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Dispatches from London: Things I Miss About England That I’m Excited to Experience Again

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Three years ago, when I completed my study abroad program and left England, I knew I’d be back. There were too many wonderful things about the country that made me fall more in love after being there. My inner-Anglophile was enchanted and enriched by the new things I experienced in this beautiful country. In my counting down of the days left until my departure (only 8!), I can comfort my anxieties about the move with the knowledge that I will soon be reunited with these things I came to love so much.

Primark

I am obsessed with fashion and shopping, so when I arrived in England three years ago, and I discovered this gem of a store, I went crazy. I’d say the American equivalent of this store would be Forever 21, but as a curvier girl, I admire the fact that Primark and other British clothing stores cater to us bigger girls who still love being stylish. I spent too much money at this place, and both times I went back I spent even more, and I know it will be a place I frequent when I’m in London (especially since one of them is right near my campus). Europe is so ahead when it comes to fashion, and I am so excited to wear new trends and styles ahead of America.

Mulled Wine

The lack of eggnog in England was something that severely affected my holiday time (although thankfully Starbucks obliged me when I had a craving), so instead, I had to find an alternate Christmas time drink to give me comfort. I was introduced to mulled wine by and English friend, and I became obsessed. I know it’s a drink that could easily be made in America, but there’s something so English about going to a Christmas market and getting a cup of hot, mulled wine to aid your freezing body. I can imagine myself already, sipping a cup while wandering the streets of London in the winter.

Castles

We don’t have castles in America. At least not the ones England has. I’ve always been interested in archaeology and architecture, and England is so full of proof that people lived there, so many years ago. These are the structures that people thrived in and they still exist for us to see. Being a nostalgic person, I am always captivated by old things, especially old things that can be explored. The fact that I can go anywhere in the country and find a castle to walk through is really amazing and a special event to me.

Transportation

If there was a good transportation system in America, I may not be so keen to leave. Getting from one side of the country to the other is expensive and hard. In England and Europe is is actually affordable and fairly quick. With the Tube in London the train and bus system, and the cheaper airlines in the rest of the country, I am very okay with never having to own a car again. I truly hate driving, and love being able to board a bus, train or plane to get to my destination, without worrying about how much it will cost, or thinking I won’t have enough time to be adventurous before returning home. I can’t wait to get my Oyster card and train passes!

Suppressive Interaction

Now this may be a weird one to some people, but as an introvert, I am very much a fan of how people in England tend to keep to themselves and try not to bother strangers. Not that I am unfriendly, because I can open up and be quite the talker, but for the most part, if I am out and about, I’m usually in my own world and usually abstain from talking to random people. England is really the place for me when it comes to social interaction. In America we tend to be more pushy and forward with people we don’t know. I like to take my initial meetings slow and would rather not be spoken to if I have earphones in or look like I’m engrossed in something. Like I said, I’m weird.

Weather

Who likes English weather? Me. I am one of the few, odd people who actually enjoy the overcast skies and the rainy days. I do enjoy the occasional sun, but I’m a fan of mild weather, and England makes me happy in this regard. At this point in this article, you can probably tell I really am made for England. I don’t like strangers and I don’t care about the sun. I am content with the grey horizons and constant potential for rain, and that’s okay with me. I am not one to complain that there’s been too many days in a row without a beam of sunshine.

Diversity

I grew up in a place that wasn’t diverse and went to university at a place that still wasn’t very diverse, but when I was in England, all I saw was diversity of people. I like being around this. Being of mixed decent, I am diverse myself and it’s comforting being in the midst of other people like me. I love how open England is about issues pertaining to diversity, social and human rights, and I admire how the country seems to be ahead of America in a lot of it’s thoughts about people who are “different” than the norm. I am excited to be back around this style of life and embrace this openness I haven’t gotten to much of so far.

Samantha O'Brochta
Author: Samantha O'Brochta

Samantha was formerly an expat in London in 2014/15 before moving to New York City, where she can be found blogging and taking photographs for her site Some Call Me Adventurous. Samantha has an affinity for traveling the world, watching BBC shows, making people laugh, dancing alone in her room, dressing fashionably, and attempting to make Pinterest crafts with disastrous end results.

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27 COMMENTS

  1. Lovely to see people appreciative of the English weather! And as an introvert myself I fully understand how you feel. I hope you have the time of your life in England and I am quite envious of you, I miss my home and not a day goes by that I don’t wish I was there. Ah well, I’ll just comfort myself with an all American chili dog with cheese and onions and an extra thick milkshake!

  2. I enjoyed reading your “blog”. I too love England. The weather,the history,the architecture. I have been there several times and am planning on going again. There is so much to see and do that two weeks of vacation is not enough! If I could live there, I would be on the next plane out.
    Keep up the writing.
    Cheryl Urquhart

  3. As a fellow American and Anglophile with a paralyzing fear of flying, I enjoyed the article immensely. I have never been to Britain, but if I ever get the courage up to fly again, it will be the first place I visit. I cannot get enough British history, literature, culture, and movies, etc. I enjoyed hearing about England from a fellow American who shares my passion for all things English!

    • I want to go to England but won’t fly…
      Thankfully there are ships that go back and forth…it might take you longer to get there but you have to worry about falling out of the sky…

  4. There are definitely some very diverse places in England (esp. London) but then there are areas which very much are not. And while I, too, get the impression that England (if not the whole UK) is more diverse, there are still an uncomfortable number of out-and-out racists. They also seem to be more organized and brazen about their racism and anti-immigrant attitude.

  5. Except the taste for the eggnog ( awful for me), I agree with you about your lure of England and London

    • Yes, I actually studied abroad in a town called Chester in England, so the majority of my time in England actually was outside of London. I’ve only been to London a total of 10 days in my lifetime so far (until I leave next week!!!), and spent a lot of my time abroad in the UK in other areas of the country.

      • Ok, that’s good to hear. You hear about so many Americans who go to London and think they’ve ‘done’ England when there’s so much more to see. I know Chester, it’s a nice little city and not too far away from where I live in Sheffield, Yorkshire.
        Enjoy your time in London when you come back!

  6. You really can’t compare the transportation system in America with that in England or the UK. Considering that the US is 2900 miles from East to West and it’s only 400 miles from the North of Scotland to the South of England. There are 3.70 MILLION square miles in the US as opposed to just over 52,000 in the UK. So to ask the US to have the same type of railways and public transportation throughout that expanse is pretty ridiculous. You can get around the US very easily on bus. Greyhound travels between most cities (and small towns) and city bus services are available within even smaller cities. Amtrak is also available and in places like New England there are plenty of train lines between the larger cities. If you want to travel a lot within the US, yes, you probably need a car, but the highway system is well-maintained and easy to use in most areas. Plus, I have several friends who live in large cities that do not own a car and they get along fine.

    As far as Americans being “pushy” to strangers, it’s more that we are more open and friendly and don’t have as many boundaries when talking about our lives. But most of us will leave you alone if you indicate you prefer it that way. Or, you could open up and share your life with us. I mean, how else are we to learn about you and your culture unless you tell us. I don’t know where you lived in the US, but most areas are pretty diverse. Your attitude is pretty narrow-minded. Obviously you didn’t take the time to get to know many Americans when you say we are generally “behind” the UK in embracing diversity. That’s just not true and regardless of what the media says, most Americans are more than willing to accept people for who they are and what they are.

    I love what I’ve experienced in England and Scotland, And I’ve enjoyed Anglotopia. But honestly I get tired of people pretty much bashing the US whenever they get the chance, whether it be here on this site, or elsewhere. If you don’t like the US that’s fine. You leave us alone and I promise, we’ll leave you alone. But we as a people aren’t the one-dimensional cartoons painted of us in the press and elsewhere. It’s funny how people love us when we come to help in times of crisis, but hate us all of the rest of the time. I often wonder why if everyone in the rest of the world hates us so much, why they don’t just stop expecting us to come to their rescue. Why embrace the generosity and huge resources of the US and yet tell us to mind our business the rest of the time. Either you like us or you don’t, but it’s not really fair to try to have it both ways.

    The Americans I know are kind and gracious, generous and open-minded. We usually live and let live and will be there if our neighbors or even strangers need a helping hand. We are hard-working, creative, enterprising and imaginative. We come in all colors, shapes and sizes. We can be stubborn and un-yielding if you try to push us too far, but we aren’t the hate-filled bigots sometimes portrayed in the media.

    I’m happy you’re happy to be back in your home country, but it doesn’t make your country any better, or worse than most others because YOU love it more. JMHO

    • I actually am from America and am going to England as an expat, so I am not bashing America as a foreigner. I was born and spent my whole life in the US and am now returning to England as a student. I preferred my life in England when I lived there briefly, and am now returning. Yes, it is the people like me who should be leaving America if I don’t like it there, and that’s what I’m trying to do by going away again. I’d spend the rest of my life in England if I could, but visa and immigration makes it hard.

    • Maybe next time you will read the article before commenting. Samantha said in the very first line that she went to England on a study abroad program.

  7. You hit the nail on the head! Having moved to the US 19 years ago, I can relate to all of your points. Wish I could go back soon 🙂

  8. As some one who was born there and lived there until I was 10, I have an unbelievable attachment to England. I have lived in Canada for gasp!!! 40 years, but I get homesick for England so much, that we try to go back every 2 or 3 years. I miss everything about England, the smell, the sounds, the weather, the people, my relatives especially. The seaside, the food (Yes! The food!!),the chocolate and other sweets, the beer, the pubs, the clothes (and quality of the clothes!), the Museums, the roundabouts, the older buildings and architecture, the history that surrounds you, the country and small villages and mostly I miss Windsor, Berkshire where I was born and raised! I am an Anglophile and proud of it!! These are my roots! In a couple of weeks I will be back for a month! Hurrah!!

  9. England may be diverse but I don’t know that it is not racist. Most of the English people I have met have made very nasty remarks about the immigrants – more about the Asians than the Africans I think

  10. I, too am an American and although I love the USA, (it is and always will be my home country), I am positively at home in England for all of the reasons you list here. I enjoyed this post and found myself saying, “yes! yes!” as I read it. I am going back to the UK for a little holiday next year. I go as often as I can. I envy your actually having the chance to live there even for a little while! All the very best to you.

  11. Well said, Meri. I knew our blogger was an American but one of those who apparently doesn’t much like her native country and is eager to compare it unfavorably to another country. To compare the USA and Britain from a transportation point of view is quite silly. I believe it is about 1000 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End? As an immigrant to the US I can see both sides but I would not advise wearing such rose tinted glasses when it comes to the UK. It is a great place and I adore London, one of the worlds great cities, but I am not blind and yes, although it is very diverse, there absolutely is racism in the UK. To say there is not is total denial of facts. Anyway I hope this young lady has a wonderful and safe experience in the UK and that she may even learn to appreciate her own country a little when she is away for a length of time. I probably won’t follow her blog as her narrow point of view is depressing but then again she may expand her mind as time passes and that would be interesting to see.

  12. I’m a born-and-bred NYer now living in London and overall loving it but your post made me roll my eyes for so many points.

    To start off, castles and mulled wine are not an “England” thing. If you had said UK for the first, that would be appropriate. Returning from Scotland now and having seen marvelous castles (and still many more to be seen!), I can assure England does NOT have a hold on them.

    As for mulled wine, ummmmmm it’s pretty much a European thing. Having roamed the Christmas markets of Vienna, Prague etcetera, I can tell you mulled wine is everywhere in the winter.

    Lastly, yes transportation around most of Europe is mostly easy and can be cheap but writers like yourself perpetuate the falsity is it SOOO CHEAP. It’s not, period. The tube is pretty damn expensive actually (about twice monthly what I paid in NY) and inexpensive flights from London-Sarajevo in mid-September are ANYTHING but cheap and convenient.

  13. I used to love dreary, cloudy skies until I started living on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Also, the cloudy skies, as I get older, just make me want to sleep and nothing else!

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