Christ back in Christmas

When we moved to the US more than five years ago, I was honestly a little surprised with a few cultural differences.  I guess that is what to be expected and all people talk about cultural shock.  It was not a shock where I went into seizure or panic crying, but more like “W-T-F?”.

I fully support political correctness, but we also have to be realistic and not overdue it.

keepchristWhen I first saw some adds for Christmas, or should I say festive holidays, I was surprised when I read “Bring Christ back in Christmas.  In my head I was like “oh no, another Christian fanatic message trying to preach about Jesus.” But as I’ve lived and worked in the US for a few years, I can start to relate to that message.

Not necessarily the religious message about Christ and waiting for his second coming.  But the fact that we cannot say Christmas any longer.  That is starting to worry me, and the political correctness has stepped over the line.

Why is it that we cannot say ‘Merry Christmas’ to our colleagues?

We are being told that we offend people who do not celebrate Christmas.  I understand that some people may be celebrating HanukkahKwanzaa, or other holidays like Diwali or Mawlid … or nothing at all.  And by using the political correct phrase “Happy Holidays” we apparently avoid discriminating or offending anybody.

I’m calling BS on that way of thinking.  Why is it that we should (and must) express our well wishes to other special holidays, but cannot share the same courtesy for Christmas?

I have friends from many different religions, and none of them seem offended when Christmas is mentioned, and they wish me a Merry Christmas.  I’m just as respectful for their holidays and will offer them my well wishes for their special days.

Some shops are even banning Christmas decorations such as Nativity scene, but will happily put up the Menorah.  I don’t see a problem showing baby Jesus in the manger, while the wise men are holding a Menorah.

For many, saying Merry Christmas may not even be a religious statement, but rather a celebration for the family, and admiration for Santa Claus.

Treat people the way you want to be treated.  This also means respect other religious holidays, without blocking out Christmas.  It does not give you the right to send a Merry Christmas card to people who do not believe in your holiday, but I may send a card to my Jewish friends wishing them Happy Hanukkah.

If this trend continues, then one day we are going to be a sanitised country, where we don’t celebrate any holidays in public.  We have to show that we are proud of being Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and other cool religions.  We have to be able to celebrate and respect our holidays – that does not mean blocking them out with saying ‘Happy Holidays’.

Listen, if the atheists would have some sort of special day, then they are welcome to celebrate it too. They seem to be busy blocking everyone else.  I guess if they don’t have a special day, then other people can’t enjoy their days.  To me that is just rude and inconsiderate.

Anyway, Merry Christmas my friends … and Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Mawlid, and enjoy all the other special holidays. Don’t hold back celebrating your special days.

Thank you America!

thanksIt is the time of the year where millions of Americans travel across the country to celebrate Thanksgiving.  It is probably the only holiday they can agree to celebrate, no matter which religious belief you might have.  These mass migrations take place leading up to the last Thursday in November, and the entire road, rail and air systems are gridlocked.  They want to spend time with their families, and eat an innocent turkey.

It is a sense of belonging and greatfullness that started back in the day, when the firtst settlers sat down with the native indians to eat food.  And, just because of that gesture by the native indians, the settlers survvied and learned to integrate into the American ecosystem.

The actual meal in itself is ‘just’ another excuse to eat excessively.  There is a large selection of scrumptious pies, multitude of sides, sweet potato mash with marshmallows, and of course the main star of the dinner – the turkey.

The turkey itself is most times larger than the oven.  It is actual difficult finding a turkey less than 18lbs, and I often wonder what they feed these suckers since they are that large.  They are not obese, but nice and firm.

We moved here 5+ years ago, and the US has taken us in and made us feel very welcome.  99% of the people we’ve met are super friendly, and they never question why we are here.

One of the key things my wife and I have agreed upon, is that no-matter which country we live in, we have to integrate.  This integration starts with adoption and celebrating the holidays and key events.  You need to know these and show appreciation of the events.

We love thanksgiving.  We understand why it is celebrated and love the fact that this day is a very important family day.  It makes us feel part of the country and culture, especially when colleagues and friends invite us to their special days.

The other side which we we love is the food. OMG!

The food for thanksgiving is absolutely amazing.  No wonder I have gained 20lbs.  It’s another blog just to talk about food, but it is fantastic.  Many Europeans don’t really understand the excessive eating, but we have fully embraced it.

You will never integrate if you do not participate.  That’s what many foreigners don’t get.  It does not mean you have to give up your national identify and heritage, but merely that you respect the country you live in.  The country that has adopted you and given you opportunities to grow.  That is how you respect and thank it.

But why do we celebrate Thanksgiving in our family, since we weren’t here hundreds of years ago and have limited connection to the history of Thanksgiving?

We are proud to live here.  America has given us opportunities we didn’t have elsewhere.  We are thankful for being allowed to participate, and we are even more thankful for being included in their culture.  Our kids are flourishing.  We have met new friends.  We have a wonderful life.  We love life!

It is not easy to explain, but we feel at home here.  That is why we are thankful.  We thank the American people for welcoming us with open arms.

Thank you ‘Merica!

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Absent

wooshWoosh!

July just flew by in a flash, and I didn’t really get a chance to submit and publish any new posts.  Well, I shared a funny video of Fallon and Cruise singing duet, but that doesn’t really count.

The month kicked off really well with 4th of July celebrations – quiet BBQ in the backyard with the family, but had to go on business trip to Amsterdam for a week.  It’s great travelling with work, but I prefer to spend traveling time with my family.

Amsterdam is pretty cool to visit, but still think the ‘red light district’ is a strange concept.  More about that in another post.

The rest of July was dedicated to my family visiting from Denmark.  That was the best 3 weeks in a long long time, and fantastic to spend some quality time with my sister again.  They’ll be back to visit I’m sure.

Short post event shorter, I’m back writing posts and apologizes for the short lapse in releasing new materials.

Demystify the Irish

We’ve been in the US for almost three years and I must admit we are pretty much settled in.  Well, I still don’t understand the bloody health system and slightly overwhelmed with the oversized portions at the restaurants.  No wonder I’m gaining weight, when my mother always told me that I have to finished what I’m being served!

Anyway, one of the more amusing things about having an Irish accent and being familiar with many Irish sayings, are that many Americans have some difficulties understanding some of the phrases/words that I utter at times.  They politely smile or laugh, but I can tell that they don’t fully get the meaning of some of my words.

With the help from a few Irish sites (such as irishcentral.com), mixed with my own experiences, I’ve gathered a few things that only Irish people get – please understand, I’m only taking the piss here 🙂

So, here are a few things and words you need to learn when chatting with a person from the Emerald Isle.

  • No matter the time of day (or night) there’s always time for a cuppa tea – and it would be an insult to any Irish mum if you refused a cuppa.  Some might even be very persistent about you having a cuppa.
  • If an Irish says he’ll put on his runners, then be prepared to stand aside as he’s about to go running for a few laps.  You see, you are using these shoes for running!
  • The word ‘yoke’ can be used for many things and often replace words we don’t know or can’t remember when trying to explain something.
  • “Where’s me jumper” is actually an emotional song about a sweater
  • Chipper is the local burger / fast food joint.  It’s also the local hangout for youth and the last visit when heading home from a night out on the piss
  • The boot is in US known as the trunk of a car, which utterly confuses people in the US
  • Stuffed means full after eating and not something one does to an animal after killing it
  • 7up has magical powers – it cures anything from upset stomach, relieves vomiting, cures hangover and can clean chrome of your Ford Focus
  • “State of your one” is perhaps a little easier, but it often means that a person is not doing great
  • Just having one pint does not exist when drinking with an Irish person.  Also, please note the rules about drinking with one or more Irish people; you all pay for a round of gargle aka beer
  • It’ll be grand can be used with any discussion or any event.  Everything will be fine … roughly translated
  • Spuds, or more politely known as potatoes, are used with most dishes.  Well, you cannot enter an Irish home without stumbling over a sack of potatoes.
  • Most Irish people like their meat is well done – close to charcoal coloured and flavoured.
  • Most conversations at gatherings involve some level of rain debates, or simply talking about the weather
  • As a matter of fact, most rain showers in Ireland last for about 10 minutes and the Irish will known when to seek shelter.  Always carry a brolly when visiting Ireland.
  • If in doubt, taxi drivers have all the answers
  • Lastly, but the best of all, is bollocks.  I’m not going to explain this in much detail.  You can look it up
  • Gobshite –  a cool and exotic expression for a person who’s utterly unpleasant

And for the record, please don’t show an Irish person a two-finger salute.

You should also be aware that many Irish people have an extensive vocabulary when it comes to using strong language – the beauty is, they don’t mean any harm, it’s just the way they speak.  So, don’t be offended if an Irish says “howya ye auld fecker!”

So, what’s the story ye eejit?  🙂

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