One of the nice things about living over here is that all of us get to celebrate a birthday overseas! Zachary had his in September, and Annika had hers at the end of October. Hers was special since we had her grandparents, RJ and Bob Steed from Happy Valley Oregon, come to visit us. Both of them had been to England before, but never up to the East Midlands. We showed them around Melton, took a bus into Leicester for the afternoon, ate a meal in a 300 year old pub….typical British things.
After her birthday was Halloween. Now Halloween in England, or at least in the Midlands, is not that big of a deal. At my school, being a Church of England school, Halloween is basically forbidden (too pagan). The kids at my school may go out and trick or treat and dress up, but nothing is done in the classrooms. My own children made some simple costumes, carved some pumpkins, and they went out with the neighbor kids Elena and Will to trick or treat. I stayed home and received close to 50 children, which was a surprise, although two groups of about 10-15 kids came by to make up the bulk of the trick or treaters.
Finally we had Guy Fawkes, or Bonfire, night. Basically Guy Fawkes and his cohorts, back a couple hundred years ago, tried to blow up Parliament over religious differences with King James I. He got caught and I believe was drawn and quartered. In England they celebrate every November 5th the fact that he did not blow up Parliament by blowing off fireworks and having a large bonfire. We were graciously invited by Peter and Linda Pearce, my exchange partner’s parents, to their home for supper. We had soup, sausages, and hamburgers. Then we walked down to the Thorpe-Arnold Cricket Club to watch the fireworks and see the bonfire.