First Observations

Ello, chap! Lovely weather we’re having here, isn’t it?

Ok, so I haven’t actually met anyone who’s said these precise words to me, but I’m sure I will eventually. What I do know is the Brits love to talk about the weather, and it’s a completely normal and acceptable conversation starter. In my two weeks of living here, I’ve been completely blown away by the amount of cultural diversity that surrounds me, and how London is unlike any other city I’ve visited–quite a different reaction from when I first arrived.

By this point, I’ve become a bit more acquainted with the tube (underground, subway), and I thoroughly enjoy observing the many people who inhabit it. Many read a newspaper or book, others doze off, and others sit quietly, staring off into space. I’ve noticed that both the tube and the station where people wait, are unusually quiet, unless a loud American breaks the silence and thus faces many sidelong glances. Even I, one of the loudest people I know, have grown more sensitive to loud voices and behaviors, and begin to wince when I hear someone talking very excitedly about their life. This attitude may come off as proud or snooty, and perhaps it is. On further reflection, however, it’s completely understandable: Brits simply like their quiet, and find it jarring to have that quiet disrupted with “OH MY GOD, THIS CITY IS SO COOL I WANNA RIDE A RED DOUBLE DECKER BUS AND GEE IT’S REALLY NOT THAT HARD TO USE THE TUBE AND DID YOU SEE WHAT THAT GIRL WAS WEARING?!?! IT WAS SOOOOO FUNNY!!”

In stark contrast to, say, Boston, I have only heard people play music in the tube station a couple of times, and it’s never been bongo drums, or electric guitars, or singing that makes you want to pop your eardrums. I think that this goes along with the culture of being quiet and respectful of one another’s space, particularly when in public.

London is home to millions of people, and everywhere I go, no matter how I get there, I hear many different languages along the way. My favorite example so far of cultural diversity is when I went to a pub filled with people from the U.S, Spain, Venezuela, Australia, Germany, the U.K., and so many more places, and they were all singing in unison to Party in the U.S.A. Also, it’s nice to know that Bohemian Rhapsody is still a hit among my generation.

Another small observation I’ve made is that in the few times I’ve gone out for dinner, the server didn’t stop by my table five minutes in to see if I was enjoying the food. I love this, because it completely avoids the embarrassment of being asked while you have food in your mouth as you give the awkward thumbs up (even though you’ve only taken one bite). Perhaps this is only custom in certain restaurants here, but I’ll find out soon enough.

And finally, more of a fact really…the cider is amazing. Expensive, but completely worth it. I don’t know how I’ll go back to Angry Orchard.


Me and a few mates at Walkabout, the Australian pub
I waited an hour and a half for this fishbowl (a Pina Colada that I didn’t think I would like because I hate coconut), and while I would never want to wait that long again or talk to the very rude bartender, it was delicious
The Red Lion in Westminster, with a pub downstairs and a cozy restaurant upstairs. A young Charles Dickens used to go there, probably for the cider because, once again, they’re amazing. So is the pie.

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