Sunday, November 14, 2010

Giving Thanks

Outside of the feeble toilets and the cluttered tables at Starbucks, the transition from the US to the UK hasn't been too difficult. Being November, however, I am reminded that for the first time in my life I will have to make a serious adjustment and do without my all-time favorite holiday-- Thanksgiving. I do plan on putting together something of a Mocksgiving for posterity's sake, but there may be a chicken instead of a turkey, and the only football I'll be watching will not be of the American kind. That being said, I will endeavor to stay true to the spirit of the holiday by giving thanks for that which I have been graced with.

Things I am grateful for in 2010:

1) Children with British accents- If your "adult" British accent amplifies the impression of intelligence than a child with a British accent nearly doubles, NAY, TRIPLES the cuteness factor. Take the following conversation I overheard a young girl have with her mother on the bus this afternoon and imagine it with a cute little English accent:

"Mum? Mummy! Did you know that you can eat snow? I tried it once... on a bench. It was VERY cold and VERY white."


2) Liberty- No, not the kind of Liberty that hangs out with "Life" and "The Pursuit of Happiness"; rather I'm referring to the Liberty department store in London. Unlike the gaudy interior of its rival Harrod's, one will most assuredly NOT find a bronze sculpture of Princess Di and her Lover releasing a dove, nor will one find any "Egyptian" escalators. Liberty is a class act. Housed in a beautiful Tudor style building Liberty is what commercialism should be-- charming and subtle. If you only have a few days in London and need to scratch your shopping itch (I won't ask where that most likely occurs) check it out.

3) Harry Potter- Admittedly I've never read one word of JK Rowling's tales of the misguided little wizard BUT... I have seen the movies. And given that the movie is set to debut in one week I've officially caught the Harry Potter fever. It isn't so much the story, the acting, or the special effects that intrigue me, rather it is the enjoyment of what I call "Nerd culture." As a life long Star Trek fan, I've taken a lot of shit for wholeheartedly throwing myself into the fictional world of James T. Kirk and co. (my therapist suggests I use the term "fictional world"... just kidding... or am I?). So I love the fact that in another 7 days I can go to a movie theater and see a long queue of fellow nerds (although they are more closeted about their nerdom) rocking everything from Gryffindor scarves and wands, to lightening bolt scars. And if I ever need a reminder that Nerd culture is alive and well in London, I can just pop down to King's Cross station and actually see platform 9 and 3/4.

4) No Thanksgiving- Did you read that right? Did I just say I was THANKFUL for the lack of a Thanksgiving, my aforementioned "favorite holiday" of the year? Let me explain... While I will, in some ways, mourn the loss of a year without Thanksgiving, it also can be viewed as a tremendous blessing. For one thing, seeing as though the English have no concept of our holiday, November 1st signals the ALL OUT START of Xmas replete with white lights, ribbons, trees, wreaths etc. I figure if I can't celebrate Turkey Day, then I may as well squeeze another few weeks out of the Xmas season. Also, seeing as though my Thanksgiving won't actually be occupied by the holiday itself, I now have more time for exploring this beautiful world of ours. Which leads me too #5...

5) Half-Naked Women Who Fall In Love With White Bulls-- If you are unfamiliar with the story, legend has it that Zeus, being the horny little king of the gods he was, fell in love with a beautiful mortal named Europa. Zeus then disguised himself as a handsome white bull to attract Europa and eventually carried her off for a wild love making session (Which makes me wonder if Europa coined the mid-sex tradition of moaning "Oh god! Oh god!"). Anyway, Europa's progeny went on to spread all over the continent which we now call, you guessed it, Europe. So if not for that saucy little lady, I may not be able to enjoy my Thanksgiving in Madrid, where I shall surely think of her every morning as I dine on a breakfast of churros and hot chocolate.

As for my peeps in the States... Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the bird (and I don't mean that in the "Leda and the Swan" kind of way).

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