I'm back in the US after 11 long weeks in England. My time there was good, and I got a great head start on my studies. There are definitely some things I did not like about England (sorry to all my English friends):
1. It was cold. Temperatures never got up to 30 C (86 F) and most days it didn't even get to 21 C (70 F). Temperatures below 70 F are against my body's religion. I don't know how the Enlgish can live. It's not just the outside temperature, either. It's the temperature inside. There isn't much heat in homes! And people like to have a window open when it's 10 C (50 F outside). I kept closing windows! Almost never in my time did I wear less than three layers inside or out. Many times I wore five layers with gloves and a hat--even inside.
2. Many days were raw and rainy. I guess that's what you get when you live on an island in the far north. I'll have to admit that the beautiful days made up for it. England is a beautiful country (the silver lining from the cloudy days).
3. While I like bright sunshine while it is day, I'm like it dark at night and don't sleep well if there's too much light. Of course, with the sun rising at 4 a.m. and setting at 10 p.m., this doesn't leave much room for night. When it gets light, my body wakes up. Needless to say, I didn't get enough sleep. In addition, there was a bright streetlight outside our room, and we didn't have any curtains or shades to block it out. It really bothered me. I finally resorted to wearing those masks they give you on the plane to block out light.
4. Things seem much smaller and more crowded. In a store, the shelves don't have enough room between them for two people to pass each other. Houses are much closer together and rooms smaller. It's hard to pass people on narrow sidewalks. So many people and bicycles crowd the paths in the countryside that it's hard to get in a decent run. I know that England is much more densely populated than the US and I did get to see some country. But I like wide open spaces like we have in many places in the US and in Africa.
5. I didn't know many people in England, and it was very lonely.
Lest you think that I really hated England, let me hasten to say that it wasn't all bad. Here are some things I really like:
1. I already mentioned that it's a beautiful country. The green countryside is almost unmatched.
2. I got to roam in the meadows with cows and horses. I felt like I was back in Africa.
3. The history was amazing. I couldn't believe I was walking amongst 500-year-old buildings.
4. We got to see some old friends, one of whom lives in Oxford.
5. We found a nice church in which we felt welcome.
6. I got to do some new things I had never done before (punting; visiting Oxford University; walking in the footsteps of such great men as William Carey, John Bunyan, William Cowper, and John Newton; reading in the Bodleaian). I love adventures.
Still, there's no place like home, wherever that is.
I'll be starting a new adventure in a month. It seems like I'm starting a new adventure every month.
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