England is a country I spent a total of about 3.5 years in (one in 2006, three and a half over 2009-2012. My parents were still living there until recently, and to be honest, it felt like "home". Out of everywhere I have lived, I think I've enjoyed England the most, and I really miss it. My best friend and I always talked about going back to the UK for grad school, or ending up there when we are 50 years young. Who knows. Let's see. :) #EnglandFanGirl (#NoShame)
When I moved to England, I was pretty surprised by their accents and their vocabulary. I was 11 years old - so I didn't really know what to expect, but I just thought "Harry Potter" type accents. No strange words. Nothing different than the typical American words I was used to. Nope - I was totally wrong! When I moved back to England when I was 16, I was much more prepared, but even then I learned so much more about their accents and language.
That typical British accent we all think that British people rock isn't actually what they sound like! Well, some Brits do sound super-posh like that, but the average person does not. You'll hear a ton of different accents just walking down the streets of London. Here's a video with some of them! (Just watch the first half):
When I was 16, a friend of mine (British) called me to catch up. Then... He asked if I want to link up in London. I was like, "Um... :l" because I thought 'link up' meant something more than just "meet up" or hang out, haha. I'm pretty sure I hung up on his face, consulted my best friend Zain (who is technically British, and spent part of her childhood there) and she explained to me that link up didn't mean that. Sorry for hanging up on your face, Saad! :D
Some basic words that I might randomly use that are different than American words:
Cupa: cup of tea
"Link up": meet up/hang out
2. Culture (Fashion, Diversity, Food, History)
British street fashion is easily my favourite street fashion in the western world. Almost everyone looks so beautiful, all the time. And it's so effortless. The fashion style is relaxed but exceptionally classy. Pair that with the British accents from above and start daydreaming.
England is really diverse, too. Of course, some people hate this - immigrants are often looked down upon, regardless of which country/culture they're migrating to. I'm an exception to that thought-process and I think the most beautiful cultures are the ones that are most diverse. One of the best things about how diverse England is, is that you can find any food you are craving. Want some kebabs? Thai food? Chinese? British? American? Desi? Japanese? You name it - you can find it, and you won't have to go too far for it either. That was one of my favourite things about England, particularly the London area. I never felt like an outsider, because there were always other Desi people around. If I ever craved my Mother's food, there was always a desi restaurant nearby. Or if I ever craved Middle Eastern food (since I spent 14 years there!), there was always a kebab place open nearby. I would do anything for some yummy kebab right now!
Though British people may complain about travel, traveling in the UK is a breeze. Talk about amazing public transportation, and one of the best airports in the world.
- People don't drive like maniacs (people who have been to South Asia or Saudi Arabia understand)
- The roads, highways, etc are all well maintained (again, British folks may complain about this, but they likely would not if they saw how the roads are elsewhere!)
- The buses are luxurious... Okay, not exactly "luxurious", but they are pretty darn nice buses, in comparison to some of the other buses I've been on. While the buses are famous for being late, haha, I feel perfectly comfortable and safe riding them for the most part (I've never had a sketchy 2 AM bus ride though).
- The trains are great too! They are also often late, and often there will be maintenance happening on one or the other rail line, so you might have to alter your journey a little, but no biggie.
- Comparing the tube (metro/subway) with how great the buses and trains are, the tube may need a little work, but where in the world does it not? It's not exactly always the cleanest, and it often does get crowded, but honestly, I don't think this is worth complaining about. Especially when we compare that with other metro/subways across the world.
- Heathrow Airport : literally my favourite airport that I've ever been to. Everyone's so on top of things, the staff is very friendly/nice, pretty nice lounges, decent shopping (depending on which terminal you are in, I should say) and it's huge. I got stuck at terminal 5 for about 10 hours, and while I complained a lot (it was my birthday! haha) I didn't mind it so much.
I suppose this is kind of linked to culture, but hey. There are so many attractions to visit, regardless of where in England you are. You can always find some tourist destination or a nice park to visit. It's impossible to be bored.
One of the best things about England is the continent it is located in (Europe). Travel is seriously cheap! It could always be cheaper, of course, but if you fret about paying about 100 quid (sometimes less) for a flight to basically anywhere in Europe, you need to loosen up a bit! Go ahead and live everyone's dreams - backpack through Europe!