Thanksgiving was great. It was the most laid back Thanksgiving I’ve ever had. No pressure to prepare delicious homemade goods and present in a perfect way, no-one to impress. Here in American Samoa, everyone knows how hot it is, and working hard in the kitchen just isn’t worth it.
I only cooked in the kitchen for about an hour total, and boy my feet were killing me afterwards, pregnant ankles swollen from the heat, but that was the hardest work I did all day.
This was the first time I have ever hosted a Thanksgiving dinner. We had 15 people and they were all happy to eat my store-bought turkey and eat off paper plates. Awesome.
The meal was great, and then we made home-made Mayflower boats with the kids that they got to decorate themselves. On the sails we wrote our names and what we were grateful for, then we went to Turtle and Shark to sail them in the tide pools.
Michael was a bit obsessed with his purple umbrella to give him shade.
The kids had a blast and I sat watching them reflecting, and feeling a little sad. Here’s why..
It’s no secret that things here have been hard. We are looking forward to Michael’s contract expiring in June and returning to the States, but yesterday morning, Michael got an email about a possible job close to our home in Kaysville that would start at the end of the year. Although he has applied for a couple of jobs lately, we still have in our minds that we would be staying here until next summer. Even though the opportunity yesterday is still just an application, the thought of possibly leaving early made me quite sad for some reason.
I started to think about how wonderful this experience has been for our children. I watched them splashing in the water, burying each other in the sand, just running around and laughing with no cares in the world. They are so happy here. Why would we want to take them away from that, and to the cold no less? I think of all the time I am able to spend with them here, and how Michael has much shorter work hours. I start to think about some of the reasons I DON’T want to come home… busy schedules, more stress, pressure to conform, peer pressure for the kids, and oh those horrible after school hours that are full of anxiety, stress and tantrums, with hardly any time together as a family before it’s time to put them to bed.
Life here is simple. It is easy to relax and just enjoy your family and your life. It is beautiful here.
In the long run, we know we want to leave here. We need better medical and educational opportunities. A higher salary where we could save for our missions, retirement and college would be a nice bonus too!
BUT…leaving is going to be hard in so many ways, and leaving sooner than anticipated would be difficult. I’m not good with change. Who knows what’s in store for our family over the next 6 months, it is exciting but it will be another emotional roller coaster to move onto something so different from what we have become accustomed to…