Easy Treesy

Growing used to living as a foreigner in Taiwan over our nearly 40 years there, we “crossed a line” with the culture around us. In the 17s and 80s we were more oriented toward having an American-style holiday celebration, an aim that diminished over the years, even as Taiwan seemed to move more in the direction of Santa Claus and fancy trees put up earlier and earlier, then forgotten and left up until about February.

During the early 80s we’d buy a potted live tree and try to keep it alive in the house or on the balcony. Few, if any, of these trees saw a second year of holiday use. When our kids were little we shifted to that which was decidedly artificial, and in our final decade had a tree in a box that got taped back around it and hid in a closet. After our final Christmas in Tainan (2017) that tree was one of the first things thrown onto the garbage truck.

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These thoughts come back because we bought a house in Holland Michigan in 2018. The realtor has sent cards two years in a row now, entitling us to claim a free “real” (chopped down) tree at a one-day event on the edge of town. The event was today (December 7) and I went alone. I met kind and helpful people who gave clear directions and helped me get the tree partially stuffed into the trunk of the car. Now it lies on the front lawn, awaiting installation and decoration on the unheated porch (for indoors we have a more elaborate artificial one). 

Kind and helpful people carried us through the many Christmasses we marked in Taiwan. Whether they, or we, understood what we were attempting to celebrate, kindness and help are always welcome.

The porch will hold a tree. Noel!

David Alexander now resides in Holland, MI after 39 years in Taiwan.

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