When you arrive in a foreign country—be sure of one thing—meals still happen, three times a day!!
When I was in Africa, I stumbled across an old global worker’s handbook put out by the British Church Society for global workers. It said this: “Keep your table standards high, there is nothing that can lift your spirits more than a well-cooked and served meal at the end of a completely difficult day”.
I’ll never forget this bit of advice. I really made an effort to present happy tables to my family. At first, it seemed like a perpetual picnic—plastic! plastic! plastic!! But, eventually, someone mailed me an inexpensive set of white china. I put my efforts into colored napkins and I used beautifully colored sheets for my tablecloths.
If you can, take with you one red tablecloth, useful for Christmas and Valentine’s Day; several cheerful print plastic tablecloths; one basic white cloth tablecloth; and one lace tablecloth for frivolity and romance.
Local fabric is reasonable and so pretty! Matching napkins and tablecloths are very inviting. Inexpensive candleholders and tropical candles are a must where it is hot.
I ate at the Swedish mission on several occasions. In the rainy season, they ate from bright yellow dishes. What a help! At other times of celebration, they had bright red dishes!
One of the best things about places like Africa, Asia, and the Islands are the flowers. Plenty of frangipani and bougainvillea. I used tiny flowers or blossoms tucked into simple egg cups at each guest’s place. You can use a wide display of multi-petal flowers down the middle of the table like a runner. Decorate a serving side board or buffet with more flowers. Put whimsy in your table decorating by placing small Beanie Babies at each child’s place, baskets filled with flowers…
Keep your home cheerful and inviting. And celebrate everything– from the first rain of the season to the last—by setting happy tables of beauty!