Saturday, February 9, 2013

31 Things I Learned Whilst Living Abroad

In December 2012, which was my last month living abroad (this time around, at least), I compiled the below list of some of the things I learned during my time as an immigrant in the United Kingdom.  Though in all likelihood this post does not signify the end of Travelin' Bunny, I do expect long periods of silence between posts.  Until we meet again, I wish you all happy travels and safe journeys.

31. Every country has hillbillies

30. When in doubt don't use sarcasm

29. There's more than one way to make a bed (see Evidence A)

Evidence A
28. You don't know what you don't know

27. English, even when both parties are claiming to speak it, is not necessarily a common language.

26. I am not a small town girl.

25. European Christmas markets make everything better.

24. Mulled wine makes everything better.

23. Mixer taps (aka regular faucets) are 'new' technology". (see Evidence B)

Evidence B
22. Nothing beats a £3.50 chicken doner kebab. Nothing. (Except, of course, a cheaper one.)

21. It is possible to see Europe for £25 return

20. I am capable of sleeping anywhere (e.g. standing, sitting, on the floor, lumpy futon, hard mattress, surrounded by shouting/crying/thumping).

19. Some cities completely shut down their public transit systems on Christmas day (I'm looking at you London). You wanna go visit your family? Hope they live within walking distance. You have work? Better sleep there overnight. Wanna go see the lights on Kensington High Street? Eff you.

18. Travelling by train, not that great. Don't get me wrong, plenty convenient (at times). Just not that great.

17. Not putting your rubbish in a bin is okay (and not considered littering) because people are employed to clean up after you. Seriously.

16. The USA was referred to as 'the most liberal country in the world' in either an article I read or something I saw on the news. Either way, even if it was just one person's opinion, I didn't know anyone believed that.

15. Michael Bublé and Bruno Mars are very popular.

14. Hotels in the US often have signs near the phone which read 'local calls are free'. I've always thought, 'well duh'. But, now I know that they say that because local calls are not free everywhere - like in Europe.

13. For the most part, things are exactly the same

12. Those of us who possess self-awareness are at a disadvantage and destined to be slightly frustrated with others at all times. (#12b, Europe is full of people lacking self-awareness.)

11. Shower head placement is arbitrary

10. Escalators are complicated and sometimes deadly (this may only apply in Scotland)

9. Generally, low standards/expectations equals more happiness

8. New friends are just as valuable as old ones.

7. Sometimes different isn't wrong, it's just different. But, sometimes different is just wrong. And, sometimes the wrong-different stuff is still different because people are too stupid/stubborn to change it.

6. I have a very unsophisticated palate

5. Street food is a cheap way to sample local cuisine (and delish!). (See Evidence C)

Evidence C
4. Comments are often made about the percentage of Americans who don't have passports (among other unflattering American statistics), both by Americans as well as others. But, I was shocked to find a number of people here who haven't been abroad (not even to Paris). More people in Scotland than London but there are still a good deal of people in London who've never left London. Shocking.

3. Not having to worry about health insurance, just knowing I'm covered, is a huge relief which I didn't expect. I thought because I always had amazing coverage in the States that I was never concerned about it. But I was. And I'm not here. And it's nice.

2. I don't hate all Americans I meet abroad. I may still hate all tourists, though.

1. When I left in 2010 I'd had enough of the States. The politics, the entitlement, the patriotism, the guns, the religious zealots, the anti-choice ignorants, the second class citizen-making. I was ready to never return. But, after about a year, the honeymoon period was over and I started to miss the States, something I didn't think was possible. But, I do miss it. And, I'm looking forward to coming home.

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