My mom and Wanda left a few days before Halloween. It was nice to have something to look forward to after they left so that we wouldn’t feel too sad.
With that said, however, Halloween is not a big deal in the U.K. In the States, Christians have “Christianized” Halloween. What I mean is that Christians have adapted the holiday into something else. It has become a time for fall festivals, dressing up and carving pumpkins. Although there are Americans who use Halloween as a dark holiday, Christians in the States tend to avoid those things.
In the U.K., however, Christians have not adapted the holiday but rather have separated themselves from it. While there are people who celebrate the holiday, it tends to be rather dark as a result of Christians not having any part in it.
After my first Halloween in the U.K. I understand why Christians do not participate in the holiday. However, I love some of our American traditions like pumpkin carving and dressing up, and I thought it’d be something fun for Philip.
Thankfully Aldis, which was close to our house, had some pumpkins for sale. Pumpkins, like Halloween, are not a big deal in the U.K. I was told of at least one farm outside of Cambridge that started growing pumpkins as a result of so many Americans looking for pumpkins! But it was still a far cry from any kind of American pumpkin patch. Canned pumpkin puree was even more difficult to find! Most Britons find cooking pumpkin gross. I was only able to find it at one Tesco with the help of some friends.
Interestingly, however, when we were in Switzerland a few weeks later we saw a lot of pumpkins.
The day before Halloween we carved a pumpkin and put it out by the door. Our home was the only one on our street with a pumpkin outside the door!
For last Halloween I ordered a superhero costume off Zulilly for Philip, but we never used it as Philip was scared of masks and capes. So, I packed it with our things and brought it with us to England for this year’s Halloween. Thankfully Philip was into super heroes and was giddy over his new costume. The costume did not come with clothes, so I went to Marks & Spencer (M&S) and found these Superman pjs for him to wear under his garb.
Our dearest friends in Cambridge, who also were American, told us about a church in town that was offering a little Halloween party. Since there’s very little trick-or-treating (actually we never saw anyone trick-or-treating!), we set off with Superman on his scooter to the church. Thankfully the weather was nice and Philip loved his scooter because we walked over 1.5 miles to get to the church!
Philip was glad to see his friends, Caroline and Amelia and had fun eating some sweets, but the festival/party was unfortunately not that great. It was small, unorganized and a little lame. After the party, we walked another mile into town and had dinner at an Italian restaurant. By the time we were done with dinner we called it a night and took the bus back home.
Fall was such a bitter-sweet time for us. Bitter in that the days were getting shorter, the weather was turning, and our time in Cambridge was drawing to a close, but sweet in that the air was crisp, the leaves were beautiful and we had many play dates with our friends.
One Saturday, Osvaldo, Philip and I went into town to John Lewis, one of Britain’s most popular department stores. It’s a very nice department store. I grew extremely fond of many of the stores in the U.K., like John Lewis and M&S. John Lewis had a really sweet Christmas commercial about a penguin and while visiting the store they had a photo booth/display based on the commercial.
On this same Saturday, we walked over to M&S to eat lunch at its cafe. We had never eaten there and wanted to try it. On the first floor of M&S is a grocery store and on the second floor is a cafe that uses ingredients that the store sells. The quality of food at M&S is superb and our lunch that day was amazing. We had a typical British meal — pot pie and mashed potatoes with gravy. And, check out the view of the church and college from the window! Beautiful.
Those last few days of Fall were really special. There were so many picturesque moments when walking across town. I tried taking pictures whenever I could so that I wouldn’t forget. I felt very blessed to get to live in that city.
Finally, before the winter set in, Philip and I went and got haircuts. I took Philip to an old, classic barber shop in the city centre. It was fun to see Philip in an old, English barber shop getting his haircut alongside English men. One of the best gifts Ozzie gave to me while in Cambridge was paying for me to go to a nice English salon to get a haircut. I had a fantastic experience and received one of the best haircuts I’ve had. It was a wonderful experience for us both to get English haircuts!
When we left for Switzerland shortly afterward, we said goodbye to fall in Cambridge for when we returned winter had set in. More on that next time.