A normal person is 80 percent water. I’m now 80 percent tea.
Instead of having holidays like Columbus Day and President’s Day, the British have enough tea breaks to replace them.
Studying abroad feels a bit like they dropped us on an island with some matches and shelter and waved good-bye.
Except maybe not at all.
Life without the Bean or food court or parents means learning how to fend for ourselves. Already, most of us have cooked more in one week than we have in our entire lives. This means a lot of sandwiches and pasta.
Grocery shopping is an experience of its own. Converting pounds to dollars is impossible to do under stress.
In my head: £10 pound = £10 pound.
In reality: £10 pound = $15.72.
Most of the time math does not work in my favor.
I had an awkward first encounter with a checkout lady when I realized, pretty late in the game, I was supposed to bag my own groceries.
It’s the little things that, even if your accent hasn’t given you away, as soon as you walk into the room everyone knows you’re an American.
Texas manners are not the same as British manners. In Texas, it’s normal to smile at strangers when you make eye contact. In Britain, not so much. People are surprised when I hold the door for them. And “how ’bout them Cowboys?” is not the best way to engage in small talk.
But the British aren’t mean, just reserved. They can be extremely friendly. It’s not just a stereotype- the British truly enjoy discussing the weather. If you want to talk to a stranger, that’s the best way to engage them. Or about history. I’ve been given many history lessons from native Oxfordians, about both English history and American history. Who knew there were actually two presidential inaugurations? It can make a person feel pretty inadequate.
There’s also small language differences like bathroom (water closest), take-out (take-away) and truck (lorry) which get us strange looks. Wars have almost been started by our reckless use of the word ‘pants’ which is in fact underwear. That’s a hard American habit to kick.
An even harder habit to kick? Y’all. My continuous use of the word ‘y’all’ is pretty embarrassing because I somehow manage to use it in every sentence in every public sphere I go.
I’m learning. Slowly.