The end of the year, 2013 and holidays

I’ve been sitting on this post for months, mostly because I’m trying to find time to restructure my site’s multilingual portion, trim plugins and figure out AWS. But more on that in a later post. Now, on with the original post!

And just like that, 2012 is over and done with and I’ve been in this country for a almost 10 months now. During those months I’ve experienced a majority of the US’ national holidays. In short, most of these have been really…odd. The commercial overlap where holidays are barely over(if at all) when decorations for the next one appears is nothing new to me. It happens in the Netherlands as well between Sinterklaas and Christmas.

Most of the oddness probably comes from the images that film and television have drawn. Especially Halloween and Thanksgiving, which are covered in generous amounts with Halloween parties and awkward Thanksgiving dinners with family.

4th of July, or, independence day

Fireworks + Springsteen = Patriotism, apparently.

Starting out the series is the 4th of July, Independence day. While I can appreciate this as a day of celebration, some aspects have been strange to me. We spent part of the day making a pie for a dinner we were invited for. The dinner itself, whilst delicious, wasn’t very out of the ordinary(burgers, chicken, baked beans, corn and such).

Afterwards, we went up to the lake at Lakefront Park to watch the fireworks display. Something pretty special, because it turns out that a lot of fireworks that we’re used to in the Netherlands(bottle rockets/skyrockets, roman candles, and even firecrackers) is illegal to light without a permit. Funnily enough, you can still legally buy the stuff if you wanted to.

Additionally, I’ve never heard this much Springsteen in one place ever before.Born in the US-A indeed.

The above comments regarding the legality of certain fireworks in this state made lighting our own fireworks afterwards a bit dull. Though the neighbours did manage to obtain some roman candles and it’s also the first time I’ve seen people lighting fireworks off the back of a moving pick-up truck. Either way, it all felt like an excuse to get drunk and act like idiots.


Halloween in downtown Orlando: “Where’s Waldo” Easy mode.

Halloween celebrations have been filled with new experiences for me. It all started out with Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando. This is basically a massive training camp for queuing that would even make a Brit question his queuing skills. I think we spent more time in queue trying to get into the houses and rides than actually on the rides.

Needless to say though, it was a pretty cool night and they did a pretty good job making the haunted houses. Shame a lot of time had been wasted queuing, but that’s something to take into consideration for next time.

This year, I’ve also carved my first pumpkin and put a nice and simple design on it. But really, that stuff is pretty disgusting.

Lastly, on Halloween night itself, we went to downtown Orlando all dressed up in our costumes. The most ridiculous about this was the fact that some of the clubs expected you to pay after paying to get into the street party thing that was going on.

Thanksgiving and Black Friday

If you mute the right side, you’ll hear what Black Friday madness reminds me of.

Thanksgiving wasn’t much what I expected it to be. My experience with it is mostly influenced by television and so I expected a lot more stress, a lot more family and a lot more bickering. None of that actually happened. Visitors for dinner were very limited and it was all really very calm. Also had Thanksgiving turkey for the first time and it kind of reminds me of pork “rollade” with a crispy chicken skin. I guess in many ways that’s because the preparation is very similar.

Lack of Sinterklaas

My Sinterklaas gifts. Awesome wife is awesome <3.

Sinterklaas isn’t celebrated here. We did find out that Aldi does provide in some of the seasonal foods that I know and love. No pepernoten though, bummer.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve

I’m at Regal The Loop Stadium 16 & RPX for Django Unchained (Kissimmee, FL) w/ 12 others

Christmas and New Year weren’t very new for me. I had been here with these holidays before. We exchanged gifts the night before, almost around midnight because everyone was out doing stuff. Then on Christmas Day we went to see Django Unchained with the whole family and just had a lazy day otherwise.

New Year was pretty similar, sitting around waiting for midnight. More weak fireworks and no “oliebollen” or “appelflappen”. Double bummer. :<