Archive for » November, 2011 «

Home is somewhere…

To be honest I don’t know if I’m flying to or from home. I’m on my flight from Miami, Florida to London and I can’t figure out if I am leaving home or heading home. So how does one really define home?

I mean, I grew up in Florida, I spent the first 18 years of my life in Florida, my parents live in Florida, I have a Florida driver’s license and I still consider myself a Floridian.

However, I haven’t lived in Florida in over a decade, my parents don’t live in the house or city I grew up in, 2 out of 3 of my siblings live in different states and I can’t even name my Congressional representative. Moreover, most of my belongings are with me in London, as is my job, and most importantly my partner. But does that make London my home?

Does a place automatically become your home after so much time? If so, what length of time? If the cutoff is 2 years than I have made my home, besides Florida, in Las Vegas, Charleston and Washington, DC. But I don’t think it’s the length of time you are there because some places feel like home from the first day and others never really feel like home.

Maybe it depends on the people you have in your life? In Rome, I had amazing friends that I had only 1 year with, but many of them are still strong influences in my life. And having a partner in a place can make it feel like home, though I had a boyfriend in Charleston and never really felt at home there.

It could possibly depend on your purpose in the place? If you are only there for university which you know will only be for a specific period of time it may be hard to call it home. And really Las Vegas was never really home, though there may exist other reasons for that ;) Or if you know your work contract is only for a year, again it may be difficult to call a place home.

So what is my conclusion? My conclusion is this: home is not where you stuff is, it is not necessarily where you parents live, home is not always where you currently live, and it is not where you have lived the longest.

In the simplest terms, though slightly corny, home is where your heart is. So if your heart yearns for the sun and surf of Florida where your parents live, than that is home. And if your heart longs for the friends, sights and sounds of Washington, DC, than that is home. And if the hot summer days of Rome kindle your fire for romance and food while reminding you of how you have changed, than that is home. And if your heart is warmed when you cuddle with your loved one on a chilly, London night while you stroll the foggy streets, than that is home. In short, home is more than one place for me, and yet, it is exactly where my heart is.

From a place I call home,
Carly

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Sundays are my Funday

I know that I use the word love a lot. Maybe even too much, at least that is what Miguel says. Interestingly, in most Latin languages you use the word love only for a person that you love, not the mother or sister love, but the lover-partner-love. That said, I remain firm in my love of Sundays. There is just something special about Sundays…

I remember as a kid dreading Sundays because it signalled the end of the weekend, the end of the fun, free time. I remember the feeling of dread I got in the pit of my stomach as the sun would start to set on Sunday evening – I would become anxious about the week ahead. Then at some point that all changed…

The change was actually spurred by an ex-boyfriend who took Sundays on, not with trepidation, but with gusto! He embraced them to no end and he introduced me to the term ‘Sunday Funday’. Our relationship is now defunct, I fact I am beyond happy about, but he did leave with me a love of Sundays.

No longer do I see Sundays as a day to mourn the end of the weekend, but instead a day for waking up late, eating a massive, gluttonous brunch with friends, drinking alcohol earlier than socially acceptable, discovering new spots for exploration and basking in the glow of friendship and life that are all blissfully brought together on this beautiful day called Sunday.

And with our move to London, the love has not subsided in the least! I must admit that a wonderful brunch is at times hard to find, even if the Brits did invest , but it deters me not in my Sunday love affair. Whether its a homemade brunch with friends and my mom’s French toast casserole recipe…

Or discovering a new little brunch spot off the beaten path, Boulangerie Bon Matin with their tasty pastry selection…

To a proper “Full English” – more Miguel’s style than my own…

So as you can see, Sundays are no longer the dreadful end to my weekend. Instead now when the sun sets on my Sunday, I evaluate the successes of the day and look forward excitedly to next Sunday.

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Tricks and Treats

I have a dark little secret. Others will deny this feeling per social norms, but I will admit it without hesitation… I love Halloween! It is my favorite holiday by far!

Christmas: too consumerist.
New Years: too much hype.
Thanksgiving: too much food.

The only one that come close is the 4th of July, for multiple reasons, but for argument’s sake I am sticking with my original statement: Halloween is my favorite holiday!

Why do I love Halloween you ask? Well, to start on a selfish note, Halloween is only a few weeks after my birthday so I fondly associate the two together. And I have wonderful memories of having a birthday-costume party one year at our house in Horse Shoe Acres. I went as horseback rider, complete with my riding pants and riding boots :) Beyond fond memories of dressing up as a red M&M as a kid and as a clown when I was quite young and then as a flapper girl in my late twenties, I just really love dressing up and wearing costumes.

It is the fun of picking out your costume – it is the challenge to be creative and original. Never mind cost, originality is what wins costume competitions! There is the fun of the hunt for those perfect items! What is a flapper girl without her fringe dress?!?! But not just the plastic, fake ones in the costume shop, but a $10 dress from H&M bought in August is the real treasure. Or finding the perfect snake-skin patterned dress to complete your Medusa costume (shot out to my girl Lizzy ;) Or finding the perfect wig to aid in your Japanese Geisha costume. It is all a challenge and a thrill when put together!

Beyond the preperation, the execution is just as fun – gathering at a friend’s place to prep for the night out while sampling some witch’s punch and eating spider-shaped cookies. And then there are the decorations of the house. Whether you prefer store-bought items or homemade crafts a lá Martha Stewart, it makes you home/apartment into your very own festive celebration!

And then there is the candy and the trick or treaters! I look forward to the day when I can be the woman in th neighborhood that all the kids want to visit! I’ll have to spookiest pad and give out the best treats while wearing the coolest costume! Ok, ok, really this fantasy is many years off for me. But I do have distinctive memories of trick or treating and then going home to sort through all the goodies I received and swapping what I didn’t enjoy for my favorites, like Reeses pieces and Snickers bars.

So as anyone can see my love of runs deep and true. But just to add a cheery on top, Halloween is also important for one more reason… Miguel and I first met on Halloween night in 2009. Mind you, I was dressed as a Japanese Geisha with a wig and white face paint so I can’t say it was love at first sight for him. And on my end all I remember is thinking “who’s the @$$hole who didn’t dress up?!??” Luckily, we were able to move past that, but I do find it serendipitous that I meet my love on the holiday I love the most. Sigh…

So what’s really the point of this pos beyond my Halloween fetish confession? Well it’s about London of course! This is the great thing about living abroad, you get to see how a predominantly American celebration has been exported around the world. This is also the downside of living abroad, no matte how you try, it’s never the same! And so here begins the next part of the post….

Halloween in the UK is different. Fullstop. Why is it? How? In what sense is it just a poor rip off? First let’s start with costumes. People don’t start talking about their costumes in September! Not even once October starts. Actually they don’t start thinking about it till about October 27th! On top of that there is a serious lack of creativity. This may be partially do to the restriction that everything must be dead. So that pretty much leaves you with zombies, vampires, witches, devils and so on. How ever this rule does appear to be broken by 13 to 30 women who appear to just put on some lingerie and throw on some fake ears and call themselves a bunny. In this instance, I will admit that this is not so different than the US. Nevertheless, there is a serious lack of creativity here.

And though seeing little children run from door to door was enjoyable and made me smile, the little ones suffered from the same lack of creativity as their adult counterparts. However, I did hear a rumour that English kids in some areas actually threaten people with tricks and demand cash! This sounds more like extortion than trick or treating to me! Nevertheless, I don’t think in our most Orthodox Jewish neighborhood we have to worry about that.

Still the lack of jack-o-lanterns and witches hanging from the door made me think that maybe I should let go of my childish, Halloween-loving ways and embrace the ways of my adopted home…

That thought lasted a whole minute before I made some very important findings: Halloween is American and I am American. Thus, by thein mathematics I am Halloween! And I have a patriotic duty to celebrate Halloween no matter where I am!

So armed with my new Halloween affirmation, construction paper, a pair of scissors, some pumpkins, a bed sheet, nail polish and my ‘Can Do’ American attitude I transformed our apartment and ourselves into a manifestation of Halloween! See the picture of Miguel and I below for proof!

Happy Halloween!
Carly