They’re All Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road: An Acorn Goes Abroad Account

5 mins read

By Jake Levine

We’ve been in London for almost a month now, and I’m pleased to say I have not been run over as of yet. Of all the dangers that the city has to offer – thievery, muggings and endless amounts of Pizza Hut locations (of all the American exports to have!) – nothing has been relayed to us as more dangerous, or more likely, than being flattened by a double decker bus. The streets even tell you where to look, accounting for the likely scenario that you decide to play chicken rather than try and interpret the incomprehensible flow of traffic. And to think this used to be the seat of the empire…as the British would say, bollocks.

Life in London has been amazing, and my goal in contributing to this abroad edition of The Acorn is to try and be as little pretentious as possible. My biggest fear is coming across as being that guy who comes across as overly boastful about that “one time he studied abroad.”  Instead, I want to articulate what English life looks like from the perspective of an American to my fellow Drewids back home (I miss you so much Ranger Bear). This second installment comes from Staff Writer – and purveyor of fake news – Jake Levine.

As we move closer to the milestone of one month in the U.K, it seems odd that it still feels unreal. Walking through the streets of London, one notices the reverie that is this magnificent city. Castles and displays of gold line the streets in an exquisite manner, almost overtaking the splendor of the countless drunk people getting plastered on London’s many street corners. The people are unbelievably friendly, always willing to offer directions, share a pint at the pub or enthusiastically, and quite creatively mind you, saying the darndest things like “Oi mate, fuck off will ya?!?”

But having the opportunity to learn in a different country is something truly eye-opening. You see things from a different perspective and come to understand how other people see the world. For example, apparently the British were justified and, get this, underdogs in the Falkland War – at least according to the doorman at the Palace of Westminster (and contrary to what everyone else believes, but “when in Rome,” am I right?). Or that the wonderful monarchs, whose young Prince George likes to call his fellow classmates “treacle,” and the class system, epitomized by the outdated House of Lords, commonly referred to in the House of Commons as “Jurassic Park” or “The Old Man’s Home,” are essential components of a diverse and thriving democratic society.

Despite what may sound like assessment of the U.K, I actually think it is wonderful here. I daresay that London eclipses New York (though the pizza and bagels here are shite). The pigeons are cooler, their underground is actually clean and well-maintained and all the museums are free. But, like every other place, England has its advantages and faults. It isn’t perfect, but neither is America (at least their messy yellow-haired cheeto figure – Boris Johnson – is only their Foreign Secretary – equivalent to Secretary of State – and not their leader). That being said, I do miss certain things about America. I miss ICEEs, freedom, Guy Fieri, dumping tea in the harbor and, last but not least, Bee Movie. But most of all, I miss not constantly fearing impending death every time I step on the street. London cars, get your shite together. Once again, from The Acorn, I’m Jake Levine. Cheers.

Graphic by David Giacomini

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