mardi 16 février 2010

Happy Pancake Day!

When I saw the signs at my local supermarket stating that today is Pancake Day, I thought that either this must be a great country indeed, or that the supermarket is trying a new marketing ploy to get consumers to buy more baked goods. On further research, though, it turns out that Pancake Day is really a holiday here, though sadly, you don’t get a day off work to stay at home and eat pancakes.

Pancake Day is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. It is common to eat sweet pancakes with a little lemon as a way to live it up before Lent begins. Pancakes are considered an indulgence on this day because they contain ingredients like eggs, sugar and butter, which some people do not eat during Lent.

Some cultures celebrate Fat Tuesday with a big carnival full of rowdy, bawdy fun, but I guess the celebrations are just a bit more subdued here. While I do not really follow Lent, I still plan on having pancakes for breakfast! It’s a great way to start this rainy Tuesday on a positive note.

mercredi 10 février 2010

Putting Down Roots

For those of you that know us in real life, it might surprise you to hear us say that we are thinking of settling down in London. When we first moved here, we thought we wanted to just do our time in London to establish ourselves career-wise and then hurry back to France (or jet off to some new, unexplored land). Maybe it’s because of the baby, the sunny skies, the gourmet fare, or plain old age, but neither of us really wants to think about moving out of here.

Sure, Paris has many things going for it: it’s a very walkable city, the food is generally pretty good, and it feels very continental. London is expensive, sprawling, and a bit grayer.

So why do we like it here so much? First, compared to Paris, we have a lot of friends here, including English friends. It Paris, I went to the same bakery for months before the owner said more than a cursory greeting. And while we had some French friends, the majority of our friends were other expats.

London also feels a lot more cosmopolitan, mainly because of the mix of people that live here. In the mood for some Uighur food? Try the place down the road. Want some fufu? We have that nearby too. As Diego likes to say, London is really an airport with a city around it. For cultural mutts like us, living in a place with such a mixed identity has meant that we don’t feel like outsiders. Ultimately, too, finding a place to call home is about finding a place where you belong and that accepts you just as you are. And for now, at least, London is home.