Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Do you have Doritos in America, too?"

So I've been pretty slack about updating this summer, mainly because I've been too busy (read: lazy) and my internet connection is never super strong. Anyway, it's weird to think that a few weeks ago I was still in North Carolina, cruising around Raleigh and Durham and going about my daily routine.

NOW I'm in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, and my life is kind of a nice mix of things that are the same as America and things that are very different. And since we all know I can only write in lists, and not cohesive paragraphs, here we go:

1. KFC.
As in, "to get to work, turn left at the KFC." Yes. There is KFC in other lands. But it's EXPENSIVE!! £9.99 for a bucket of chicken and fries? As in, $20? I don't think so. My family was horrified when I told them that in America you can get a little pot of mashed potatoes with gravy for $1. Fast food mashed potatoes really grossed them out -- as it does me, actually.

2. Underage delinquancy. Although it's really (really times infinity) great that the drinking age is 18 here, it means that the age of kids drinking starts even earlier. It's not uncommon for kids of 11, 12, 13 to be sneaking liquor in the Quarry park, and older students are known for selling cigarettes to younger kids for a big profit. However, the penalties are not nearly as strict -- the kid would just have the alcohol/cigarettes taken off him, not written up or arrested or anything -- which is quite different from home!

3. Rihanna. The British love Rihanna. Seriously. "Please don't stop the music" is getting really big here, especially in the clubs. And the "Superman" song is pretty big, too, except no one does the Superman dance (that Jamie and Alison perfected on Facebook video)....they just dance NORMALLY. So. strange.

1. Radio Six
. Radio Six is probably the best radio station of all time -- it's as popular at G105, but plays really good music. Every day they'll play Radiohead, Elbow, Duffy, the Go! team, and MGMT. And today they played WHITESNAKE. I know that sometimes we get Radiohead on 88.1WKNC, but not on anything as mainstream as this.

2. Names of things. I know this is kind of a given British cliche, but I've been having trouble with the different names for things at the restaurant where I waitress. What I would call "beef filet" (filay) is beef fillet (filllit). And knowing the names of beer and wine is throwing me, too...If someone has a strong accent, and they ask for "uhbottleamagners," I have no idea what that means (a. bottle. of. magners = a kind of beer). So that's been an interesting learning curve. And other random words have been throwing me too -- if a guy says a girl is "fit," that means she's hot (even if she's not physically fit, although I guess the two often go together). It's even better if she's "well fit" (REALLY hot). And instead of the "WHATSUP" that I have difficulty responding to at home (I'd rather say "I'm fine thanks" than "not much, brotha!"), everyone here says "You'alright?" or "Y'alrighhh?" You must respond "Yeah,yo'allrighhh?" You cannot just say "I'm fine, thanks" as that is just not cool.

3. Paper sizes. Warning: if you are not design-inclined, this section may bore you. Over here, the paper sizes are generally taller and skinnier than US paper, although I think their system makes more sense:
Start with an A3 piece of paper (that's a bit taller and thinner than a tabloid size).
Fold A3 in half to make A4.
Fold A4 in half to make A5.
Fold A5 in half to make A6.
Fold A6 in half to make A7.
And so on.
To me, this makes much more sense, except that everything's metric over here...so someone'll say, oh, make that 105 by 148, and I think WHAT? picas? inches? PLEASE CLARIFY. (they actually mean millimeters.)

Okay, so that's pretty much all for now. Hopefully more will follow, internet-dependent.

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