Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June 23 -- Arrival in London

“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” - Clifton Fadiman

As my plane touched down at Gatwick (pronounced Ga-twick for you Yanks) airport, I couldn’t help but exclaim, “We’ve arrived at the motherland.”

So much of our history and culture is intertwined with that of Great Britain that you do tend to feel at “home” when you arrive. As I looked at the landscape rushing past the airplane window, I felt I could be touching down in North Carolina or Virginia. But once I started actually interacting with the culture, I began to notice the differences in British English and American English, and it’s not just the accent.

It began with the flight attendant helping me take my baggage out of the overhead “lockers” (not bins). As I thanked him, he replied, “No worries.” I was told to get in the “queue” for those who did not have UK or EU passports. I was then directed to the “lift” that would take me to the train station. As I waited for the Gatwick Express, I was told to “mind the gap.” For dinner, I had a “pasty” (not pastry). As I walked back from dinner, I saw a sign that directed people that the “diversion” (detour) was at an end.

So as comfortable as I feel here, I am still reminded in little ways that I am “not in Kansas anymore.”

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed your photos, Jeannie. Thanks so much for sharing! KMa