I should have looked at the question for this blog sooner because I have been in Lancaster, England for four weeks now. However, I can hopefully look back in hindsight and remember some of the expectations I did have while I was preparing to depart.
I had never been to Europe before, and I had previously imagined an ethereal land defined by many classic novels and stories. England was no exception, and in reality, it certainly does hold some of the dreamlike qualities. I certainly anticipated the rain, and the English skies abundantly provided; however, the gray atmosphere matches well with the countless rolling hills dotted with fat sheep and cattle. The farmlands are divided with hedges or beautifully sculptured stone walls. Overall the landscape exceeded my expectations, along with the incredible architecture. I just can not get over how well they place stones together! Also, in my freshman year of Introduction to Environmental Science, we learned how England is constructed in an ingenius way that does not allow for sprawl. This also I have been blessed to discover.
One aspect that did surprise me was the food. I ignorantly had decided that the food would be awful, according to general complaints I had randomly heard. Well, that was wrong. Maybe I just like simple cuisine, but the baked goods are always excellent, and homemade English food is not only very filling but surprisingly tasty. Tea is of course in abundance as well.
I have not been able to meet many English students yet because I've been in a four week International Summer School which equated into 31 American students. The majority of students I have met are from a church a former Allegheny student warmly welcomed me to. On the plane ride here, I had read that English people are in general less willing to befriend anyone and everyone as Americans sometimes act like. Basically, the article informed me that the English are more concerned with making lasting friendships, so a foreigner staying for a limited time might not receive very warm greetings. I had heard also from friends who studied in other European countries that the people did not seem as openly friendly as we do in our country. I did not want to put too much stock into that generalization, and so far, it has proven false, thankfully. I've only received warm greetings and genuine politeness. I do think maybe English people are more reserved as a whole, and maybe quieter, but they are certainly still gracious and welcoming. Of course, these are all generalizations, but this is what I've observed as a whole so far.