"Americanism" Abroad Part 1

"Americanism" Abroad Part 1

What it's like to be an American studying abroad in London.

"Oh...you're from America," they say.

"I've never been to Boston," they say, "But I've been to New York and California. What's in Boston?"

"American portions are so large," they say.

"Donald Trump is crazy," they say, "you aren't a supporter are you?"

While I am not a supporter of Donald Trump, the association of being American in another country can be felt as strongly as the rest of the world's opposition to Trump. Whether I open my mouth to speak, I feel awkward, foreign. Even though I'm calling London home for the next couple months, I feel like I would if I went to a friends house for the first time and don't know whether I should take my shoes off at the front door or where them to the back-hall and take them off there.

Of course, I have only been here a few weeks. By the end of the December, I hope to know this city like a best friend. But right now I'm still in the awkward phase of getting the basics. And it is these basics that make me feel like an outsider. So, to save all of those who might end up in London at some point, I've complied a list of basic information everyone should know.


1. You never talk on the Tube. Especially in the mornings during rush hour since you are squeezed between many other adults all on their way to work. It is an invasion of personal space and everyone would rather just ignore the fact that your butt may or may not be in someone else's face.

2. If you take the escalator instead of the lift (British for elevator), always stand on the right. For those who still want a nice workout, the left is clear so they can walk up and get to their next destination in double time.

3. Some buses are 24 hours. Find those buses.

Basic Info to Avoid Looking Like A Tourist

4. Want to go to a fancy afternoon tea? You might as well tattoo tourist across your forehead. Of course, if you're going to be in London you might as well try it and be a tourist for a couple days.

5. Do not, under any circumstances, wear patterned clothes. Or extremely bright colors. So that neon pink shirt you want to wear because it could be cute to go clubbing in? No. Those zebra print pants you got? Return them. In the three weeks I've been here the brightest article of clothing I have seen others wearing are Nike sneakers.

6. Whenever you cross a street look RIGHT, then LEFT. And then check again for bikers. The amount of times I have almost been hit by a bike is too many.

7. Pants means underwear here. So don't say "I need new pants" or "Ugh I just spilled all over my pants" too loudly or else some creepy guy will look at you and you'll wonder what you did and then you'll hit yourself for sounding gross and American.

8. Most importantly, bathroom is loo.

In the coming months, I am sure there will be more, but so far these are the bare basics. Along with your other big city common knowledge like don't talk to strangers, try not to be by yourself late at night, etc. London is a lot similar to Boston in many ways, but I also have to remind myself that even if I was back in Boston, I would not leave the club with some guy. It's just common sense.

Cover Image Credit: Imperial College London

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.


When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.


My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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