English Adventures: The Beginning Signs of a Great Land Becoming a Great Love
Hello everyone! Since this is my first blog entry, I thought I should introduce myself. My name is Carrie and I am currently studying in Wales at Cardiff University for the semester. My main focus of study is Psychology but for this semester I am also taking some Welsh culture and language modules. I have come to study in Wales for a little over a month now and have experienced so much already. My home town is Mound Minnesota and my home University is North Dakota State, thus I have experienced so many changes to my normal way of life and just general interaction with others and their culture.
Since I’ve been in the U.K., I sometimes forget I’m in a foreign country. This feeling reminded me of how I felt when I just arrived at Heathrow. Right after we got out of the plane, we had to take a shuttle to terminal 5. At first I didn’t feel like I was in England because it all was so surreal to me… but then I went on the shuttle ride. I became completely aware of my surroundings when the driver was purposely driving on (what was to me) the wrong side of the road! Of course I always knew the British drove on the left side but even so, every turn we made I really felt like we were all going to die. . It was a very uneasy feeling obviously, but luckily everyone else was driving on the wrong side along with us so I lived through it! Another reality check was the first time I went to a restaurant and ordered a glass of wine with my meal. Being only 20 I knew I wasn’t in the U.S. anymore. Then after the meal, I asked the waitress for a to-go box and she thought I was nuts, not knowing at the time that the only person to ever ask for a to-go box would be someone that was homeless or just really desperate for food. So you could say that was a somewhat embarrassing reality check for me.
So much has happened already that it’s impossible to talk about it all so I will touch upon the most memorable and interesting times. I’ll start with the day I arrived and my first experience with the public transportation in England.
The First Train Ride
To start off I want to say how easy, convenient, and affordable the public transportation is in the U.K. Surprisingly, unlike the U.S., you don’t need a car to get everywhere. A lot of people prefer to take the bus or train over a car. I thought taking the train in the U.K. was very affordable in the beginning but now I have recently bought a Student Rail Card which saves me a third of the original price every time I buy a ticket! After arriving at Heathrow on my first day, I got on a train which let me see the countryside of England for the first time. I was so excited at the time that any new thing I saw no matter how miniscule it was amazed me. Every little street, car, or house I found really adorable. The sun was surprisingly shining and was setting at the same time so it made the rolling hills where sheep were grazing picture perfect. At this moment, I was overwhelmingly happy because I was in a land that I’ve been dreaming about going to for a very long time now. Knowing that it wasn’t just a dream anymore and in fact was my reality made me overjoyed. So the littlest things at the time, like just overhearing someone speaking with an English accent or seeing a round-about for the first time put a big smile on my face because it reminded me of the fact.