No Smiling: It’s a London Thing

Being from Southern California, I’m used to smiling. I smile at my 65-year old neighbor walking her dog, the young store clerk as he hurriedly puts my groceries in my bag and just about anyone I encounter on my daily routine. I thought smiling was a widely accepted gesture in all parts of the world—I was wrong.

Not even a day into my study abroad program in London, my preconceived notions were immediately shattered. Nobody smiles here. If you did try to smile, you would be greeted with scowling looks from the locals. And that’s exactly what happened to me on my first day in London.

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Things About England

Since arriving in this country over seven months ago, I’ve grown accustomed to most aspects of British life: rainy weather, two-pence coins and non-refrigerated eggs in the grocery stores, to name a few. But as my time in England nears its end, I’ve started to reflect on things that I hope to remember above others, whether it be for significant, sentimental or just plain funny reasons.

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Friends in High Places

For most international students at university, the end of fall term signaled the return to their home country, where they could once again speak their own language, sleep in their childhood bed and eat all the food England’s supermarkets hadn’t bothered to carry. For me, as I watched my friends leave one by one, Winter Break wasn’t about returning to the familiar; rather, I was preparing to dive headfirst into the unknown once again.

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