My weekend in London: the closest I’ve felt to America in a long time. Forget the Revolutionary War, those little guys in red coats, three-thousand miles, and all that jazz. If you rule out the fancy accents and a small body of water between the two, London’s basically NYC or a chilly LA.
London felt like real life. England popped my fantasy bubble of “no pasa nada,” beers-with-lunch Spain. Time matters. People bustle back and forth dressed in business suits, scurrying to catch the next Tube. By the pace alone, I sensed an intense work ethic. The English mean business.
Most importantly, I understood the language. For four months now, I’ve grown accustomed to ruling out the voices around me. Andalusian Spanish turns into incomprehensible white noise, like one giant compilation of Charlie Brown voices. WA WA WA. WA. WA. The hum of conversation, often peaceful but most times overwhelming, fills the metro, shops, and restaurants. In England, I wasn’t an alien. I felt legit. Yes, I’m sure that I still looked pretty newby toting around my diaper-bag-esque camera case. Linguistically, however, I fit right in.
I love the English.
Next: I really enjoyed the country’s history. I’ve always been captivated by the idea of royalty. It’s not the diamonds, or horse-drawn carriages, or riches that interest me; I’m drawn to the enchanting aspect of a real-life fairy tale world, a fantasy often confined to our dreams. After an orange and red leaf-covered walk through Hyde Park, we casually stumbled across Kensington Palace. I’m used to watching clips of the royal family on E! News and seeing awkwardly blurry paparazzi photos of Will, Kate, and baby Cambridge plastered across the front page of People Magazine. Call me Scottsdale, but I loved seeing the places that I’d read about in my “trash magazines.” It felt like I was on a movie set.
Next: Does “British food” exist? Unfortunately, I didn’t find out. Instead, I made a pilgrimage to Chipotle. Ever since hearing of the chain’s British existence, I’d fantasized about that shiny metal taco bar. To most, Chipotle is casual, grad-it-and-go Mexican fast food. After a semester in Spain, the idea of a inhaling a sloppy burrito smooshed in tinfoil sounded like a five-course, wine and dine experience.
It’s true, Chipotle and I share a rocky past. We haven’t always…gotten along. In London, however, like any good couple, we overcame our differences and saw the beauty in each other.