2011 is drawing to an end in mere short hours. It’s hard to believe that last December I was bouncing off the walls because I was about to spend 4 months in England… It’s been one heck of a year for not only me but the rest of the world. 2011 was (the name a few):
· The Arab Spring
· The airport bombing in Russia
· The 9.1 magnitude earthquake and subsequent Tsunami in Japan
· The Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton
· The death of Osama bin Laden
· Chile’s Puyehue volcano erupts
· The world’s first artificial organ transplant was achieved, using an artificial windpipe coated with stem cells.
· The space shuttle Atlantis lads successfully at Kennedy Space Center, concluding NASA’s space shuttle program
· The Norway Terror Attacks
· Severe flooding in Thailand
· NASA announces that images captured show photographic evidence of possible liquid water on Mars during the warm season
· Juno-the first solar-powered spacecraft begins mission to Jupiter
· India and Bangladesh sign a pact to end their 40-year border demarcation dispute
· The US formally declares an end to the Iraq War
2011 for me was somewhat of a whirlwind. I finished up Fall semester of my Sophomore year at University and had the rest of January off. While all my school mates were back in classes, I was working and eagerly waiting January 31, the day I would begin my four month adventure in England. My study abroad experience in England was more than I could have ever wanted. I made friends that I was will never forget, most of who I still talk too, and got to travel in Europe. I got to see many places in England I had never been but also: Scotland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Austria. I got to explore the Scottish countryside, visit the Anne Frank house, eat Belgium chocolate and waffles J, try snails in France (which I loved), sip espresso in Venice, Rome and Florence, experiences the stunning scenery from the top of a Swiss mountain (there may or may not have been yodeling involved), ski in the Austrian Alps and many, many more things.
Before going to England I didn’t expect to have much culture shock. I’d seen movies, and TV and read books, and such. And for the most part I didn’t. But it did take me about three weeks to stop waking up in the middle of the night (jet lag). The classes were different too…Instead of 1 hour ever Monday, Wednesday, Friday and 1.5 hours every Tuesday, Thursday (the American system), in Winchester you go once a week for three hours. This was okay in most classes, I took three creative writing classes and three hours was just perfect; my Women in History classes dragged but was all and all okay, but I don’t ever want to hear about another church steeple again. I had a THREE hour lecture on the shape of medieval church steeples. Eeegads. Despite the church steeples all of my classes were super interesting.
One of the most interesting things about being in Winchester is that I was the only Southerner in sight. Oh, yeah, I’m not kidding. I found myself having to be a Good-will ambassador for the South. I got asked lots of questions playing up to the southern stereotype,
“Do you own a gun?”… “No. But many people do.”
“Do you drive a truck?” … “No. But trucks are very practical and useful things to have.”
“Do you play the banjo?” … “No…”
“Do you fry all your foods?” … “No…”
“Well…you don’t sounds like you’re from the south!” … “The southern US is a very big place, with many accents. Saying that all people from the south are suppose to sounds the same is like saying that everyone in England is suppose to sound like ‘Ello Poppet!’.”
“I’ve been to New York, Miami and Los Angles, which one is closer to you?” … “Well, umm… off the top of my head I’d say Miami. But it’s really a tossup between New York and Miami.”
“Do all Americans drink their beer out of those red cups?” … “Well…maybe.” (this was the question I got asked the most)
I also had to learn some English slag. Like ‘jumper’, when you tell an American to go “put on a jumper its cold out there” they might just look at you like you’re crazy, because for Americans jumper is a type of dress. To the English it’s a hoodie.
Four months went by far too fast. Before I realized it, I was on a plane back home. After a few months in England I had stopped hearing the accents. When I got on the plane home, and the flight attendant began to speak over the intercom to us it was like, ‘whoa she totally has an accent! …wait…’
Summer 2011 passed relatively quietly. I moved back into the University and off to Dragon*Con! The rest of the semester flew by. I’ve always been told that the older you get the faster the years sip away, and that applies here.
2012 promises to be just as exciting. I have my trip to Thailand coming up soon…and the possibility of a Washington DC internships and maybe a cool summer job.
Happy New Year!!!