Travel Blog: England v. Iowa, Round Two

Lydia Marcus–Staff Writer


Overall, living in England has been quite nice. In my first column, I listed some initial observations about aspects of English culture that were different from American culture. Now that I’ve lived here for a few months, I’ve got an expanded list of the perks of living and studying in England. It’s not comprehensive, but I’ve chosen what I think are the most interesting (if mundane) bits.

  • You can study outside without having your books ripped violently out of your hands by the wind. (But there is a slight danger that your books will become slowly sodden because of the drizzling rain.)
  • It seldom falls below 0 degrees Celsius, and it seldom gets above 23 degrees Celsius. The weather never assaults you—even the rain comes in a gentle sprinkle—and it never hurts to breathe. What novelty.
  • The tea is usually quite good. (But the coffee is less impressive.)
  • When you make tea, you never have to fish flakes of calcium and other deposited minerals out of the bottom of the kettle first.
  • The public transit system is expansive, so not owning a car isn’t crippling. Plus, they take good care of their bicyclists and pedestrians by providing bike lanes and pavements, so both walking and cycling places are attractive, feasible options. And it is a small country, so the places you need to get to are often within cycling distance.


    Photos By: Lydia Marcus

  • They use the metric system, which just makes more sense.
  • They are globally aware, and they are (usually) even-keel, so when you read the news you actually get the news without too many sensationalized accoutrements. (Of course, even the BBC succumbs to click-bait sometimes. Alas.)
  • Each denomination of pound note looks dramatically different from the others, so there is no chance that you’ll mistake a £5 note for a £20 note. And you definitely shouldn’t get confused between ones and fives because ones are coins and fives are notes. (The five-pence coins do look nearly identical to Canadian dimes, though, which is confusing.)
  • The produce is fairly inexpensive, and the farmers’ markets are well-stocked. (Did I need three pounds of leeks? Probably not. But they were cheap, they looked magnificent, and I’m sure I can find a use for them. Potato leek soup, anyone?)lydia2.jpg

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