Sunday, January 8, 2012

The First Weekend (Lessons Learned)

These past few days have flown by. I've done more walking this weekend than I have in the past month. Since my stay here, I've learned a few things:

1.) British sense of humor is different than American sense of humor.
During our orientation meetings we were told this often and experienced this first hand from our walking tour of London. Our tour guide enlightened us with several lines such as:
  - "You should all know it’s a law in England that all British movies star Hugh Grant."
  - "The two differences between taxi drivers in New York and in London is that the ones 
      in London speak English and they know where they’re going."
  - "(In reference to a man walking his puffy dog in the park) And here we have a man 
      dragging a ball of wool down the street."
All of these things were said casually, with a straight face, exemplifying how British sense of humor is very sarcastic and spontaneous.

2.) We have charming neighbors.
After venturing out across the street to walk through Kensington Gardens on our own and with our tour group, we learned that Prince William and Princess Kate stay in Kensington Palace often and will be moving in there once the construction is finished. I knew the area of Kensington was fancy and for the wealthy but I guess I underestimated what that really meant. Maybe we can stop by for tea time with Wills and Kate once they're settled in.

Kensington Palace
3.) If you're an American, everyone will know. 
No matter what you look like, how you act, or how much you think you blend in, everyone will somehow still know you're an American. Faking an accent doesn't help much either. Perhaps it's the fact that we were traveling with a group of 11 young girls, or that we were intently studying our night bus maps, but everyone seemed to know we weren't "locals." We did learn though that when approached by night club promoters and asked "Ello luvs, where ya goin off to tanight?" the best response is simply "McDonalds" (or MACdonald's as they say). It seems to ward off creepy (or dodgy as they say) men and make us seem like glutenous wastes of time. Perfect.

Other than this, we saw some of the major sights of London such as Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace. Now that I've learned some new things I feel more confident here. 

My chocolate milkshake!
Pretty cupcakes
Waiting for the tube
Buckingham Palace
Westminster Abbey
Big Ben
Tower Bridge
London Eye
My new watch (on sale for £9)
Royal Albert Hall
King Albert National Memorial
 Next on my to do list:
- Start classes tomorrow
- Learn how to more quickly distinguish between British coins so I don't hold up an entire 
  line of people
- Ride one of the awesome rent-able bikes through the park
- And actually interact with British people


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