Pumpkin Patch Visit

Obviously Singapore doesn’t have the right climate to grow pumpkins, but they are imported and then sold for the usual ridiculous mark-up.  You can buy them at your high end grocer (Cold Storage, Marketplace, Jason’s, etc), but you can also buy them at the annual Singapore American School Pumpkin Patch.  The SAS Pumpkin Patch does still do a mark-up, but I feel less bad giving them my money as opposed to whatever corporation owns Cold Storage et al.

So this past Saturday I rounded up Ellie, dressed her in her Halloween costume (because really, how many opportunities will she have to wear it) and jumped in a cab to SAS with her and our helper, B.

SAS is actually near the Malaysian border.  Close enough, in fact, that I saw the warning signs about Singaporean cars needing to have a certain amount of fuel to make the border crossing (gas is very cheap in Malaysia, so the SG government requires that you have a mostly full tank when crossing to prevent people from doing the crossing whenever they want to fill up their tank on the cheap).  It occurred to me that all of my previous arguments about why I wouldn’t send E to SAS were moot, once I saw how far out it was–if we ever did change our minds and decide to send her to school here, we wouldn’t send her there because the commute would just be far too long–it’s the opposite side of the country from the general area we’ll always live in to keep Ravi’s commute reasonable.  I will say that what I saw of their facilities was impressive.

The “pumpkin patch” was create in an outdoor quad covered in that spongy material most school playgrounds are now made of.  They scattered pumpkins about, had a few hay bales and also had some piles of gourds, “Indian Corn,” and mini pumpkins.  There was a table of holiday themed books (although too old for E’s interest), a bake sale table, and a table selling tickets to the middle school’s production of “Grease.”

Elanor does not understand the concept of “decorative” corn

It’s a great circle of pumpkins, Charlie Brown!


We now have our big pumpkin, and will likely carve it some time this week so I can turn it into muffins/cookies/etc in a timely fashion.

I’m genuinely torn as to the value of trying to do stripped down versions of holidays or if it’s just kind of sad.  The grocery stores here have one free standing rack of fairly lame “Halloween” stuff, and there’s a few racks of Halloween Candy, but it’s the very small nod to the Americans, who are (to my understanding) the only people who are really into it.  When I think about the Target at home with the giant Halloween section (and encroaching Christmas stuff), or even just the Halloween sections at CVS ,the small nods to the holiday here pale in comparison.  I think about the fact that there are REAL pumpkin patches in Massachusetts.  I remember fondly Halloweens spent in Salem.  Trick or treating in a plastic costume and mask that still smelled strongly of whatever chemicals were used in its unholy creation (and one year having to buy a second, larger costume because it snowed, and suddenly my costume had to fit over ski pants and a winter jacket).  Taking Elanor trick or treating for the first time last year in her turtle costume.

yes, I had to include this picture

Is it better to leave these memories in the US, and accept that it’s just not the same, therefore just letting it pass you by?  Or do you embrace what little there is to offer and make the best?

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7 Responses to Pumpkin Patch Visit

  1. It’s really a toss-up. When I lived in Germany, I celebrated German holidays. Halloween, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, etc., fell by the wayside. I say celebrate whichever holidays you want to and make a big production out of it; have fun!

  2. Flora says:

    As much as I love and miss Halloween, I am okay with not having a huge selection of Halloween costumes, decor, and events to choose from. It makes me appreciate the things we are so used to taking for granted back home. I am not going to completely forget about American holidays and traditions, I just won’t be celebrating in the same way (if not at all).

  3. Kirsten says:

    I’ve never celebrated Halloween IN MY LIFE (because, as you said, it’s simply not really that big a deal here), but I do get what you mean. When I lived in NZ I did quite miss the festivals and holidays we had here, especially when it came to Mid-Autumn Festival time and the NZ Customs confiscated the mooncakes my mum shipped to me. 😦

    But personally I quite enjoy throwing myself into whatever the local celebrations are. It doesn’t mean that I forget my own holidays, but it’s just all part of embracing the experience of being somewhere new! I don’t want to be living in some new place bursting with new experiences to be had, only to realise afterwards that I’d let it all go to waste because I was missing home and trying to recreate my home in a new place (which NEVER works).

  4. Zach Woods says:

    Hi Crystal –

    Many folks complain, in the US, about the commercialization that our holidays are subjected to. We don’t get to experience the true meaning behind the store display extravaganzas as we are so over-targeted by the marketing.

    I enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal in Kathmandu with folks from England, New Zealand, Scotland, France, Germany, and the US, if I remember them all correctly. Those of us from the US explained the US Thanksgiving food traditions and history as best we could while we tried to find items on the menu (Pumpkin Kibby was the winner) that most reasonably approximated the Thanksgiving dishes we had grown up with.

    That meal helped me to think about the origin of and real meaning behind Thanksgiving while also sharing that (the pros AND the cons) with folks who at most had an embryonic awareness that folks in the US celebrated something called Thanksgiving that time of year!


    • Crystal says:

      I think for me, regardless of the holiday (well, not thanksgiving since we’ll be home) it’s going to feel strange to celebrate them here. No cold weather at Christmas? How weird! it has a lot to do with nostalgia, and the place these small rituals hold. As much as we’ve made (and continue to make) our little home here, every time there’s a holiday we’re used to that isn’t important, isn’t celebrated or is celebrated very differently, it’s a reminder of how far from home we truly are.

      As for the commercialization, as an atheist, it actually makes the holidays far more palatable to me. I *DO* get frustrated to see Xmas crap in stores NOW as opposed to Nov 1, but other than the fact that they start a bit too early, I genuinely don’t have an issue with it. I like the commercial aspects of the holidays…the showing of Xmas movies on tv, the decorations in the malls, the shopping (well, not so much the shopping when the malls get all a-frenzied). So it’s kind of sad to see halloween…which I attach no special meaning to other than dressing up and getting candy…and some movies to…reduced to a single rack at a grocery store.

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