A New Year, A New Country

Sthephany Vasilopoulos van Oordt

Seven months after living in Stockholm, I was able to fulfil my dream of living in the United Kingdom.

Three suitcases, one carry-on and several tears later, I arrived in lovely London. The land of pubs, red telephone booths, royalty, native English speakers, tea, and most importantly, a culture that Canadians can certainly identify with! I had finally reached the European holiday destination I felt the most at home in.

Living in England exceeds my expectations far beyond what I ever imagined.

Unlike some Nordic people, the Brits are quite friendly and loving. Men hold the doors open for you. People apologize when they bump into you in the streets. The cashier at the local grocery store is happy enough to engage in a conversation, and people are delighted to hear about Canada, unlike in Sweden, where some Swedes liked to brag and complain about the cold weather. Newsflash Swedish friends, you are not the only country that has below 30 temperatures, ice, snow and darkness past 4 o’clock. I would also like to point out that moose are token Arctic animals, not just Swedish.

Mind this History 

Regardless of the cultural differences, living in England feels like being a home with a touch of history. The British countryside is everything you can ever imagine: tiny little villages, large historic estates and farm homes. The cities are filled with historical buildings that were built before Canada was even discovered. During my first week in Cambridge, I unknowingly stumbled upon a pub that was originally opened in 1667! The Eagle Pub is just right near Cambridge University, or otherwise known as the place in which James Watson had announced his discovery of the secret of life – DNA.

From what I’ve been told, England is filled little nooks that are simply overflowing with history; it’s just a matter of time until I find them all. And so, 2012 marks the end of one journey, yet the beginning of another for this young lady. My New Year’s resolution for 2011 was to explore and see what the world has to offer. After some tearful goodbyes in three continents, I managed to set foot in eight countries over the span of 365 days. This year, my resolution is much simpler, yet highly important. However I cannot tell you what it is yet, you’ll have to wait and see.

After all, things, cities, and people change but some things are meant to stay secret until the timing is right.