Posted in Travel

Expectations VS. Reality

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

  1. Ireland (at that point I thought that Ireland was part of England)
  2. London (I did know that was the capital of the UK)
  3. Machu Picchu (to be honest when I was 12 I mostly liked it because it sounded like a Pokemon)
  4. 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:

  1. “Pop, pop, dearie, get along there.”
  2. “Cheeky Nandos”
  3. “Can’t be asked.”
  4. “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,




I'm a writer with dyslexic.

2 thoughts on “Expectations VS. Reality

  1. Hi Anna. In regard to one of the phrases you heard: are you sure it wasn’t ‘I can’t be arsed’. This is common phrase meaning ‘I can’t be bothered’. Although ‘asked’ may be use as a politer version, perhaps.

    Liked by 1 person

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