let in to party and be fed.
There are also traditions I'm happy to have left behind. To wit, the constant barrage of firecrackers that people like to set off just after Thanksgiving and all throughout the Christmas season. And what about those things that people call cuartos de dinamita? Are those really dynamite? But let's not forget about those who like to shoot their guns into the air at midnight on New Year's Eve. 'Tis the season for post-traumatic stress syndrome!
I'm starting to form new traditions. This year will be the second time that I'll head to a Christmas tree farm with my husband and in-laws to cut down my own Christmas Tree. I have some hand-me-down ornaments that my mom gave me -- I remember when she bought them, and hopefully they'll last me a long time. I love putting them up and remembering past holidays. And while in PR my New Year's Eves were spent with family, over here we've started to spend that night with friends. We get together at someone's house, or close our eyes and hand over a crazy cover charge to go catch some live music and festivities. But in one way or another, I hope to be able to bring the holiday season, PR-style, to Oregon. If I can't throw water out the door, I'll sweep out the bad juju instead. Or hand out grapes for people to eat (twelve each, for good luck on each month of the year). Sure, I'll have to take the time to explain these things to people. But if anything, I've found that my friends enjoy learning about these things, and will happily partake. It won't mean the same thing to them as it does to me, but there's something almost equally satisfying about showing people how things are done where you're from, and having them enjoy it.