Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas

For the first time in well over 15 years, I actually said these words to someone on Saturday who wasn't a friend or relative (read:  I know they celebrate Christmas, and thus the comment applies).  Not once, but twice! I was at Borough Market doing my usual Saturday food shopping, and at both the Flaxseed stand and the French Dairy stand (best French butter with sea-salt chunks, BTW...), both proprietors said "Merry Christmas" to me as I walked away and, instead of replying with my usual PC-ridden 'Happy Holidays!', I responded as well with 'Merry Christmas.'

I won't lie:  It felt weird to utter the phrase.  For better or worse, over the years, I've tried to be aware of the fact that not everyone celebrates Xmas-and thus 'Merry Christmas' might be irrelevant.  I've even taken it to the point of not buying 'Holiday cards' that overtly had any reference to Jesus, Santa, or anything that was clearly Christmassy.

So, when I got home from the market and told Simon about this-and about my previous behaviour, he effectively told me to get over it-Brits aren't that overly-sensitive about such a thing!

OK!  Well seeing as how I'm trying to be as accomodating of the culture in which I live (said with tongue firmly planted in my cheek...): Merry Christmas everybody!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Blog Post about Blogging

No, this isn't one of those blog posts where people talk about the millions of dollars/pounds/euro they've earned off their blogs-though, that would be nice....This is just a post about 'my blog.'  Sort of.

Somewhere over the last 2-3 days, I hit what I would call a milestone-though if you would have asked me about this 2 years ago, I wouldn't have thought it important at the time:  25 followers of my blog, American Expat in London.

Somewhere in the world, 25 people seem to think that what I have to say is interesting/funny/stupid (insert additional adjective here...) enough to actually not only stop by & read what I write from time to time, but actually tick a little box that says, 'yeah. i want to know when she's posted something new.'  Crazy.

Who are you people?!?  I say that in jest-as for many of you, I've started to follow your profiles back to your own blogs and have figured that out for myself.  But, I guess for you 25, me, and anyone else out there, I can't help but wonder, what is so [insert adjective here] about someone's personal blog to make you want to follow it?

As for me, I'm beginning to discover a few blogs from folks that are also American Expats in London, the UK, or elsewhere in the world.  Stuck in the Toffee Pudding is my latest discovery of an American Expat blog, or vice versa as Brits living in the US with  Expat Mum. And regardless of which side of the pond they've come from/gone to, I find comfort in the common pain-points of being an Expat, as well as the joys of discovering new things.

For a few other blogs, the ladies seem to cook some lovely recipes-and based on what I've tried from their blogs-can say from firsthand experience that the pictures don't lie.  Thanks, Intrepid Chef-your latest post on Ice Cream Pumpkin Pie looks fantastic!

Though ironically, one of the reasons I started this blog-to easily keep my friends back in the US up to date on my life-I find that Facebook seems to have taken care of that nicely.  Instead, I simply seem to be updating people who I either know here in the UK (hello Simon), long lost friends I haven't seen in years (but who discovered my blog on my Facebook profile), or any other number of people that seem to pop by from time to time. Go figure.

And, let's be honest:  for most of us who have a blog & blog with any level of regularity, there is an eensie weensie kernel of hope that 'someone' will discover our blog, realize what amazing writers & story tellers we are, and offer us large sums of money to publish what we've posted about.  I know there is a part of me that thinks that would be cool. It's not why I blog-and certainly not what I think about when blogging per se. But, from time to time, as I contemplate 'my blog', the thought does creep into my head.

OK.  I realize I've gone a bit long winded here.  But, the past month as I've been thinking about my blog, these are some of the random thoughts that have been floating around, and if for any other reason than to stay true to the reason I blog, I wanted to get it down.

Oh, and completely random...I'd like to add a new 'Weather widget' to my blog-one that isn't so big & ugly.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  I've looked around, but can't find anything...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thank You

It's a common phrase in the English language, but probably one that isn't used enough.  Nonetheless, at lunch today, a few of my British & American co-workers had a discussion about the different ways you can say 'thank you' here in England. Aside from the obvious 'thank you' and 'thanks', I think most folks are also familiar with 'cheers'-which, as it turns out can mean thanks, or a whole host of other things-like 'bye' or 'ok'.
But, one of my personal favorites that I'm hearing with increasing frequency the past 6 months is 'ta'.  In American-speak, on rare occasions, you may hear someone say 'ta-ta' as in goodbye, but apparently here in England, 'ta' means thank you.

I like it, but for some reason, can't bring myself to use it just yet.  I pepper a lot of my conversations these days with 'Brit-speak,' but I think it's the Brit-speak that is common enough that even if used in the US, folks would know what it means.  But, I guess because 'ta' hasn't crossed the pond yet  (has it?...let me know if it has!), I can't bring myself to use it.

I guess I just don't to come off sounding like some faux-Brit-speaking, Madonna-with-her-posh-accent-wannabe...

So, in the meantime, I guess I'll just keep saying thanks!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We're In! Hello Fat Duck.

This somewhat takes the sting of T'giving away... ;)

After talking about it for over a year, and actively trying to get a reservation for weeks now, we're booked for a meal at Fat Duck!

This is no easy feat: they only accept reservations 2 months in advance-to the date. And, as they book up usually the first 20 minutes of the day their phones are open at 10am, if you're not on the line at 9.59.59 am, you're usually out of luck.

I've tried for some time to no avail-and finally today, at 10.00.05 am, I got thru-and got a table! Oh, happy day. I wonder if it will be crass to take my camera and take pictures of everything?...

Simon's Birthday is Feb 2, so I've booked a Sunday lunch for January 31. I've decided to make an entire weekend out of the meal, but Simon only knows about Fat Duck (though, as I know he reads my blog from time to time, the secret probably won't last for long...). They're located in this adorable 'village' called Bray-about a 40 minute train ride out of London. I've booked a cute B&B for Saturday and dinner at The Hinds Head (the gastropub owned by the same chef as Fat Duck) for Saturday nite.

The tasting menu at Fat Duck is around £150/person, so it goes without saying that the cost of this weekend will basically be our entire entertainment budget for a good chunk of January! But, I'm so darned excited (chuffed as the Brits would say), I can't wait!

Turkey, schmurkey.