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A Foreign Land ... MAG
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.
So Close, Yet So Far Away by Michelle R., Westerville, OH
The Mists of Time by Christina C., E. Setauket, NY
Paradise by Abby T., Ansonia, OH
America's Least Known State by Holly C., Wilmington, DE
By Lindsey S., Duxbury, MA
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