Eating my way around the world

ImageThe image above may look like an incomplete coloring book page – and I seriously considered printing it out and coloring it, but I don’t have my markers with me. But it’s actually a map of all the places I’ve eaten food from, some in those countries themselves.

There may be some more I’ve eaten in the past, but I only filled in the countries for which I specifically remember eating one or more of their dishes. I love lists and maps, and this is like a list in the form of the map – what could be better?! It also gives me a chance to refresh my world geography skills!

I’d like to get some more of these colored in before leaving the multi-cultural, food-happy city of London. I know I especially have a lot of South American and African foods to try. Which ones should be at the top of my list?

Cities I want to see

NYC

New York City, 2012

Big cities didn’t used to appeal to me, with all the crowding and pollution and noise and less friendly people, until I realized that they have a lot of amazing things to see all packed into a smaller area that usually has good public transportation. I love nature and parks as well, so I’ve found that staying in a city but taking day trips to places nearby is a fantastic way to get a mix of both in any given part of a country.

I was looking through some of my old lists on listgeeks.com and I realized that I’ve now been to a lot of the places I wanted to go just two years ago. Here’s my list for Cities I Want to See from July of 2011:

  • London
  • Saltzburg
  • San Francisco
  • Athens (again)
  • Kyoto
  • Paris
  • Christchurch
  • Barcelona
  • Florence
  • Stockholm
  • New York
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Los Angeles
  • Toronto

I’ve been to five of them in the last two years. But I’ve added so many more to that list! Here’s my new one:

  • Saltzburg
  • Athens (again)
  • Kyoto
  • Christchurch
  • Barcelona
  • Florence
  • Stockholm
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Toronto
  • New Orleans
  • Hong Kong
  • Edinburgh
  • Dublin
  • Birmingham
  • Boston
  • Louisville
  • Austin
  • Prague
  • Seattle
  • Vancouver

We’ll see how many of those I can spend some time in within another two years. ;)

Traveling Alone

I love solo travel. The sheer freedom of being able to do whatever you want is great, because rarely will one find a travel partner who wants to go to all the exact same places you want to check out, even within the same city. Of course, there are downsides too – it can be nice to have some of the burden of logistics shared when you travel with another organized person, and also being able to share the experience with someone. But for an introvert like me, I like being able to really experience a place solitarily. And now, with social media, I can instantaneously share the beautiful vistas and unusual situations with my friends and family and not really feel alone anyway. The biggest drawback? The awkwardness of taking selfies and/or asking strangers to take my picture. But I’m working on getting that down.

I’ve been going on extended group trips since about middle school and never got homesick – an early indication of a future love of travel. I rode a plane on my own for the first time when I was 20 – a relatively short flight to Los Angeles on the way to meet my group for New Zealand, but I think that trip helped me get more familiar with airports and the process of flying. With a decent amount of travel experience under my belt, it seemed only natural to me to go on a trip alone. So in February of last year, during a seemingly random burst of wanderlust, one day I booked a round-trip March flight to London for a week.

Why not? I’d wanted to visit England for years and years, I’d saved up money to travel, and I knew no one would want to go with me. I had full control over what I wanted to do and when I wanted to do it. I didn’t even ask anyone if they wanted to join or request the time off work before I booked the flight. This was happening, and nothing was getting in my way.

So I was surprised when I talked about my trip and people asked me who I was going with. Really, you’re going alone?! Wow, how brave. (And I could tell by the looks on some faces that they were thinking, How strange.) This gave me some doubt about how well the trip would go or if it would end up horribly, but really I wasn’t too worried. It was an English speaking country and I had friends over there to meet up with, so perfect for traveling alone. And it was a wonderful trip! I fell in love with London and had a fantastic time in my friends’ English towns and Cardiff. There were of course some kinks, but I really didn’t mind being by myself.

Later last year, I took an even more spontaneous trip to New York City to meet Julie Andrews and experience the city for a few days, since I’d never been there before. That trip was fantastic too! Now people who know me seem less surprised/worried about my traveling alone, because clearly I can pull it off. But I’ve often wondered, why is this such a strange phenomenon to them? Plenty of people travel alone.

Upon exploration of various articles and blogs on the internets, it’s now my theory that it’s because I’m female, and also probably because I’m introverted and it just surprises people that I’d want to be so adventurous. Would you be surprised to find out that an outgoing guy went on a trip to London on his own? Is that because guys can obviously take care of themselves?

If you’ve ever wanted to go on a trip but couldn’t get anyone else to go with you, here’s my advice: just go. Don’t wait around, because usually things don’t just happen on their own, contrary to popular belief. Don’t let your significant other hold you back if they don’t want to go. Find a way to make it happen. Do your research, go somewhere safe, and in all likelihood you’ll be fine and have a great time!

Why I feel more American in Britain

I’m sure you’ve had the experience of going somewhere and feeling the differences between yourself and the natives more keenly, realizing you’re more different than you previously thought. Whether it’s language, race, religion, politics, clothes, whatever. There are even differences within the US, from city to city, state to state. Well, that’s how I feel when I go to the UK, and I haven’t even spent that much time there yet. As many people do, I’ve spent a lot of my growing-up years trying to fit in, whether consciously or not, sometimes with more success than others. Wondering if I’d fit in better somewhere else.

I’ve often said I feel like I belong in Europe, or Canada, or somewhere else liberal, but that’s only while I’m in Indiana that I think that. I’m not the patriotic type. I said the pledge of allegiance in school and I watch parades and fireworks on Independence Day like anyone else, but I’m not of the belief that the USA is better than all other countries. Everywhere has it’s pros and cons. Everywhere has good and bad people. No one’s religion is “more right” than anyone else’s. And that is one big thing that makes me stick out around here. I don’t have the usual “God Bless America” license plate, because I think God should bless Canada and Morocco and Ecuador too.

In London, I feel much more like an American. Aside from the language differences I’ve been writing about, there are definite cultural differences. Despite its cultural inclusiveness, most of the people I came into contact with were British, and they have a certain way of doing things.

These are the main things I think would separate me from fitting in with the Brits.

1. I’m more casual

I’d wear jeans and a t-shirt or hoodie every day if it were left up to me. But in Britain, when you go to work, the guys wear suits, and the ladies wear jackets, skirts, and heels. You won’t see the stereotypical big, weird hats like Kate and the Queen wear, but dress is just more formal.

That butterfly hat is actually kind of fun with the dress.

My company’s office in Indiana is mostly casual when we’re not meeting clients, but in the UK it’s “smart” (I’ve taken this to mean business casual or slightly more formal) every day except Friday, and no one ever seems to wear khakis. I figure I can get away with walking around the city in flats instead of heels and rarely wearing a skirt because I’m American. No one has berated me yet.

2. I’m less polite

This actually goes along with the formality theme. I often say “please”, “thank you”, and “excuse me,” and even the occasional “bless you,” but beyond that it’s not natural for me to be extra polite. I swear I don’t try to be rude, but I’m pretty sure I come off that way sometimes in the UK.

In our UK office, whenever someone leaves to get a drink from the “tea point”, they will ask if anyone else would like something to drink while they are there. Invariably, someone always wants coffee or some milk for their tea. But I’d rather get up myself and get my own drinks, so I’d rarely offer or ask. I like the break anyway. It just made me feel rude. But really, sometimes having manners like that just seems like a waste of time to me. Yep, there’s my Americanness again…

3. It’s dangerous for me to cross the road.

Ever since I started crossing roads, I was taught to look left, right, then left again before crossing the road. Always look in the direction a car could be coming from first. Right? Well, my brain is not so great at suddenly changing this direction. I am not even going to attempt to drive there.

Not as easy as you might think.

They write “look right” on every street for anyone who isn’t from one of the handful of countries with their strange road layout, but it doesn’t help me much. After several attempts at crossing the road and nearly getting hit, I decided I should just stick to the crosswalks and wait until the little man turns green. Much safer that way.

4. My accent

I almost didn’t include this one because it’s so obvious, but it’s true. I’ve heard a lot of people from Indiana say they “don’t have an accent”, but everyone has an accent! It’s just that most of Indiana has what I would call a standard Midwestern American accent (officially called a North Midland dialect), which is very similar to what most people in movies and on the news have, so it’s “normal” to us. But in the UK, I most certainly have an accent and I’m immediately pegged as an American. Annoying, but hey, what can you do – I really don’t want to go so far as to try to speak in a British accent on a regular basis. While it might be fun, it seems almost offensive.

Here’s an interesting article about different terms for the same things throughout the US. Did you know that in part of Wisconsin they call a drinking/water fountain a “bubbler”? I want to start calling it that.

So, I may never be just like the natives wherever I live, but I’m okay with that. It just makes other people more interesting.

I’d rather wander freely than be a kid again

A lot of things on Facebook annoy me. But one of my biggest pet peeves is when people say, “I want to be a kid again. This growing up and paying bills thing isn’t very fun.” For some reason it’s a very common complaint on Facebook.

This is one of those phrases, commonly uttered by young adults right around my age (mid-twenties) that I feel like people are not thinking all the way through. I get that paying bills and having to have responsibilities is not fun. But this is what you get for the major trade-offs of adulthood. And if your childhood was really that much better than your life now, then I do feel sorry for you, because that just sucks and it’s all downhill from here. But I think most people are just forgetting what it was like to be a child.

My childhood really wasn’t bad; my mom was loving, fed me, and bought me all the books I ever wanted. And kids can be a joy because they look at the world in a whole different way. But I just really prefer being an adult. Everything has positives and negatives (even ice cream – I know, shocking, but it’s true) so let’s review them.

Pros of Childhood

  • No bills
  • No job
  • More imagination and creativity
  • Lots of play time
  • More open-mindedness

Cons of Childhood

  • No control over one’s own life
  • Only had money if given by guardians
  • Only had food provided by guardians
  • Homework
  • Parental rules and punishments
  • Inability to envision the big picture past the next 5 minutes
  • Inability to choose the people you spend time with
  • Inability to go anywhere an adult doesn’t take you

By all means, if you’d like to dream of going back to the days of, “Go to your room,” “No, you can’t go to your friend’s house tonight,” and “Because I said so,” go for it. Just weigh the pros and cons before saying that phrase again.

Don’t forget, you can be an adult and still be a kid at heart.

How To Move Overseas

My story is part luck and part really really wanting something. One of my life goals was to live overseas (Europe, NZ, or Australia preferably, or maybe Canada) but I wasn’t sure how I would get there.

To all those who think it’s impossible to move to a different country or overseas, or even to a different state: it’s really possible if it’s something you want. You don’t have to make a ton of money; you just have to be willing to leave everything and everyone you know. Of course, it’s much more difficult if you have a family, so doing it while you’re young is optimal. But it’s still possible even with a family! The hardest parts of the process are getting the money and the visa. Money is easier than you may think for most people – if you have a decent full-time job, prioritize your budget around saving up money for a couple years.

So the trickiest part is the visa. If you are from the European Union, you have an advantage because you can move to any other country within it without a visa. But for an American who wants to move overseas, most other desirable countries have very strict immigration laws. More than I realized; basically you have to be married to a citizen of their country, or already have a job there. And how does one get a job from thousands of miles and multiple time zones away? Yeah, not easily.

Step 0: Save.

I’ve been saving money ever since I graduated and got this job for travel purposes and so I could move. I’ve thought about a trip around the world, but generally that would require quitting my job (and saving even more money) and that has some decent risks in it. I’ve thought about going on a work-holiday visa to Australia for a year. When you save money, the possibilities are much less limited.

I wasn’t sure quite what I was saving for, but I just put aside a bit of money each month – the key is to make a separate savings account and have an auto-transfer set up. $100/month over the course of a year, and you’ll have saved $1200! You don’t have to make a ton of money, but if you do this over the course of a few years, it will add up, and you can make your big move. Of course, you can save for a wedding, or a kid, or whatever your heart desires; it’s all about priorities! My priority is to experience new places.

Step 1: Work for a company hiring people in an overseas office.

The announcement came at work: “We are opening a new UK office and hiring three new people to start it up.”

Cool. But there’s no way they’d let me go – they rarely send me anywhere outside the office, and that would be a huge deal to send me that they wouldn’t want to deal with. Forget it, Bethany.

Two months pass. I get increasingly restless and am seriously thinking about moving to Portland, Oregon, an ideal living city in my mind since college. But I like my job too much.

Step 2: Don’t be a wimp. Apply for a position in said overseas office.

I hear they are still looking for people for the new office. One day, I get the sudden urge to try for it, but it still seems like a crazy, futile idea. So I put out my feelers by asking my immediate manager what she thinks, because she’s a good one for crazy ideas who won’t judge me too much. And she says, “Yes, I think you should go for it! That would be so exciting!” and gives me some tips on how to go about it.

So I go to the director of my department with my proposal.

I would be the best person because I’m already familiar with our software and processes, so I wouldn’t need to be trained. I can go for one year or two or indefinitely, whatever works best. I’ll take either of the two positions I’m most qualified for, whoever you need. I think I would be really great for this!

She seems confused because it seems like this came out of nowhere and isn’t completely sure I’m serious.

Step 3: Be flexible but serious about it, and plan.

I spent hours and hours looking into what it takes to move overseas. I thought about how much it might cost. Whether I could bring my cat, and if so what that would entail. How all aspects of my life would be turned upside down. I’d have to change phone companies, probably get a flatmate, and have a significantly higher cost of living. Leave everyone.

But there was never a doubt that this is what needed to happen. This is what I want to do, what I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I had to reassure the higher-ups several times that I was committed and would not change my mind. This was not a random idea. I wouldn’t beg to come home after a few months. Once they were convinced, the plans commenced.

My company is being super helpful with the visa process and making sure I’ll be happy, but I’m going to have to move to a different role than the one I have now. My living situation won’t be quite so comfortable. I will be relatively poor. I figured out that I can’t afford to move my beloved cat back and forth. I STILL don’t know when I’m leaving, so I have to keep my summer plans open.

Yep, I really want this!

Step 4: Wait.

It takes a long time to get a visa. This process started back in March, and I still haven’t gotten mine. We’re just guessing that I’ll be moving in July, but it’s hard to tell. Originally I was going to go for two years, but that one would’ve been more complicated and taken even longer, so it switched to one year.

Stay tuned for part 2 once I move, starting with Step 5: Move!

Things New and Old

One of the most frequent questions people ask when they find out I’m moving to England is, “Won’t you miss ____?” The answer is probably yes. I actually enjoy my life here in Indiana and I’m happy; I just like going new places and experiencing new things. So of course I will miss the people and places I love here: my friends, coworkers, family, apartment, cat, etc. But every choice you make comes with a trade-off – so for everything I miss, something new and interesting will take its place, and I will probably make new friends and favorite places during my year in London. So it’s worth it.

There’s the obvious major stuff, and there is the little stuff that one doesn’t normally think about. I’m noticing things as moving time gets closer, and I thought I’d put in list form. What I’m giving and getting. It may be therapeutic.

I will miss bike rides. The feel of the wind through my hair and view of beautiful, calm suburban paths and parks as I ride down the long, flat bike trail near where I live.

 

but I’ll enjoy efficient public transportation to take you anywhere. This comes in especially handy after a night at the pubs.

underground humor

I will miss having two monitors and my own big cubicle at the office.

multiple monitors

but I’ll enjoy an extra bank holiday, plus more if any royalty happens to get married.

royal wedding

I will miss Pandora. Why must my favorite music streaming service be blocked in the UK?

Pandoracat listening to music

But I’ll enjoy the BBC and other channels you automatically get if you have a TV. In addition to Doctor Who, who doesn’t like a good British reality show about teenagers learning to drive on the “wrong” side of the road in the midst of partying?

david tennant

I will miss asking for water and just getting water, not – “Still or sparkling? Tap or bottled? Ice or no ice?” as though preferences are as individual as tea.

tap water

But I’ll enjoy Pret a Manger, a fantastic sandwich/wrap place. I will have to stop myself from eating there every day.

pret a manger poster

I will miss NPR. I listen to it constantly when I’m in the car; I especially love the shows Radiolab, This American Life, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and A Way with Words. I’ll try to listen to podcasts in the UK, but it won’t be the same.

a goat on a cow

But I’ll enjoy the delicious English baked goods like crumpets, biscuits (cookies), and scones.

lolcat crumpets

As you can see, I’ll miss the States, but I think I’ll be okay!

My Wanderlist

I like reading other travel blogs, and when I encountered the amazing Janaline’s World Journey List, I was inspired to create my own. And, well, it doesn’t hurt that I have a slight obsession with making lists. (ListGeeks, anyone?) I haven’t been nearly as many places as Janaline, but before getting more into my current travels I thought I’d share some of the highlights of my past journeys, starting when I was a teenager.

  • My first taste of world travel was in high school (2005), when on a school trip I explored the masses of historical art and ancient ruins in Italy and Greece.
  • Saw the pope speak in Saint Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
  • Stared up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
  • Explored the lava-preserved ruins of the city of Pompeii.
  • Ate delicious pasticcio and baklava in Tolo, Greece.
  • Witnessed my bus driver punch a hit and run motorist in post-Olympics Athens, Greece.
  • A few years later during college, I joined a spring break road trip to Jacksonville, Florida.
  • Imitated a monkey at the North Carolina Zoo.
  • Overlooked the beach from the top of an old fort in St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest US city.
  • Feasted at a Hangi as part of the adopted family of a native Maori tribe in Tauranga, New Zealand.
Queenstown, New Zealand

Me just outside of Queenstown, New Zealand

  • Hiked down to enchanting Narnia at Cathedral Cove, New Zealand.
  • Zorbed in a big watery ball down a hillside in New Zealand.
  • Bathed in a silky warm mud bath in the geothermal springs of Rotorua, New Zealand.
  • Rode on horseback through the hills of New Zealand where The Lord of the Rings movies were filmed.
  • Danced the night away in the bars of Wellington, New Zealand.
  • White-water rafted on the Rangitikei River, New Zealand.
  • Climbed Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand.
  • Bungee jumped off a ledge overlooking Queenstown, New Zealand at night.
Top of Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

Top of Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

  • Viewed St. Louis from the top of its Gateway Arch.
  • Took a whirlwind world tour at the International area of Disney World’s Epcot, Orlando, Florida.
  • Had a blast at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, Orlando, Florida.

Me at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

  • Petted a penguin at Newport Aquarium in Kentucky near Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Was awed by Van Gogh and Monet’s original paintings in London’s National Gallery.
  • Rode the London Eye, the big wheel near Big Ben, to take in the incredible views of the city at night.
  • Photographed the incredibly old and beautiful churches and architecture of the financial district, called The City in central London.
  • Watched a West End show in London, Phantom of the Opera.
  • Walked around the adorable, classic English town of Sheffield.
  • Enjoyed bread pudding in a traditional English country pub in Leicester.
Leicester Abbey, England

Me at Leicester Abbey, England

  • Met the stars of Doctor Who at the first official convention in Cardiff, Wales.
  • Went hot air ballooning over central Indiana.
  • Zip lined through the forest of Brown County State Park in southern Indiana.
  • Got rescued by the Coast Guard from a jet ski in Detroit, Michigan.
  • Perused the fantastic collection of impressionist paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago and saw my warped reflection in The Bean in Millennium Park next to it.
  • Stood in Times Square in New York, where it is still packed and buzzing at midnight.
  • Looked over New York City from the top of Rockefeller Center.
Rockefeller Center

Me at the top of Rockefeller Center with Central Park behind me

  • Strolled through Central Park and saw the iconic statues and pathways.
  • The stars of the show Once on Broadway signed my Playbill after I watched the show.
  • Crossed the Brooklyn Bridge on foot to see amazing views of the Manhattan skyline.
  • Saw as much of the massive Metropolitan Museum of Art as I could in a few hours.
  • Attended a Julie Andrews book signing in the Upper West Side of Manhattan so I could meet her.
  • Perused the massive bookstore that is Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon.
  • Ate at Portland’s legendary food trucks downtown.
Golden Gate Bridge

Me in front of the Golden Gate Bridge

  • Crossed the Golden Gate Bridge over San Francisco Bay.
  • Hugged one of the very tall and majestic California redwoods in Muir Woods.
  • Stood in a prison cell in Alcatraz after cruising over from Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.
Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco

Me at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

  • Danced through the aisles on the Ellen Degeneres Show set and sat in the gazebo from Gilmore Girls and on the couch from Friends at Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, California.
  • Found that my hand is the same size as Julie Andrews’s in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California.
  • Walked down the Hollywood Walk of Fame next to the red carpet the day before the Oscars.
  • Played in the sand at sunny Santa Monica Beach, California.
  • Watched the changing of the guards in front of Buckingham Palace.
  • Toured Westminster Abbey, with all its royal history, in London.
  • Watched Palace Guards play the Happy Birthday song to the Queen of England on her 86th birthday at Windsor Castle, her favorite getaway from Buckingham Palace.
  • Experienced the ancient mysteries of 5,000 year old Stonehenge.
  • Drank water from the thermal springs of Bath, England.
Roman Baths in Bath, England

Me at the Roman Baths in Bath, England

  • Shopped at Harrod’s in London, the largest department store in Europe.
  • Cruised down the Seine River in Paris and saw the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral.
  • Sipped champagne at lunch in the Eiffel Tower.
  • Braved the crowds at the Louvre museum in Paris to see the Mona Lisa.

Words are quite brilliant things

I’m back in the States now, but I’ll be going back to the UK for much longer in about two or three months depending on when the visa comes through. So to tide me over I thought I’d do a post on one of my favorite cultural subjects: language.

The Brits have some of the best words. They did kind of originate the English language, after all. Here are some of my favorite British words and phrases that I’ve encountered, and their translations into US/American English:

  • tea point (kitchen / office break room)
  • bug bear (pet peeve)
  • wonga (money)
  • dosh (money)
  • brass (money)
  • torch (flashlight)
  • knackered (exhausted)
  • fit (attractive, although they also say physically fit)
  • bird (woman/chick, in the sense of fit bird meaning “hot chick”)
  • wee (either “pee” or “small” depending on context)
  • jumper (sweater)
  • fancy (like, as in I fancy that fit bird.)

The funniest ones are some of the more dirty ones, and can easily cause misunderstandings between Americans and Brits:

  • Pants actually refer to underwear in the UK, so don’t compliment someone on their pants if you mean their trousers!
  • Said the actress to the bishop = That’s what she said
  • Suspenders are often what they call garters, whereas braces are what we’d call suspenders
  • Fanny is their term for vagina, whereas they would say bottom or bum and never name someone Fanny or buy a “fanny pack”
  • Fag is not a derogatory slang term in the UK, but rather a cigarette
  • When a Brit says they got pissed last night, they don’t mean angry; they got drunk.

And I love food in London, although sometimes it can be confusing to order. Here are a few terms I noticed while perusing menus that I had to look up or ask about:

  • courgette = zucchini
  • aubergine = eggplant
  • Wellington is traditionally a rich beef dish with a pastry crust, but I’ve had a delicious spinach-mushroom wellington.
  • My favorite food term is probably rocket, which looked fun when I saw it as an ingredient on a sandwich, but it’s just arugula, no space travel involved.

There is so much fun slang, don’t be surprised if I do a part two once I go back!

Welcome!

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace, not far from where I’m staying this visit.

As I write this, I’m currently in London. When I go back to the States (Indiana) on Saturday, I will have been here for three weeks, working most of the time on a business trip. I’ve had a great experience though especially on weekends – saw a lot of the city, drank in a bunch of pubs, a packed day trip around England, and spent my 25th birthday in Paris.

I love traveling, eating, and absorbing different cultures. England isn’t super different from the US, really – same language, very similar customs and a modern democratic, Western society. But I notice lots of little things and always want to share them. Words and phrases in British English are my favorite, and then there are things like how they don’t do tips at bars or pubs and that there are two rival mail services. Lots of little quirks that are interesting to a foreigner like me, so I’ve been sharing them with my European coworkers as well as tweeting and facebooking to share with my American peeps. My coworkers suggested I create a blog to talk about my experiences, so here I am!

Once I get a visa this summer, I’ll actually be moving here to London for a year to help get my company’s new UK office going. This is a fantastic opportunity, and I’m really excited, because other than through a job it’s very hard for an American to legally move to another country. London is a huge and amazing city, but I plan on traveling around the rest of the UK and Europe too because everything is relatively close together. On this blog I’ll share my experiences with both living abroad and traveling to new places. I hope you enjoy it! I also love feedback (as I think most bloggers do), so please join in the conversations about words and culture and things I encounter.

Eiffel Tower

France says the Eiffel Tower is the tallest building in Europe, but England says it’s The Shard in London.