Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Thanksgiving in England

Over American Thanksgiving (which coincided with Kurban Bayram - a Muslim holiday involving the sacrifice of a sheep to share within a whole community, especially with the poor - also a holiday of gratitude and sharing), I flew to England to meet my good friend, Sara, from Denver. We stayed at her family friends' home in Portsmouth; Jane and Tom dished out an amazing Tgiving feast, very impressive for Brits.

Some pics from a walk to the harbor:

Tom and Jane were kind enough to drive us to Stonehenge. Hattusa, the ancient Hittite capital in Turkey USED to be the oldest thing I have seen, but on this trip, it became Stonehenge.

It was a short holiday, but we opted to take a train to the nearby southern town of Bristol. Bristol turned out to be a cool university mini-city. We did lots of walking, visited the Xmas market where I was happy to get my picture taken with Santa on stilts. We stumbled upon an offbeat hip part of town where we enjoyed a vegatarian dinner and good beer, an area not too far from our hostel (which was sandwiched in between two pubs, and so we were handed ear plugs at the reception desk). We also ate yummy Indian food, and saw the show, Cabaret, at the Hippodrome. Theatre and Indian food were my only two requirements on this trip, besides seeing Sara.

The trip was less about sightseeing and being a tourist, and more about spending time with her. As a result, I don't have any pictures of Bristol. Weird...I must have been gazing fondly at Sara the whole time I was there.

On our last night in Portsmouth, we walked to an inn for fish and chips, and I particularly enjoyed the Xmas ambiance, coming from a Muslim holiday and all.

Although a British citizen for the past 8 years since I acquired dual citizenship when my dad passed away, this was my first time in the Motherland. Surprisingly, nothing was all that suprising to me....it felt like home in many ways. The folks we stayed with had the same house decor, ate the same meals, used the same humor as my dad and his side of the family. And the countryside continually reminded me of NJ and the East Coast where I grew up - I realized how "colonial" the East Coast architecture is....especially Princeton. I kept expecting to see my mom when I was there, because I swore I was in NJ. It even rained tons and was ridiculously green like NJ in the spring and fall. I look forward to returning to northern England at some point - where my family is from (and some semi-distant relatives still live), and explore the places I have heard stories about, the places where my grandparents and my father lived -- but that is a separate trip. All in all, seeing Sara was a great introduction to the holiday season...

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