Things in England That Are Absolutely Positively Nothing Like America

I started writing this post with the intention of having it be completed in England, but now I’m in Edinburgh, Scotland, and it still hasn’t been written, so here I go. 

A quick update of my life:

This coming week is my last week studying at Oxford and I CAN’T LEAVE! WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE?!?! The week after I will be spending time in Dublin, Galway, and Paris before returning home to the states. I currently just arrived in Scotland, and after taking a really cool walking tour of the city (which is beautiful by the way–shout out to Dave our awesome tour guide!) I decided I should probably edit my Medieval Lit. paper that’s due tomorrow.

Except I got about two hours of sleep last night and now I’m dying. My screen is becoming very unfocused; or maybe that part’s my eyes. 

Well, anyhoot, I thought I should at least make this post while I’m still in Europe. These things aren’t supposed to be all negatives or all positives, just stuff that I randomly realized about London/Europe when I came over. 

Oh, Oh, also–before I start–the pub where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry P novels is here in Edinburgh and so is the graveyard where she “borrowed” many of the names for her characters, including the ever-ominous Tom Riddle. 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes) also wrote here at one point in time. 

Eeek! *Squeal of excitement*

1) What happened to all of the trash cans? They just don’t exist in the UK. I have found this is true in both England and Scotland, but unlike the US where there is LITERALLY a trash can on every corner, there are hardly any waste bins here. You have to go on the hunt for those suckers. And you would think this would lead to more littering, right? Wrong! They zamboni their sidewalks. No, really. Those things that clean the ice at ice rinks? Yeah, they drive those things around at all times of the day and night to clean the sidewalks. There really isn’t much trash anywhere. 

Which begs the question: where is everyone throwing away their garbage????

2) People are very quiet in public. Unlike Americans who can’t wait to talk over one another (and I think we’ve startled our British professor more than once–we’re quite boisterous in class. Not obnoxious, just opinionated. There’s a difference.) You can walk down to the London underground and everything is silence–so silent you could read a heavy novel or textbook if you wanted to and actually comprehend the words! Magic.

3) Everything closes at 6 o’clock at night (18:00 here). Except the pubs. Those close at midnight. Whaaat??? In what world does every store close at 6 in the evening? It boggled my mind when I first arrives and it continues to do that to this day. I’m so used to having everything stay open until 8 at the bare minimum. 

4) Drinking is something you do to socialize, not to get drunk. It is not the drinking culture of any of the countries within the United Kingdom to go out and get smashed. Do people do that? Of course. But that isn’t typically why people go out. Most people go out to a pub with friends or co-workers after work to relax, have a pint, and catch up. Are there clubs? Absolutely, England isn’t some alien planet (though sometimes I wonder… How can everyone really be that pretty. And I’m not kidding. I was going to make this it’s own separate number–

5) London breeds pretty. I don’t know what it is, but beautifully dressed men and women who look so proper and elegant–yeah, they swarm here. 

Back to #4: my point is that, yes, while England does have a club scene (though it is fairly mild compared to the ones in America (you get way more space to yourself because people invade your personal space far less often)), it is more of a stress reliever than a “let’s go get drunk!” kind of party-time. I’ll be honest, I’ve never really understood that concept anyway. Oh, so I’m not cool? Well excuse me if I want to remember what I did last night! 

6) Air conditioning. The UK doesn’t have it. And it has recently been in the high 80’s here (that’s in Fahrenheit, sorry but I still don’t really understand Celsius). I’m dying a little bit every day. Here in Scotland it’s more comfortable because we’re right next to the ocean so the breeze is really nice. In Oxford, England–in the middle of the country–it’s really, REALLY H.O.T. 

Don’t get me wrong, this lack of AC totally makes sense. We’re in the middle of a freak heat wave, something peculiar for England, so typically year-round air conditioning is not needed, you just have to open a window. 

But. It’s. So. Hot. Now.

7) Finally, starches. Everything is a starch. Now, I’m sure for those living here they are better equipped for both eating starchier food, and knowing where to go for non-starches. But as for me, I’m getting most of my meals from the college I’m living in and breakfast, lunch, and dinner happen to be VERY carb and starch heavy. I am not used to this whatsoever because it’s something that my mother has always tried to avoid when cooking meals for my family, and besides, I love my green vegetables. 

But it is really hard when my options for lunch and dinner are 3 types of meet (usually red meat), french fries, cauliflower, corn, or some second form of potato. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of those things, but not one of them is green. Not even a little bit. 

I can feel my body beginning to expand. I’m going to come home looking like Violet Beauregard from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: all blown up like a blueberry! I only wish I got to experience the magic of that super cool gum instead of getting chubs the old-fashioned way 😦 

Okay, that’s the end of this post, I have to run to dinner! I will try to post more frequently in the next week, but it’s the last week of class and I have something going on every day, so I’m sure how much good I’m going to be able to make on that promise. 

Cheers!

Mel

 

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2 thoughts on “Things in England That Are Absolutely Positively Nothing Like America

    • That’s awesome! It is an amazing experience that I would suggest to everyone! If you are coming to England or the UK during the summer, make sure to pack a few sets of clothes that can be worn in heat (preferably shirts that can go with shorts, pants, and shorts, etc.) Just in case. But have a super fun time wherever you go!!!

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