Fashion, streets and lighting up

England is a foreign country. You may read that and secretly think to yourself, "Well duh, Alex," but sometimes I can forget this simple fact. The country looks an awful lot like Iowa or Minnesota, and the people are speaking English… most of the time. There are definitely some big differences though. One difference that has really hit me, especially while on Nottingham Uni campus, is fashion. England definitely has its own fashion. You will very rarely see sweatpants or workout clothes worn out and about like is so popular in the States. Here, everyone is dressed up all of the time. It’s super weird. I’ve tried a few times to go with the fashion here. I even ran to H & M one day and bought a good-ol’ sweater dress. Funny thing, when I showed my boyfriend my attire he mentioned how emo I looked, but that’s the style here for some reason, lots of dark colors. There are also some very big no-nos from the States that are much too popular here. 1) Girls wear shorts over tights. If you wore this back in the United States people would wonder what you were thinking. “If you’re so cold,” they’d say, “Put on some pants?” 2) Another classy look over here is wearing bras with see-through shirts. Yes, it does happen… A LOT. I couldn’t believe it the first time I saw it, but it actually is a fashion thing. My first thoughts were “Poor girl, how embarrassing.” But no, they do it on purpose… Another thing that reminds me constantly that I’m in another country is that the streets here are so strange. It’s quite enough that they drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, but then you have to add in roundabouts, circle, triangle and just about every shape of blocks. I’m still amazed that I can go for a run and cross a busy intersection and low and behold run through a grassy park and end up practically in my backyard. It’s all just so magical. We also happen to live on an awkward triangle-ish block. I always end up getting back to the flat on my runs way before I expect to. You can also never rely on our American idea of blocks. When you expect them to lead back to your beginning point let me tell you they never will. The technique for returning from a run is therefore to just turn around and follow your exact route. It never fails me. Another thing, and this one really kills me, is that EVERYBODY and I mean EVERYBODY in Nottingham seems to smoke, all of the time. You’ll be on a peaceful walk or run and without fail some bloke is going to be out standing on the sidewalk lighting up about every block. It’s really obnoxious. Even on campus, students get out of a building and instantly whip out their cigarettes. It’s absolutely everywhere. Go stand at a bus stop and if someone isn’t already smoking there, they will be give it about five minutes. Give it ten, you’ll have two or three people lighting up. That’s one fad that I’m just not going to participate in. Well I’m off to enjoy a great Saturday night of coloring and game-playing with the flatmates. Until we meet again, cheers ladies and gents

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