fairy lights

“Fairy lights” are what you would call a string of  little white lights if you were British. Maybe if you were some other nationality also but I am too lazy for Google right now. Imagine that.

If you’re American though, they’re “Christmas lights”. Poop on that, right? So lame. I am totally calling them Fairy Lights from now on because it sounds prettier and sweeter and somehow, bizarrely and nonsensically, more accurate. Also, I won’t feel like a guilty Jew when I string them up around December. YAY FAIRIES. I might as well also mention that little cupcakes are Fairy Cakes. In fact, all cupcakes might be Fairy Cakes. I don’t even know. Sometimes I make concerted efforts to be bilingual and then someone rains on my parade. The other night when I was trying to explain to Bryan in front of three English people that “Smarties” in the UK are not the pastel-colored sugary candy he was thinking of, but rather a brightly-colored candy-coated chocolate like “the British M&Ms”, one of the English people guffawed at me. Oh sorry I called Smarties British M&Ms. SUE ME.

There there. So it was a very nice weekend. Besides the freezing cold and 4:30pm sunsets and on-and-off rain, London has been very pleasant lately. We took Jonah to the Science Museum on Saturday and he was surprised in the toddler room by his Aunt Kaci! Then we enjoyed the lovely ice skating rink and overlooking cafe set up every holiday season next to The Natural History Museum.

Kaci is here all the way from Seattle for work, circumnavigating the globe several times in what sounds to me like a very exciting series of business trips. But then, the most exciting place I have ever been for my recent job was Canary Wharf. Some of you know what I mean. Oh sorry, it’s not all about me.

The next day we went to Mestizo for some Mexican brunch. I can’t tell you how welcome a sight steaming vats of all-you-can-eat Mexican food were to me on a freezing day in England. I was so beside myself with joy (or maybe it was too many horchatas) I honestly said to a friend when stymied by the posted labels of the food, “Oh no, I can’t read Mexican.” He is a Barcelona native so my terrifically stupid remark was probably even worse than I imagined.

But what’s my point? The brunch was originally planned for 4 people and within 24 hours it was increased to 15. I was thinking to myself on the way there about why that was. I don’t remember those kinds of things happening in my life as often as they seem to happen in London. And the conclusion I came to is that life is just different when everyone you know is from somewhere else far away and has no family or deep roots in the city you all now call home. People are available and spontaneous and up for it. I have often thought that there are faint elements of our life here that remind me of summer camp or college. Some very whisper-soft and deferentially polite suggestion that maybe it is not completely real life. Or at least what we all thought real life was going to be like.



Filed under family, food, friends, jonah, london, photos, translation, weather

11 responses to “fairy lights

  1. Hurray for Aunt Kaci! And I do know what you are talking about in your last few sentences. But I also think you bring the magic with you.

  2. Faye

    who’s the girl in the white shirt looking really full? she should smile….

  3. sonjey

    Wonderful post. So cool to make the connection of college and camp days. For some of us…. the fondest of memories.

  4. DM

    I would appreciate clarification re: size of fairy cakes as well. I’m befuddled that this hasn’t come up during my stay here yet.

  5. Fairy lights don’t have to be white, you know 🙂

  6. toshalot

    Somehow I’ve had 2 Jewish roommates here in the bay. So I hang only white lights during the holidays bc I remember that you could always justify the white lights as non denominational holiday celebration. I actually now prefer just white lights. And I LOVE calling them fairy lights! Anywho, I envy your 15 large impromptu lunch. I’m in a bad mood these days bc my friends always always cancel 😦

  7. rheaoconnorwax

    loved this post! I was just having to explain to my English husband the difference between American Smarties and English Smarties. This conversation was brought on by me sharing stories about trick or treating.
    I remember dumping out my pillow case and make separate piles of candy. Candy bars went together, suckers, fruit candies and then the dreaded Smarties. My husband had never been trick or treating in his life! Maybe he’ll give it a go when we live in MN 🙂

  8. yael

    Good input, everyone! I think I read somewhere that lights are for the winter solstice so I guess I don’t feel guilty either way. But I am sticking with Fairy Lights.

    So I didn’t read this very carefully but maybe cupcakes and fairy cakes are the same: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cupcake. However, in the UK when you buy “muffing cases” at the store for baking they are the size of a cupcake and then the ones sold for cupcakes are small.

    I definitely loved Trick or Treating so much, I did it way past my prime. In retrospect, I am embarrassed I was asking for candy at stranger’s houses when I was 17.

    • fairy cakes are what we used to call cupcakes before the late 90/00’s when ‘cupcakes’ were imported from the US by various shops – they were always fairy cakes until then.

      Muffin tins were always for american-style muffins (obviously muffins are savoury things that you use in Eggs Benedict 🙂 )

      Fairy cakes WERE always generally smaller than what seems to have become the standard size for cupcakes – we always made them in the 12-hole tins.

      It’s a minefield once you get into it 🙂

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