Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Best of London

I have NOT been writing about this trip enough. I feel like that kid from the movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. EVERYTHING here is just so epic and incredible. I could write an entire blog post about any given hour I've spent here, unless I was asleep. But hey, I could probably write about that too. So I'll just make a list of some things I really like about being here.

1. I finally learned how to navigate a city. I can look at the little train map that I hand-laminated with clear tape and figure out how to get where I need to go. Just tell me what station, and I'm good to go. It's fantastic to be able to come and go as I please, not having to ask anyone if I can borrow their car or having to bum rides off people and worry that they will leave too early or too late. I LOVE it.

2. My coworkers are fabulous. They all have these adorable English accents, and I never get tired of it. They say things like "cheers," "I'd be keen," and "half one" instead of one-thirty. I'll probably write a whole 'nother post about the different words and phrases English people use.

3. I don't feel culturally inept anymore. I know what their little phrases mean, I can navigate the train system, I was taught how to properly make basic tea with a tea bag, and I now understand that English people do not put hyphens in their phone numbers.

4. I've gotten to meet, shakes hands with, and take pictures with a variety of olympians that I've run into in London, and I think that's stinking awesome.

5. For my entire life I've had trouble understanding people with accents. And now I've got English, Australian, Chinese, Danish, Japanese, Italian, German, Spanish, and Korean accents to decipher. A lot of people I assist or work with don't necessarily speak English or speak much of it. So it's always fun to try to explain myself with hand motions and whichever select words they happen to know. I really wish I were bilingual. It seems that most people here are, and they think it's strange that I'm not. I guess it's because there are a lot of countries surrounding England that aren't that far away. If I drive eight hours across the US, people are still going to speak English.

6. God has kept me well-fed, healthy, and safe, and I am grateful. Please pray that continues.

7. So, I carry around this bag-purse thing that I call a "burse." It has a shoulder strap, so I don't have to hold it, and I keep my important stuff there. I'm so paranoid I won't even leave it in the room I'm staying in. I don't lock it in the locker at work. It NEVER comes off unless I'm sitting alone in my room. My levels of paranoia have risen to new heights. So far so good, though.

8. The other day I ate dinner in the mall with two of my University friends, and it was an absolute blast. I think at least two of us were talking at all times, and I laughed so much my stomach hurt. At that moment I realized that although I am not willing to rush London, and I am still not itching to return to school, I do, in fact, miss my University, and I will be very happy to return.

9. This is essentially my first solo adventure. I've been on vacation before, but that was always with my family. Yeah, I went to college, but I had my sister there and immediately met a ton of people who helped me make it. Here I'm across the world from my family and am responsible for all my own belongings, health, meals, work, schedules, activities, and safety. It's a lot to think about, and at first it was a little overwhelming. But I've become more used to that, too, and I guess that comes with the territory of becoming more used to a place.

10. Although I'm here, and I speak the same language, and I'm even nearly half English, this isn't my home. I absolutely love it here, and although this certainly isn't a foreign planet, England is plenty different from America. Hearing what English people think of us is pretty funny at times, too. I've had multiple people ask me if I am going to move to England, like a decision like that was just no big deal. Could I move to England? Would that be too far, too different? And if I couldn't, why not?

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