Monday, October 22, 2012

A Quintessential Brit

Classy ladies before the Races (Photo Credit: Courtney Cooper)
It's official: I have made the transformation into a true Londoner! The events of this past week or so have given me a genuine British experience, and the only distinguishing factor between me and a Brit is the accent. Maybe that's exaggerating a bit, but I really have been living the British life in every way. Last weekend, I went with a few friends to the Newmarket horse races near Cambridge, and it was certainly an adventure. No, we were not in our "smart" dresses and sun hats, but we did get a taste of the horse racing culture. Betting is completely legal here, so there were several stands to make wages, although I stayed far, far away for the sake of my bank account and my dignity. Although I was completely oblivious to the way the races worked, the atmosphere at the track was enough to keep my enthusiasm, and I ended up having a blast. The only problem was that I lost my beloved camera, which is why there are no pictures of the races on this post-I don't want to talk about it.

The architecture of Parliament is magnificent!
The transition doesn't stop there. I have been to the Houses of Parliament several times, either on class tours or on my own, but I had a very unique experience there last Friday. My British Politics class arrived at the House of Commons, dreading the same tour we had already been on with the same boring facts we had already heard, but we were proven wrong upon entrance into the House. We were able to sit in the viewing gallery while the House was in session to observe the members debate policies and bills. This might not seem like the most exciting thing in the world, and that's because you're thinking of stuffy old American politics. The English do things much differently, passionately shouting at one another in argument, with even the Speaker serving personal blows to various members, almost making fun of them. The experience was more entertainment than information, but I still learned a lot about the way the British political system functions.

Speaking of politics, I finally received my absentee ballot after several weeks of waiting, and I promptly filled it out and sent it to my local Board of Elections! I was so excited to have the chance to vote in a federal election, and may the best man win (I'll leave it at that). But just because I voted in an American election does not mean I am stepping away from becoming a true Brit!

Erin and Me getting into the Fulham v. Aston Villa game
(Photo Credit: Jen Mammel)
I am definitely not a huge soccer fan, but I figured I would have to attend a British "football" game just to say I went, so I went to the Fulham v. Aston Villa game this past weekend. Despite the fact that I had no idea what was going on (can you tell I am not into sports?), I still had a great time. As the passion and enthusiasm in the stadium was reminiscent of American football fans, and was completely infectious. I'm not even sure who I was supposed to be rooting for, but Fulham scored one point in the final minutes and ultimately came out as victor, so I'll just say I was rooting for them!

The Olympic Village-which room is Michael Phelps'?
Finally, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go on an Olympic Walking Tour around London's Olympic Park. The Park was purposely placed in an area desperate for economic assistance, and it was quite obvious why they chose the location they did. We walked along several arenas, viewing the Aquatic Center, basketball stadium, Olympic Village and other structures built specifically for the Games. Our guide was focused on the sustainable features of the Olympics, which was quite impressive on London's part, as the city created collapsable structures that would make way for new residential areas to improve the economic status of that part of the city. Although we were unable to go inside any of the arenas, it was amazing being able to be in the middle of what was once bustling with Olympians and fans from all around the world.

Panoramic view from the Viewing Gallery at Westfields Mall
Westfields: the largest mall in Europe/Mall of Dreams

1 comment:

  1. Molly, This is the College, we follow Elon University and saw your blog. We have Ambassadors that contribute to our blog when they are are home or on study abroad. We are following your blog and would like to share it on our website Our site is about College towns around the world combined with other social media platforms. Enjoy your study abroad.