First impressions are weird things. Some people say there's nothing more important, some people say they should never be trusted. As for me, I usually find that my first impressions are reasonably accurate, but I'm not sure I've made up my mind. Surprising, I know.
My first impressions of the United Kingdom came on the airplane, I suppose, where my brain made up its mind about what I would find on the ground the other side of the Atlantic. I should have been sleeping, of course, but you know how plane sleep is. I hunched myself into a semi-comfortable position with my head on the tray table while the lady in front of me repeatedly sat roughly back into her seat, smashing the tray lock into my skull. Comfy. I let my thoughts of tea and rain join with the turbulence in lulling (maybe "lulling" isn't the right word. More like "I-didn't-have-much-choice-but-to-go-with-it-ing") me into awkward plane sleep.
How right was I? I guess I could be considered something of an Anglophile. I suppose I know a fair bit more about England than the average American. So I guess this is the time I get to find out, once and for all, whether all those things I've seen on TV my entire life are actually what Americans (or TV Brits) say they are.
Here's a list of interesting things I've run into since the plane hit the ground a week and a half ago. Oh, a list. I'm just full of surprises today.
- I am SO excited to find out that people actually do say "Cheers" and that Scottish people actually say "wee." I was entirely convinced that we had just made that up in the US.
- What on earth is the deal with having 800 doors to everything? It's a good thing I'm not claustrophobic is all I have to say.
- The Tube is pretty awesome. And they do actually say "Mind the Gap."
- British coins are confusing. I hate to be that person who's like, "I don't understand the money!" But really. Why are 10p coins so enormous?
- Apparently the UK has yet to figure out plumbing.
- Another astoundingly American observation: IT'S SO OLD. Seriously. I already made this discovery in other continental countries, but I'm living in the middle of a city that was started 1000 years ago. I mean, really, I have a hard time even imagining that much time passing consecutively. It's insane. 17th century is new here, instead of being the absolute oldest thing possible like in the US.
- Scooters are totally a thing here. Especially little plastic ones for little kids.
- Wine Gums. They are candies labelled with different kinds of wine. They're candies. Of wine.
- TV is definitely not a central thing here. There's pretty much nothing on most of the time except news, particularly during the afternoon. A lot of channels (even BBC4!) don't have anything on them until certain times of the day.
- The drinking schedule makes a lot more sense here. Start drinking early, after work, and then everything's closed by 11. Normal nights' sleep, right? I'm not much of a drinker, but the pub life is wonderful. Bumming with friends (or friendly strangers, maybe) over a pint at 8pm is way better to my mind than doing shots and getting sloshed at 1 in the morning.
Maybe this list turned into something more of a "things I noticed" than first impressions. But you know what? It's not that important, is it?
P.S. I have to write blogs (or make vlogs) for class, so if I end up writing some of them, they'll be here. Feel free to read them if you'd like.