Although, we are not officially celebrating Labor Day here in the Dominican Republic, I still think it’s a good time to acknowledge the passing of Summer and the welcoming of Fall. Yes, school is in full swing, college football has begun, and people are Instagramming their pumpkin lattes. But other than those clues, it is hard to recognize the change in season from where I sit. Year-round luscious flora and average temperatures of 75 degrees earns Jarabacoa the nickname, “The Land of Eternal Spring.” It was easy to celebrate summer, with daily warm rays of sunshine and sandy beaches just a short drive away. And Christmas is maybe more commercialized here than the States, and since I’m from Florida I don’t know what a white Christmas is anyway. But celebrating Fall is just not the same. They don’t grow pumpkins or apples here, there are no Fall festivals, and college football and Thanksgiving are out for obvious reasons. And for a brief moment, I almost felt sad for myself. But I did what any good third-culture mom would do, scoured Pinterest for hours, and this year, I am determined to give the season of Fall a proper recognition. Here is my top to-do list of things for a Fall in the DR that don’t include changing leaves, hay-rides, or jack-o-lanterns. My expat friends, please join us, and everyone else can follow us as we cross off our Fall in the DR list @ #fallintheDR.
1. Roast marshmallows and make S’mores. Check check! See picture above.
2. Make caramel apples.
3. Have a real tailgate. Cheesy, maybe, but we will all don our Florida Gator gear for a mock tailgate with grilling and chilling, and maybe we will even teach the Dominicans how to play corn-hole.
4. Bon fire.
5. Nature walk and make leaf rubbings. If we use the right color crayons, you’ll never know the leaves are still green!
6. Plant a garden. Yesss!
7. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Fall is a great time to reflect on our abundant blessings, and to memorize this verse as a family: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1 NIV)
8. Read One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. This goes with #7, and has been on my reading wish list for a while now.
9. Host a costume party. Excited to invite all of our expat-kid friends and some Dominicans friends, too, for a tradition too good to skip.
10. Drive-in movie. No, I don’t know of a drive-in theatre here, but if we projected a movie on the outside wall late enough in the evening, the air may be brisk enough to feel like Fall.
11. Make pumpkin pancakes. It’s a Plank Family tradition.
12. Watch fall movies. On the list: Hocus Pocus, When Harry met Sally, Rudy, Good Will Hunting, Scared Shrekless, and our all-time favorite, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
13. Make fall decorations for the house. I have a board on Pinterest a mile long. You’d be amazed what you can do with tin cans, twine, and orange spray paint.
14. Make a Starbucks copycat Pumpkin Spice Frappe. We did this last year and it was heavenly.
15. Make Grandma Betty’s Monster Cookies. Last fall, my Grandma Betty passed away. One of my favorite recipes that she made every fall was Monster Cookies. If you don’t know what these are, they are like chocolate chip cookies with like 75 other ingredients from oatmeal to Peanut M&M’s and takes the world’s most gigantic bowl and superhero strength just to move a spoon through the batter. So, in honor of Grandma Betty, and because they are fabulous, Monster Cookies are the final thing on my Fall in the DR to-do list.
What’s on your Fall must-do list? Do you live in a tropical climate where you have to get creative to feel the season? Or are you getting ready for jean jackets and Fall foliage? We’d love to hear how you celebrate.
Happy Fall Ya’ll!
Trevor and Kathy are independent missionaries in the Dominican Republic, and raise their own financial support for their family. If you’d like to be a part of the Plankenhorn family support team, click here to see where they are, and how you can help.