Expat’s World Blog Surf Day

I’ve decided to participate in this year’s event where expat bloggers link entries so that readers can “travel” around the world on one theme from various countries. This year’s theme: “Holidays and Celebrations”. We are meant to answer the question, “What is your favorite new holiday and how it is celebrated?”

Seeing as I come from America and have moved to the UK, the holidays are not as drastically different as they would be if I, say, moved to India. So, I will say that I do not have a favourite new holiday exactly (besides Guy Fawkes Day because I love fireworks), but living in London means that I get to experience so many holidays and cultural celebrations I had never even heard of when I lived in the States. And that is quite incredible. London is accomodating to pockets of people from all over the world who celebrate as if they were back home.

The most recent example of a holiday I enjoyed that I wouldn’t have experienced back home is Dwali, the Festival of Light, which I posted on few weeks ago. K and I ventured down to Southall, an Asian community where fireworks exploded across the night sky in every direction, little diyas and tea light candles were placed on front steps of houses and families and friends gathered outside to socialise.

If you choose a country, likely there is a celebration in London to acknowledge it. Chinese New Year falls on Valentine’s Day in 2010,  the year of the tiger. The city will be alive with an alternative to the forced romance with fireworks, dancing, Chinese food and festive fun.

Beyond set holidays, the city is teeming with culture and film festivals that reach the significant proportion of London’s population who are expats and anyone else who is interested. There is the chaotic Notting Hill Carnival in August every year which celebrates Caribbean culture with a massive costume parade, sound systems, jerk chicken and plenty of partying all around. There’s Canada Day which offers music and relaxation around Nelson’s Column. Other weeks bring Russia and Japan and Brazil out into the spotlight.

I can even have a taste of home if I like with American expats who organise events in celebration of Thanksgiving and even the 4th of July – independence from a nation we crazy expats have turned back to embrace.


Zuzanna, also in London, is up next at Success Abroad so be sure to check out her post and her awesome site as well.

And a thanks to Twitter Reporter, Karen, who blogs at “Empty Nest Expat.” Karen is an American expat blogger last seen in Prague. The Wall Street Journal said, “Her blog makes a fun read for anyone looking for reassurance that change can be a wonderful thing–and also for anyone interested in visiting the Czech Republic.”


Photo Scavengers – October

This will be quite a long entry as is it is a result of the Photo Scavenger hunt for October. The main site is here if you want to check it out or join in. Some of these photos have already been posted here, so I will make them smaller.

1.   Cosy
Strangers snuggled up under a willow tree in Camden
2.   A stranger
For this one, I did something I never did before and worked up the nerve to approach a stranger for a photo. I got talking to her because she was selling lapis lazuli jewellery from Afghanistan in Camden Market for a man who was away to see his family in Kabul. When I asked her, she was amazingly cooperative, found a cool place to stand. She said, “You know, I’m flattered. I used to be a model you know. Many years ago. I ain’t got the face anymore, but I’ve still got the body.”

3.   An icon of your city
Two for one deal – Big Ben and the London Underground.

4.   Childhood
This little girl was hanging out in Hampstead on Sunday while we were watching the Morris Dancers.

Something red and green
Not the best image as far as photography goes, but instead of red and green foliage photos, I chose this one because I thought the concept was pretty cool to fit the key word (along with the colours, of course).
6.   A pattern or texture
This was taken near St James’s Park.
7.   Street art
This is above a garage on Portobello Road.

8.   An image that could be a book cover
For some sort of thriller novel…This is from the edge of the City.

9.   Old
A lively Morris Dancer in Hampstead, taking a break from his performance.

10.   New
New growth, Ravenscourt Park, West London

11.   A shadow or silhouette
A silhouette of branches against the sunset over Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath in North London.

12.   Language
Bilingual English/Bengali street sign off Brick Lane, East London

13.   Music
Camden Market

14.   Autumn
So many Autumn photos this month, but this is Hampstead Heath.

An animal
Okay, I have some fluffy ones as well, but decided to opt for the bird on a sign. Found this one in St. James’s park one evening. The bird just stood there looking about, not a care in the world.

16.   A place to contemplate life
Hampstead Heath again… what can I say? It’s a good place for photos. And comtemplating life…

17.   Something that begins with the letter O
O is for “orange”, a coloured building that stands out in Covent Garden.

18.   A reflection on water
St. James’s Park

19.   An interesting perspective
D and a lonely tree in Hampstead Heath.

20. A self-portrait
Just me in my room.

Tube Tales for a Thursday

The dynamics of a tube ride always amuse me. Here’s some random observations (I live and work on the Central Line at the moment, so they are mostly there.):

Sunday afternoon, Northern Line: An exceptionally tall couple cosy up with Dogalogue, a catalogue of dog holiday cards, gift wrap, clothing and games that benefit guide dogs.

Sunday evening, Central Line: A small child leaps into his mother’s lap, throwing his skinny arms around his neck. He says, “Mummy, I love you!”

Tuesday morning, Central Line: It’s always interesting to see so many people sitting so close together but going completely different places, leading completely different lives and getting lost in their own little worlds on the tube. There are people reading books of all genres, magazines in dfferent languages, knitting scarves, playing sudoku, digging through handbags, putting on makeup and listening to iPods.

Wednesday morning, Central Line: A bag covers a piece of gum stuck to the seat across from me. A woman comes by, bends down to lift the bag, puts it back down and walks on. This occurs over and over until the seats are full except that one and the people around me chuckle quietly to themselves each time. Finally, a girl lifts the bag and seeing that there are no more seats, puts it back down and sits on it.

Thursday morning, Central Line: A woman precariously balances her handbag, an apple, a coffee and a make-up case on her lap while tring not to poke out the eye of the man next to her with her elbow while she applies her mascara and people pile in to stand around her. I was waiting for disaster, but alas, she is a pro.