June 28, 2012 by Rebecca Avison
After making the decision to fly the coop of William and Mary last semester and study abroad, I am now back in Williamsburg and having a slightly hard time making the adjustments from the bright lights of London to the quaint town of Williamsburg. There have been certain things in particular that I still have not yet gotten re-acclimated to. So here is my laundry list of things that I am still not used to about the States or miss from London.
1. Looking to the left when crossing the street. Yes, this sounds like a silly thing. BUT it took me five months to get used to looking to the left when crossing the crazy streets of London (drivers don’t stop, ever) and that habit has been hard to break. In London, they realize that their system is confusing so they write in big letters on the roads LOOK LEFT and LOOK RIGHT which I think would be very helpful for the US to adopt!
2. Driving on the right side of the road. Yes, I know this sounds dangerous and I know that I never actually drove while in London, BUT so many times when I am in my car I second guess myself as to what lane I should be turning into or where I should look to see if I can merge into traffic.
3. Afternoon tea. This is probably the most genius invention of the British. Who doesn’t need a pick-me-up around three in the afternoon? Add in an orange scone with clotted cream and jam and your day has gotten infinitely better almost immediately. I am thinking about bringing this tradition to the Admission Office and since I bought my own glass teapot in London I think it could be a fun way to keep some British culture in Williamsburg.
4. Borris biking. So London has this ingenious system in which there are bicycles stands all around the city that you can rent for an allotted time. It’s a pound for 24-hour access and if you return the bike within thirty minutes it won’t charge you anything else. Then in those 24 hours you can use the bike for as much as you want! This was my favorite way to get around the city and was a ridiculously convenient way to get around. Since being back, I have already bought a bicycle and can’t wait to continue using it.
5. British accents and word of the days. I miss the accents soo much! I miss all the weird words and vocabulary of the Brits. It’s hard to transition back to saying apartment instead of flat, to saying steal instead of nix. I never did get good at the accent, though my flatmates and I had hour conversations trying to help me pronounce yoghurt (ya-ghert) and aluminum (al-oo-min-ium). They also gave me word of the days to help me get adjusted so I learned to say post box, trousers, and many many more.
6. Markets. London by far has some of the best markets in the world. Portobello Road, Brick Lane, Petticoat Lane, Spitalfields Market, Camden Market, and Borough Market. The last is by far my FAVORITE place in London! It has tons of fresh fruits and vegetables, the best steak sandwiches, gruyere grilled cheese and just so much AMAZING FOOD. The best part: you can eat your way through the market based on samples! In the London like, I have decided to go to the Williamsburg farmers market on Saturday morning to get my market fix!
So yeah, I miss it. I loved it. I would tell everyone to study abroad because I think it’s the best thing I have done! BUT, I missed Williamsburg. I missed the cobblestones that always cause me to stumble, I missed seeing colonial reenactors in the grocery store, but most of all I really missed the people that make up my days.