Greetings lost people of the internets! This is the promised expectations vs. reality post that I was going to write last week. So, here we go:
I have been thinking about what I expected London to be like compared to what London is actually like. Anytime that you are going to a new place or situation you are going to have some expectations. I personally have wanted to travel my entire life. When I was younger I watched travels shows on public television and when I was in middle school I started a mental list of all the places that I wanted to go.
This is that list
- Ireland (at that point I thought that Ireland was part of England)
- London (I did know that was the capital of the UK)
- Machu Picchu (to be honest when I was 12 I mostly liked it because it sounded like a Pokemon)
- Chernobyl (I didn’t know anything about Chernobyl, I just liked the name)
Last year, I started talking to my academic adviser about possibly taking a study abroad semester. So, fast forward, I’m here in London, England looking back on what I thought it was going to be like. My best friend spent 10 days in London about three months before I was supposed to leave for my abroad semester and she told me all about what happened to her while she was here. This falsely led me to believe that I was at least somewhat prepared for what it was going to be like. I was wrong. It turns that somewhere in the back of my brain, I was still clinging to the ideas of a 12 year old girl who got all of her ideas about the culture from travel shows and nerdy novels.
To illustrate, in my head London looked something like this:
Which this is a picture that I took here so London does look like this. But, it also looks like this:
This is the awesome and amazing Elephant and Castle Market and that is my friend’s elbow. But this is also, not all of London. There is also this:
This might be the best image for London. It has a super new modern constantly changing advertisement screen on the side of a super old building surrounded by trees. That’s a pretty good overview of the city: an even mix of new and old with a side of nature.
12 year old me would have expected there to be ancient castles and churches (and those are here) and nothing new and modern. Honestly, that’s sort of a strange thing, why wouldn’t an entire culture of people advance between the 1500s and 2016? Yes, 21 year old me knew that logically this was going to be a very modern city. But, that childish part of me was still surprised.
Architecture aside, there were other things that defied expectations. I believed that as a fluent English speaker in an English speaking country, I wouldn’t have any problems understanding people and that people wouldn’t have any trouble understanding me. I was wrong. After a few days, I didn’t have trouble understanding people’s accents. However, the more that I talk to people the more words that I’ve heard that mean nothing to me. It may as well be a different language as much as I understand. Here are some of the things that I have heard:
- “Pop, pop, dearie, get along there.”
- “Cheeky Nandos”
- “Can’t be asked.”
- “bicarbonate of soda”
And a whole lot more. I know that bicarbonate of soda is the same thing as baking soda. The rest, I still don’t understand, maybe a British person can explain.
If you happen to be a British person, leave a comment telling me what was said to me. If you are not a British person and want to learn more British slang, also leave a comment and I will investigate some for my next blog post. I’d love to hear about any times that you’ve gone to a new place and it either was or wasn’t what you’d expected.
Stay weird guys,