travel

12 Things I Won't Miss About Being In England

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Friends, it's only fair to share the truth.  England has been wonderful, really and truly.  I love it here and will forever cherish this beautiful experience — I've spent some of the happiest days of my life here in this idyllic country.

But...

Not everything is perfect.  There have definitely been the days of frustration, long hours, unsatisfying food and situations.  So let's pull back the curtain a little, shall we?

Here are 12 things I'm not going to miss:

1. Sketchy wifi.



Actually, the very fact that I have enough wifi to share this post is a miracle.  I am convinced that I shall never again complain about wifi at my house or at Wheaton. It's nothing compared to the overloaded systems of the small country hostels when there are 41 Americans desperately trying to upload every iPhone picture imaginable.

2. Bleh coffee and too much caffeine.


The English are partial to the following hot beverages: tea (of course), espresso (they take it strong), or Americanos.  "I'll just take filtered coffee," I say.  "You mean an Americano?" they ask.  I sigh, shake my head, but take it anyway.  Starbucks coffee, I miss you.  As a substitute, I've taken to lattes with double shots — but that's not helping my caffeine addiction.

3. Hostel bed rooms.


Sometimes half the size of dorm rooms, filled with 2, 4, 6, even 8 people all with clothes flying everywhere, toiletries spread about the room in a big chaotic mess. Not to mention the peculiar smells that arise from somewhere.  Then there's the constant unpacking and packing back up as we've been on the road every few days.

4. Hostel food.



When you have the same breakfast every single day for six weeks, you start to really appreciate...well, anything else. I don't want to see the following for quite a long time: thawed hash browns, ham they call "bacon", soggy tomatoes or tinned beans.  I'd pay good money for some Chobani Greek yogurt and fresh blueberries with gluten free toast right about now.

5. Just, hostels.




Granted, the hostels have been better than I expected and they really are ideal for a trip of this size.  But still.  Everything is "hostel" green and the eggs look suspiciously like a science experiment.

6. The same clothes for 2 months straight.



This one is more funny than anything else. I'm pretty sure we've memorized each other's wardrobe by this point.  I for one have become a pro at mixing and matching my few options.


7. The near constant state of fatigue.



When you have to be on the go pretty much 24/7, introvert Ciera gets very, very, very tired very, very, very quickly.  Long day trips stacked with homework and sightseeing means a consistent fog of fatigue.  Add this to far too many espresso shots and it's not a happy sight.


8. Adding up how much money I spent.



That costs how much?  Not including the ridiculous exchange rate due to the fact that the British pounds are doing well while the American dollars are...well, let's not even go there.  I've found myself buying food from markets and marked down grocery stores just because I can't fathom spending more.


9. The waking up.



 Enough said.


10. The one coffee shop that went to war with us.



Have you ever been part of the only American group in a small English town in the middle of nowhere, only to find that after a week the whole town 1) knows you're there and 2) is ready for you to leave?  Not to mention that the only place there's wifi (see entry one to understand this desperate need) was a coffee shop named Osbourne's...which got tired of us and called the hostel complaining.  No?  Well good for you.  It's just a bit awkward.

11. Bipolar weather.




Sunshine.  Lies.  Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain. Sunshine! Sun, sun, sun — rain, rain, rain. So hot you're sweating.  Now you need a coat and scarf.  Rain, rain, rain, rain.

12. The "field trip mentality".



We've been a moving amorphous hoard of 41 people inching down the sidewalks, taking up full restaurants, always in people's way.  I've had a continuous look of "So, sorry. Yes, we're in the way. Yes, I'm part of the big American group. Please excuse us."


But of course, you mustn't get too skewed a view of my time in England.  I simply think it's important not to only show the Instagram filtered pictures of the experience.  Yes, there have been breathtaking sunsets over the English coast; there have been moments of awe in Westminster, or taking communion at Canterbury Cathedral.  But there has also been conflict and frustration.  That's true of any cross cultural experience.  It's probably especially true when a large group of American college students are involved, trying to keep up with friends, do homework and experience a different country.

So while I've thoroughly enjoyed it here, I've learned a very important lesson.

America, how I love thee.


Much love from this very American girl,

Ciera

You Might Also Like

2 comments

  1. This is hilarious and I love it. I can totally hear your voice as I read this. I agree with so many of these: Poorness, Sleep Deprivation and the Clothes Repetition thing especially even though as someone who grew up in post iron curtain Czech Republic I was a bit more prepared for some aspects. I guess I am glad that the Britons and my fellow Americans are big on using deoderant even if I myself am sometimes untrustworhty in that regard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lucy Rose! It's fun to write in my snarky voice sometimes. :) I think it's fair to say that I wasn't prepared for some of the hostel living...but the conditions were still exponentially better than the 9 days I spent in the wilderness before my freshman year.

      Delete