Differences Across the Pond

26 10 2011

I don’t really have anything new to tell you specifically about me.  I’m taking classes, doing rehearsals, blah blah blah.  So instead I’ll let you know about some generic things that I’ve noticed:

1.  The location of Kansas City is only known by few people.

Here’s a conversation for you:

“I’m studying here on an exchange program; I’m from the United States.” Me
“Oh cool, where in the States?” Brit
“Kansas City.” Me

To which the Brit will reply with one of these:

  • “Oh, Cool.”
  • “Ah, Kansas.”
  • “…Where is that?”

This is in order of commonality, from least to most common.  Usually, I say “West of St. Louis” by about two hundred miles.  If they don’t know where that is, I say, “West of Chicago by a couple hundred miles” which has yet to fail me.  Of course, for the people who assume I’m from Kansas I have to tell them that I’m actually from Missouri and that KC is essentially a Missouri city.

I have debated whether or not to say that I’m from Washington DC or New York just to make it easier on people.  I haven’t.

2.  Things are more expensive in England

At home, you can get a full meal (including drink) from Taco Bell for $4.  That’s impossible here.  Most price numbers are equivalent to the states, but one pound is 1.5 dollars, which means almost everything is 1.5 times more expensive.  This is unfortunate, as I am attempting to eat cheaply.  The cafeteria is shockingly expensive, and therefore my food is mostly sandwiches from the College bar/mini restaurant thing or microwavable foods.  Yeah.

3.  Life in Cambridge is completely different from anywhere else I’ve been.

In the States, cities or towns are built around the fact that automobiles exist.  Walking or biking is impractical.  This is because stores are so spread out with huge parking lots and have their own buildings.  All streets in the states except for rural ones are wide enough to have one lane of travel in each direction.

Cambridge is completely different.  The city is old.  The city center is dominated by walkers and bikers; in fact, most cars aren’t even allowed in the city center.  What we would call alleyways, streets not big enough for a vehicle, pepper the entire city.  There are rarely any square intersections because most roads are very curvy.

Core part of the city centre. Note the haphazard layout.

It isn’t as easy as you would think to get lost here–this is because everything is unique and the city is not large enough to be a true maze.

4.  There are indeed less obese people in England.

Heck, there are less overweight people in general.

5.  I have seen one pickup truck.

SUV’s are not uncommon, but much less common than the United States.  England knows how to not suck the world dry of oil.

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