Again, I am scolding myself for the length in between my entries, but I can’t imagine that you all have been checking your email inboxes and losing sleep each night pining for a missive from your Sri Lankan friend. You all have been relishing in the changing of the seasons with long walks on cool evening, digging out those warm and wooly portions of your attire, and partaking of all the pumpkin, cranberry, and apple eatables that you can conjure. Am I right? *sigh* Autumn is my favorite season and having now experienced a Sri Lankan autumn, I must clarify by saying that I most enjoy a Wisconsin autumn.
For the Jaffna area, October brings the monsoon season and subsequently the mosquito season. Now please don’t be mistaken. Monsoon is a scary word that to some conjure images of perpetual months of hard rains, intense thunder and lightning and all the ominousness that can be squeezed into such a simple word. Monsoon season means rain, yes, but it rains off and on and we only get the huge T storms every few days. Most of the time it’s just overcast. (A side note: the worst part of monsoon season is not the rain, but rather the humidity. A pair of my shoes have molded just from sitting on the rack)
As the mosquito populations continue to grow, there are also many notice boards in the area explaining the warning symptoms of malaria and dengue fever.
Sri Lanka’s autumn also sadly marks the end to our second mango season. This is also hard to cope with.
So, a summary of October in Sri Lanka: gray skies, rain, flooding, dengue, moldy shoes, and the absence of mangoes. What a happy picture I have painted for you all! Ha ha.
Ok, but now to share some of the exciting things that have also come along with October here in the North. The children have been diligently practicing for our upcoming area-wide Christmas Carols program. All schools in the Jaffna area are invited to participate, and each school’s choir will contribute one Christmas song in addition to all the children creating a mega- choir that will sing an assortment of English and Tamil Christmas songs. I have been elected as the choir director of this monster choir for all the English tunes, and I’ve also been arranging music for my beginning band students to be featured during the program. My October has been completely filled with cherubim and seraphim while angels throng the air (Can anyone name that tune?). In fact, my Halloween was filled with three different Christmas music practices.
Now, while I could easily continue by saying things like ‘Ugh! Too much Christmas!’ or ‘What? But it’s only October?!’ or any other typical rant of the holiday, I won’t say it. After my practices I don’t feel a bit over saturated. One of the blessings of being away from the US as the holiday season approaches, is the lack of consumerism, materialism, and crazy advertisements telling us what we are supposed to want and how we are to adequately celebrate the date.
I came across this blog entry written by a pastor in Arizona (pastor in the Christian Church- Disciples of Christ). She reflects on the upcoming season of Advent and Christmas as well as her personal plans to make sure that the season continues to hold meaning and purpose for her and her family. If any of you are growing frustrated about this time of year and the subsequent pressures of buying, spending, gifting, over eating, and all that is adverse to the meaning of Advent/Christmas, I HIGHLY encourage you to read her blog by clicking here.
Well, I guess that’s all for me today. But please, in honor of me and my exile from all that autumn as I know it, PLEASE enjoy something pumpkin-y for me today. I would most love it if you drank a Triple Grande Nonfat Pumpkin Chai Latte…or in light of keeping the upcoming holidays simple- pumpkin coffee. I suppose it’s better to keep things simple.
‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it’ –John 1:5 (NRSV)
Or a second, more illuminating translation for your thoughts:
‘The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not’ –John 1:5 (KJV)