Why are you talking to me?
Yes, so I’m a relatively friendly gal–and I tend to make conversation with people around me. When I first moved in with the family I’m staying with, I was surprised that they didn’t know their neighbors…despite living there for twenty years!
So when I started going out for my early morning jogs, I made it a point to introduce myself to the neighbors, my local shopkeeper, security guard on campus, reception at my workplace, etc…until one day at a reception, I got a no-nonsense look that read “why are you talking to me” from a fellow student. Well, I thought this was a networking event.
Apparently, Londoners think its a little weird to start small talk on the tube, or while waiting in line, or even as lifelong neighbors. So how do Brits meet other people if they are not use/comfortable to talking to strangers?
Do you own a gun?
Uh, no. This one I don’t, but I probably will in the future. And this is usually followed up with a “Why”? or a strange look. Apparently, BBC News is somewhat fascinated by American gun culture, according to various news articles that I’ve seen.
Just for some background info, handguns were outlawed in the UK after the Dunblane school massacre in 1996. It was the U.K’s first and only school shooting; and I guess this generation growing up in this culture view gun ownership as something strange. Should everyone be allowed a handgun– most definitely not; but it is interesting when you think about crime rates in London versus New York City. Two completely different worlds, despite the fact that these large urban areas are experiencing the same socioeconomic pressures, minus ready-access to weapons in one.
So what do you think of Donald Trump?
Of course, I’m into politics and its what I’m studying here; I have to admit some of the most interesting political science discussions I’ve had were with folks outside my department. So Europeans in general are completely baffled by Trump’s rise despite his very offensive and divisive rhetoric. To be fair, so are many Americans.
I do have to remind them that many European politicians have made very conservative statements in regards to migration (Syrian migration in particular) especially when you look at the rise of the nationalist party in France led by Marine LePen, the New Years assault claims in Cologne, Germany, Certain Scandinavian parliaments (looking at you, Denmark) wanting to pass a law to strip Syrian migrants of all their assets to pay back the government, and various countries in the Balkans that have responded to the Syrian humanitarian crises by erecting border fences and local officials saying, “Immigrants are not welcome”. Thus, this sentiment towards migration, especially towards Syrian migrants is not just a Trump phenomenon –temperature testing in many Western nations currently show more anti-migrant feelings than before.
Well, that’s some of the things that Brits have been asking me. What about you? Ever experienced culture shock? I’m still trying to figure out how to open doors in this country. Are you British or from another country and want to know something about America(ns)?