A Foreign Land ... MAG

By Unknown, Unknown, Unknown

   Before I went to London, I'd never realizedhow different our countries are. I thought, They speakEnglish, and figured it would be largely the same. When Iarrived, I discovered I really was in a foreigncountry.

The time difference was the first change;London's time zone is five hours ahead of Eastern StandardTime. We took an overnight flight, so it was like losing fivehours of sleep. I didn't sleep more than an hour due toturbulence and could hardly believe it was 6 a.m. when welanded.

As we made our way through customs, I saw signsin French, Spanish, Italian, German and English.Strange-sounding British accents filled the air, along withother languages I could not understand. Half the time I couldnot even understand the British variation of English: it waslike a foreign language in itself. As I listened to others, Ibecame aware that I, too, sounded strange to them. When Ispoke, I was immediately tagged as an American. I was anoutsider. Strangely, American voices soundedcomforting.

When I stepped off that plane, pounds tookon a different meaning. It was no longer weight but money.Dollars and cents went out the window and were replaced bypounds and pence. The subway became the tube, heading off tounfamiliar destinations. I found myself valuing my guidebookmore than I'd imagined.

A train took us from theairport to a subway station. We went outside for the firsttime and discovered the climate: wet. It was foggy and coldwith occasional rain. It was dark and cloudy for most of ourtrip, except the last few days. The rain turned on and offlike a faucet; one minute it would be dry and the next drippyand wet.

From the station we hailed a cab and went toour hotel. It was an old house with a skinny front thatextended back and up a couple of stories. The hallways andstaircases were barely wide enough for our bags. Breakfast wasserved and I found yet another change: the food. Bacon inEngland is more like a thick slice of ham. The coffee there ismostly undrinkable. To add to the confusion of properetiquette, they eat pizza with a fork and knife. I didn'trealize this until I looked around the pizzeria and saw no oneelse eating the way I was.

There were many otherdifferences I discovered like new vocabulary for taxis, movietheaters and bottled water. It kept me on my toes, not knowingwhat to expect. I learned a lot about this country on my trip,but I think the most valuable thing I learned was toappreciate my own.

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By Lindsey S., Duxbury, MA
Teen Ink - PO Box 30, Newton, MA 02461 - (617) 964-6800 - editor@teenink.com
Published by The Young Authors Foundation, Inc. - A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
Copyright 2006 by Teen Ink, The 21st Century and The Young Authors Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.
Thispublication may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system ortransmitted in any form or by any means,
without the writtenpermission of the publisher: The Young Authors Foundation, Inc.

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