‘Cheers from the old world’

Today I write to you from the far, far away land of Great Britain. For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of visiting London, the capital of all that is great literature, great art and great history. Finally, I have arrived at the place that brought me Mr. Darcy, Mrs. Dalloway and, of course, Mr. Harry Potter.
Leaving home seemed like an indomitable task, but once I said goodbye through tears and snotty hugs, I got on that plane and I was off. Just as I predicted, the first few mornings waking up here, I couldn’t help but scream in my head, “I’m in LONDON!” in utter disbelief.

It is far more beautiful, eclectic and exciting than I ever imagined. We’ve had 50- and 60-degree weather the two weeks I’ve been here. It is a relief to be able to shower in the morning knowing I won’t have to worry about being drenched in sweat from the sticky humidity of Florida just 30 seconds after walking out of my “flat.”

I find British people to be extremely inviting and friendly, with a wonderful touch of dry sarcasm that warms my heart. They have a strange, almost unnerving fascination with anything “American.” To that effect, I find it is a lost battle trying to clarify “America” and the “United States.” Everything from “the States” is America-period. Many dream of living there, which I find particularly amusing. I’m also bewildered by their odd obsession with Lucky Charms, the apparent epitome of American life.

While London is the newfound love of my life, it definitely does not love my wallet. One ride on the Tube-the underground, a much more intricate and effective method of public transportation than the Miami Metro-will cost you $3. Basically, you need to be rich just to get to the cheap mall and grocery store.

While my money is slowly vanishing, my mind and my heart are expanding in priceless ways. I am getting a deep and intensive course on the British language-an entirely different one from American English-which I hope to one day emulate more accurately. I am finally seeing the world from another country’s eyes. I am living in a country that doesn’t have an Independence Day as a national holiday. In London, people queue. They don’t have French fries but chips, and potato chips are called crisps. Their currency includes about ten different values of coins and they walk and drive on all the wrong sides. They use “s” where we put “z,” and the letter “z” is called “Zed.” It’s the strangest peculiarities that are making this an incredible adventure. For the time being, I bid you. cheers!

Bernardita “Beni” Yunis is a senior majoring in communication studies, international studies and religious Studies. She finally got to London and has to pinch her arm every day because she can’t believe she’s there. She may be contacted at b.yunis@umiami.edu