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As an expat you hold on to your own traditions, taking comfort in the familiar, but you also learn the importance of embracing new ones. From country to town to community to school; each has its own. There are some that are serious, and while you may not immediately feel comfortable joining in, you respect your new culture; learning and appreciating the history behind their traditions and celebrations.
Then there are the local events that are, well, not so serious. Some that you may even find a little odd, or silly, or faintly ridiculous. But, there is no denying that they are fun!
Last week saw Crazy Hair Day roll around again. I wrote about this last year; a school tradition that sees the kids arrive at school in a haze of coloured hair spray and hair accessories.
This was of course the first year that the 5yo got to join in; and as with other events that he could only watch his brother enjoy previously, he was thrilled to be able to go to school with his own crazy hair.
I want a Mohican that’s on fire, he stated categorically. Um. Ok.
Having only returned from my trip to the UK the day before, I wasn’t at my most creative, but I gave it a shot and he seemed happy enough!
I realised as I was busy putting in bunches and spraying hair interesting colours that it didn’t phase me. Last year I still found the whole thing a little strange, even though it was my second year of sending the 8yo to school with mad hair.
This year I had been expecting it, looked out for the date, put it in the calendar. I made sure I had a variety of coloured hair sprays in the cupboard. I ensured that the wee girls collection of hair elastics was fully stocked.
I am finding that it isn’t the big things that make you feel at home; houses and schools and bank accounts; although they of course help. It’s the small stuff; knowing where everything is in the supermarket, supporting a local food drive, chatting to people in the street, knowing the shortcuts through town. And Crazy Hair Day.
Embracing opportunities to get involved in the school, and wider community (even if that means Crazy Hair or a Crazy Hat) makes us feel more at home.
And watching the kids run into school to show off their daft hair, well, that makes me smile.