The Easter Bunny always knows where you live

The Easter Bunny always knows where you liveYesterday I slipped two Lindt chocolate bunnies into my shopping basket and thought of how much Easter has changed now that my girls are teenagers. The first casualty was the early-morning Easter egg hunt, which thrilled them to the core when they were little. I can still remember Elder Daughter shrieking, “The Easter Bunny! He came! He came!” when she spied the foil-covered eggs, while her jammie-clad little sister toddled unsteadily from room to room, clutching fistfuls of chocolate and squealing with delight..

Chef Boyardee and I started tweaking our family traditions when we moved to Singapore. We knew it was probably impossible to replicate them exactly, and we were okay with that. Our goal was to do the best we could with the tools we had — an approach that worked out surprisingly well.

The most notable difference at Easter was the scaled-down family dinner: the girls missed the familiar comforts of celebrating the special day with their loved ones. (I did too, of course, but what I really missed was stuffing my face with turkey. The big bird was hard to find in Singapore — and wickedly expensive — but the main reason we passed was our dollhouse-sized oven, which was woefully inadequate for cooking anything bigger than a chicken leg.)

When it comes to expat Easters, as with many things in life, the first one was the hardest. After four months in Singapore, we’d more or less adjusted to the need for constant adjustments, and had settled into our new life quite nicely. Then the island was hit hard by the SARS outbreak, and uncertainty took on a whole new dimension. Schools were closed, fresh vegetables were scarce, and overnight, surgical masks became the new must-have accessory.

In the midst of this craziness, the Foleys took a holiday. I impressed myself by remembering to buy Easter eggs before we left, and I congratulated myself for cleverly hiding them in the empty house of a friend who was travelling. We spent several blissful days in Phuket, but back home, as the taxi pulled into our driveway, Younger Daughter suddenly burst into tears. “Mommy,” she hiccupped, “tomorrow is Easter. But how will the Easter Bunny know where to find us? He doesn’t know we moved to Singapore.”

Oh, crap. Easter Bunny anxiety was something that hadn’t come up during our predeparture training sessions. No time to think about that now, though; I immediately switched to damage control mode. “Of course he does, Silly,” I said with a cheerfulness I didn’t feel. “I sent him a change-of-address card just before we moved.”

Santa too?” she asked tremulously.

“Santa too,” I replied.

She brightened up immediately, and happily went off to bed with visions of tooth decay chocolate dancing in her head.

All’s well that ends well, right? Except it almost didn’t. In the wee hours of the morning, I realized the goodies, which were supposed to be hidden all over my house, were still in their perfect hiding place. I rolled out of bed and ran barefoot to my friend’s house, and managed to fling a few handfuls of eggs around the living room just seconds before the girls came downstairs, rubbing the sleep from their eyes.

“The Easter Bunny!” Younger Daughter shrieked. “He came! He came!”

That was the last time the Easter Bunny came to our house; by the time egg hunt season rolled around the following year, Younger Daughter had joined the ranks of the non-believers. But I’ll never forget the joy on her face when she saw that expat life didn’t mean the end of everything she held dear. Even when you move far, far away, the Easter Bunny comes. And Santa too.


About Maria

I'm a Canadian repatriate, former expat spouse, mother to two TCKs (and one yellow Lab), mentor to new immigrants, writer, reader, world traveller (grounded for now). I write about expat/repat issues and am still trying to figure out my place in the world.
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12 Responses to The Easter Bunny always knows where you live

  1. Sine says:

    Maria, I absolutely LOVE this post (and it’s good book material, I might add:-). I can SO relate to that. We’ve had to cobble together our traditions just like you, even before we came expats. My husband is from a protestant German family, whereas I’m catholic, and you wouldn’t believe how different our traditions were: Baby Jesus (Christkind, which Kris Kringle stems from) vs Father Christmas, for instance. And then how is Father Christmas, who morphed into Santa in the U.S., different from St. Nicholas who comes on December 6th? I’ve always worried that our kids would be totally damaged with all this conflicting information, but it doesn’t seem to faze them. And yes, the question whether Santa or the Easter bunny would be up-to-date as to where we’d be residing over the holidays has come up frequently here as well. One added difficulty in Singapore was the darn heat and the ants – chocolate eggs hidden in your yard the night before would never make it to the next morning. So you’d have to find that perfect moment before the kids woke up to hide the eggs. A huge challenge!

    Our youngest is now 9 years old and I don’t think anybody still believes in the Easter Bunny, but we are faithfully doing an Easter egg hunt like every year. Tomorrow, in fact, since we are travelling over Easter. And yes, the bunny got advance notice of our change in schedule.

    • Maria says:

      The ants are diabolical and the heat is relentless, but I think the bigger problem with an Easter egg hunt in Singapore is the quality of the chocolate. It tastes like cardboard!

      • Sine says:

        Haha! right on, but that’s where Lindt comes through, as you so aptly note. Your mention of that made me realize you’re truly a kindred spirit! We have kids travelling to Germany tonight, and the first thing my husband did was order a huge carton full of Milka chocolate for them to bring back…

  2. All the work we go through making our children believe in special things, and then one day its over. Until we watch our children making it special for their children…
    The tooth fairy just found my grandson in Norway!

  3. Judy says:

    I remember how thrilled our son was that the International Tooth Fairy paid in US$1 dollar bills (because she had no coins) when we lived in Azerbaijan. Celebrating holidays and family traditions overseas can be a real challenge.

  4. Reblogged this on born again brazilian and commented:
    I’m not looking forward to the day my daughter no longer believes… though I suspect she’s suspects…

  5. Great post! Timely for me since I have 2 little guys who still believe in all of that fun stuff. We also went on vacation for this Easter to Sri Lanka and the boys asked repeatedly if the Easter Bunny would “be able to find us ALL THE WAY over here in Rilanka?” I packed all my easter goodies and imagined the boys frolicking around a tropical paradise looking for their eggs. Instead, my husband managed to smash one of their easter bunnies to pieces when in transit, the humidity was oppressive and it rained the morning of easter so we did everything in our hotel room. Finding their easter baskets in the bathroom near the toilet wasn’t exactly the tropical flowers I had imagined, but they didn’t care! Jelly beans, chocolate and the fact that the magical Easter Bunny can find them even in Rilanka was still very special to them! 🙂

    • Maria says:

      That Easter Bunny sure does get around! I’m glad your little ones had the pleasure of a quasi-traditional Easter morning, even in a faraway place like Rilanka (so cute!)

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