Chips are Crisps
This week has been a week of firsts. My first time traveling internationally. My first time enjoying high tea on the River Thames (pronounced “Temps”). My first time navigating the Tube. My first time getting lost while trying to navigate the Tube. My first time hearing a computer mouse being referred to as a “rodent.” My first time watching British reality television. My first time being completely independent.
This concept of independence is a new one for me. I have always associated “independence” with being away from parental supervision. Freshman and sophomore year of college I kept feeling like my independence was growing, even though I still talked to my parents at least 3 times a day (by choice) and lived in places that provided me three meals a day as well as the comforts of a home. My perspective on independence has shifted quite a bit this past week. Real independence is being cut off from your comfort zones; No phone, limited internet, thousands of miles away from family and friends, and truly thinking for yourself – that’s independence. Don’t get me wrong, I do still have great friends with me here, and talk daily to my family and friends in the states – it’s just a new level of independence. It’s like I am going through a test run of being an adult. I am grocery shopping for myself, cooking dinners, and going to my internship in the morning alongside hundreds of normal work-goers. I’m beginning to feel like a grown-up, slightly.
Yesterday we went to Oxford Circus, the “Times Square” of London. Across one street was a three story H&M, and diagonal to that was a Top Shop. Top Shop is the best store I have ever stepped foot in, so much so that I feel weird calling it a “store.” It’s where glamorous meets grunge, vintage meets modern, casual meets dress-up, and 70’s hippie-chic meets 50’s dainty and feminine. A fashionista’s dream all jam packed into a three floor concrete safe haven.
Later that evening a group of us went to a comedy night at a local bar in Angel. It was free and worth so much more. Each act with their own style of humor, they were all honest and open – using truth as a consistent dynamic to their sets.
The bold fashion I saw earlier that day, mixed with the personality the comedy club exuded, left me feeling very cultured. Sure, I could have gone to museums all day to muster up a true feel for the place I am in (and I do plan on many museum and gallery trips) but I think that today provided me with the strongest connection to this society. Obviously America and Britain aren’t much different (just with a couple minor contrasts in the realm of social interaction), but it is natural for anyone to enter a brand new environment and make it out to be more foreign than it actually is; we are only human.