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So what is a newyorksubalien...

I’m a New York subalien. Don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly legal – it’s just my loving other half, official alien that he is, comes with a so-called “supermodel” visa that apparently denotes him as one possessing extraordinary abilities (falling asleep within 5 minutes of sitting down in front of the TV, remembering only 2 of the 3 items on a mental shopping list and not knowing where the dishwasher tablets live after 2 years in our apartment are just some of his many talents).

The same visa leaves me extraordinarily unable to possess that most American of entities - a “social” i.e. a Social Security Number. Calling it a “social” makes it sound like the password to some party-filled, fun-packed lifestyle. That’s not far wrong as without these all-important 9 numbers, you pretty much can’t have a lifestyle at all - no bank account, no credit card, not even a driver’s license.

So what does a subalien do? Well, like over sub life forms waiting for evolution to give them a leg up on the ladder of existence, I have plenty of time to observe and these, dear reader, are my observations…..

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy Christmahanakwanzaka!

The first snow has fallen on New York this morning which makes it even easier to offer up that great American greeting "Happy holidays".

For those of us from more European climes, this may conjure up summery images of sun-kissed beaches, long drinks with clinking ice and giggling, sand-encrusted children. But in PC-central, this all-embracing exchange applies from Thanksgiving to New Year and treads oh-so-carefully around the religious and cultural maze that you navigate every day in New York.

When we first arrived in the Big Apple, we attended a Culture Seminar to help prepare us for our new lives. Highlights included when Male Mini-me reported back following his own private session that ALL American children have ice cream for dessert after dinner and none of this yoghurt stuff. But another insight for me was when fellow attendees became visibly uncomfortable as a lovely English woman who was relaying her own experiences "adapting" noted how the schools had numerous days off for all Jewish holidays but only one day at Easter.

Coming from that marvellous little corner of the world called Northern Ireland, I'm more than happy to include everyone/offend no one as far as religion is concerned so I will bend over backwards to do and say the right thing. But even I find it hard to get my mouth around "Merry Christmahanakwanzaka" which made the rounds last year combining Christmas, the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and  Kwanzaa, the 7-day festival celebrating Afro-American heritage and culture and which starts on December 26th.

This year Hanukkah fell earlier than Christmas and all my Jewish friends are now smiling knowingly as they watch me run around like a headless chicken - or should that be turkey - as I put up Christmas trees, rush to get presents posted in time and generally prepare for the "Big Day".

And in this marvellous multi-cultural metropolis, for many New Yorkers, the main activity on the "Big Day" is not sitting round the TV post-feast to watch (fall asleep to, in the case of Superalien) the big  family movie. It's actually going to the movies to see one of the many blockbusters that open on or just before December 25th. This year "Little Fockers", "True Grit" and "Gulliver's Travels" are all fighting it out for the Christmas Day box office. And opening on Christmas Eve itself, another little gem called "Oy Vey! My Son is Gay" - now how New York is that!

Happy holidays everyone!
Creative Commons License by Caroline Eagles is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.