At lunch today, I was asked, “What is it that you like most about London?” After thinking about all the things I love about London, including its blend of historical and modern architecture, its selection of unique markets, and its rich history, my answer was obvious.
Looking around our table, which included two Australians, two Romanians, two Englishman, a South African and two Texans, I responded, “I love the wide mix of cultures that only London has.”
Here a variety of people and ethnic groups fill the streets, tubes and buses. Before coming to the city, I thought I would hear English accents everywhere and everyone would look pretty much the same. I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, British English, apart from work, is what I have heard the least.
London is a true melting pot of cultures and languages. As a Spanish major and French minor, I am person who loves to learn new languages and examine the different ways people communicate. With all the languages spoken all around including Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Romanian, French and many more, it has been fun just listening and picking up on each one. Even the English here has been an adventure to discern. Although I thought it was going to be simple to understand people here, I find myself constantly asking them to repeat themselves.
As in the states, London has its own unique words such as “cheers” used as a salutation, a toast, a farewell and pretty much anything; “no worries” to mean no problem; and “brilliant” to mean great or cool. I plan to take some of these words to use in everyday talks back in the states, which will probably annoy my friends, but will make me seem more cultured.
Leaving the restaurant, my fellow Texan and I reflected on the amazing opportunities we’ve had to meet a variety of people from around the world in one place. It could only happen in this city. It could only happen in London.