Tuesday, September 4, 2012


"You're never foreign in London because everyone else is!"
Cheers to being foreign!
The head of our department gave us this advice during Orientation and I think it is the perfect way to think about London. There are people from all over the world, speaking different languages, wearing different clothes, and eating their own weird unique foods. My small, Southern town did not lend well to diversity and although I'm not sheltered by any means (thanks to all the amazing family trips across America, Europe, and Australia) it is always a culture shock when I come to a big city like London. I believe the difference between the multiple two week family vacations and living in a city is just that.. I'm actually living here.

This is home! Yahoo, I'm an ex-pat and I can call England home. I claim this place as my own and it claims me (on good days). When you are on vacation, it seems to be a bit like when you're at the zoo, an aquarium, or even a museum. You see the city/town/country as you are told to see it. Guides (read: curators for all my art history peeps) lead you around the best (or most quaint) restaurants, the most popular attractions, and through the seemingly 'perfect' streets. As you travel, spending just a few days (if that) in each city, you see just a speck of what a place is really like. The people, the energy, the community is somewhat lost whilst driving through in a tour bus full of other Americans. Travel just gives you a tiny slice of the culture that you have entered into..

Don't get me wrong, I love to travel and experience what cities have to offer. It is one of the most (if not the most) beneficial things that a person can do. Seeing cities in person and learning about cultures different than our own is vital to our global community's success... and it is possible to get a good sense of a city and its people if you visit even just for a few hours! However, I feel that living in another place than your hometown is what truly opens your eyes to the uniqueness and fabulousness (yeah, its not a word) of a city.

Walking every day down the same street, shopping at the local grocery store, and even just sitting at a Tube stop really influences how I see London. Each day I feel I have a greater understanding of what it is to be truly 'British' or at least truly a 'Londoner'. What I have found is that whoever you are, whatever you look like, however you act, and wherever you are from.. London will take you in, embrace you, and allow you to thrive. There is so much to be said for a city that is so inclusive of so many cultures, peoples, and lifestyles. Even if it isn't London, I can only hope to always live in a city that is so accepting and respectful towards all walks of life.

Cheers y'all, Lis

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