CULTURE SHOCK CAN ACTUALLY ROCK

My life is astonishingly different in London. This may sound like an obvious statement, but just a month ago I really felt like I was the exact same girl I was when I left Mizzou. Recently, though, something has changed within me (cue “Defying Gravity” from Wicked)… maybe it’s the sudden realization that the semester I’ve always dreamed of is rapidly coming to an end; maybe it’s the fear of returning to a place that, compared to London, now seems extremely dull; maybe I’ve just become an uppity snob after living in a place that so many dream of merely visiting at some point. I’m constantly torn between being remarkably grateful for the time I’ve gotten to spend here and feeling utter greed about wishing to spend much more time here.

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I have to admit- I’m absolutely terrified to return to Mizzou. Sure, I love my friends there. I know I’ll have a ton of fun when I go back like I always do. I’ve missed some of the comforts of being in my home country (mostly Target and Wal-Mart, if we’re going to be honest, sorry everyone), but my heart feels like it’s being torn to shreds every time I try to imagine leaving London. This is my life now, and I’m comfortable here (or as least as comfortable as a foreigner can get in such a big, crazy city).

I hope that my time here will have changed me for the better. I definitely feel much more mature, independent and somehow less petty than I was prior to this trip (well, that last part is still a work in progress).

I think that I constantly crave change, but it is also one of my biggest fears. Once I get comfortable in a place, it frightens me to leave. I was scared to come here from Mizzou, and now I want nothing more than to never leave London. I think I’m a strange mixture of being very spontaneous and adventurous and also a peaceful, routine-oriented person. I wish that I could split myself so that I could live in all my favourite places at once- London, Mizzou, Boston and Colorado. And maybe California while we’re at it. That place is pretty cool.

On another note, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how one of the biggest influences to my experience in/perception of London has been music. I listen to The Beatles every day of my life, along with the Across the Universe soundtrack, of course. I’ve had this on repeat for quite a long time now.

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British music has completely shaped my life for nearly as long as I can remember. Judge me as you will, but my friends and I are constantly on the lookout for Harry Styles while living here. (Yes, we found his house. Yes, we took photos in front of it. Yes, I bought a Harry Styles colouring book. Yes, I just spelled colouring the British way. What of it?)

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The songs “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen and “Dan Bilzerian” by T-Pain have been the unofficially official songs of this trip. (With an honorable mention to Sign of the Times) Whenever “Don’t Stop Me Now” plays in a club or a bar, my friends and I go absolutely insane, this video being a very accurate representation. Like, seriously, that dance is on point.

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(Honestly we were probably blasting “Don’t Stop Me Now” while this photo was taken)

I’ve loved learning about the historic battle between Blur and Oasis, and Parklife has become another anthem of my life here (still think I would have supported Oasis, though). Park life is such a real thing, especially now that it’s spring and beautiful weather outside (which is also of course the time when we have to leave- great)!

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In one of our classes we also learned about tensions between the rockers and the “mods” by watching the movie Quadrophenia. I had never heard of mods before, and I was shocked to find out that The Who, another band I love, were actually mods.

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Camden Town, of course, is still chock-full of another group that will seemingly never die out (cheers to that)- the punks. I have never seen so much coloured hair, so many giant mohawks, nose piercings, Doc Martens or drunk/smoking people as I have here. The homeless people are honestly probably the coolest people here- they seem to have formed a sort of squad and appear to have a lot of friends around Camden.

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The “chav” culture is also kind of becoming more mainstream and trendy. Since we learned about chavs and chavettes in class, I always notice when girls are wearing things like big hoop earrings and tight ponytails. The culture is just so different here, and I love it. Chavs don’t even exist in America. Since I linked to that Catherine Tate video I also have to link to a few more hilarious bits of hers about posh people in England. This one had me in tears.

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Recognise these chavs?

But anyways, moral of the story, I love London and its very unique culture. I kind of never want to leave this beautiful place. I’ve decided that I don’t necessarily want to live here again when I’m young, unless I have at least a friend or a boyfriend or someone else coming with me (because London can be a very lonely city), and a job, because it’s wicked **expensive** here, but I’d love to raise my future children here. Education is just typically better over here, and plus my kids could have British accents. What a dream that would be. I’ll be back, though, most likely married to Harry Styles and living in Hampstead (my favourite part of London- not because Harry lives there, I swear!).

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Well, sadly, it’s ridiculously late here and I’ve had a very long day and have to get up early for my internship tomorrow morning, but I’ll catch you all on the flip side!

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