James Bond, Pocahontas, and LIVE reindeer!

One of the neat, and sometimes confusing, things about living in a foreign country is celebrating holidays that you’ve never even heard of before.  The latest example of this for me is Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Night/Thank God the King’s Alive Night (I might have made up that last one so I could kind of remember what it was about?).  I realize that it’s completely wrong to use Wikipedia as a source, but here’s a quick explanation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Fawkes_Night.  Jenn, being the great researcher that she is, looked up which fireworks displays would be the best, and so we found ourselves in Hammersmith on Friday evening.  And while we found ourselves as some of the only single people without children, we were able to still have an amazing time with loads of food and fun.

As the fireworks explode, and you’re listening to the famous James Bond tunes set to the explosives, you really hope to see Daniel Craig pop out from behind a tree in a gorgeous suit.  And then when you realize that the fireworks are indeed the form of entertainment (well, apart from the DJ who had a surprisingly excellent singing voice when belting out Neil Diamond), you are very thankful to drown your Bond-woes in the cup of mulled wine that you were able to get from the “alcoholic coffee” vendor.  And it’s only 10 minutes into the show that you find yourself able to stop panicking that the trees located extremely nearby aren’t going to burst into flames…apparently I have spent too much time in a drought-ridden state, and am a little too conscious of Smoky the Bear.

Our holiday activities didn’t end with the fireworks; on Saturday we shifted to an all too familiar holiday tradition: the Christmas parade.  We arrived at the famous Harrod’s early Saturday morning for the parade, and I knew it was going to be good when they started to let the fake snow fly.  And then I knew it was going to be even better when I realized that the “Harrod’s Girls” were going to be constantly making the rounds with chocolate and juice boxes (I’m not entirely sure they had a label, but as they were all wearing reeeeally tight pants, I have to assume that it was something along those lines.  Sure, they were all wearing baggy sweatshirts, but it was a children’s parade…you can’t be too over-the-top).  But it really was the live reindeer and Disney Princesses that were the icing on the cake…seriously, every single Disney Princess made a debut in her own horse-drawn carriage, and then you finish the parade off with Santa and actual reindeer??  In the beginning of November??  The Christmas shenanigans have started with an incredible bang!

We also had our first firedrill in the halls last night…at 10:30 PM. And while that has nothing to do with a holiday, it reminded me of my Downey Hall days, and then the realization hit me: I have learned absolutely nothing from these experiences in the past 7 1/2 years.  I never grabbed a coat in those chilly Wyoming drills, and I didn’t grab one last night either!  I also would just follow protocol blindly and throw on shoes and get outta dodge without at least trying  to not show the general public what a mess I am behind closed doors.  What did I do last night?  Skipped the coat, threw on the first pair of shoes I saw (bright pink ballet flats…), and made my way to the “gathering point” in the gardens across the street.  I didn’t realize until I was surrounded by 18 year olds that I was still wearing my reindeer pj’s…awesome.  Good God almighty, I must really be comfortable in my own skin…or have the inability to deviate from fire procedure…one of those.

Here are a couple o’ snapshots from the weekend…Jenn and I trying to stay warm before the fire in the sky began, Santa and Mrs. Clause and their parade of LIVE reindeer (although the professional photographer wouldn’t get out of my way, so they’re a bit blurry and amateurish), and the beautiful Saturday morning, complete with fake snow and loads of balloons.  The perfect distractors from my overwhelming amount of reading, and now I can’t stop listening to Christmas music…

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