Well, I've spend about 22 months living in London. I still think I am very much the same person, really 2 years is not all that long. But there are a few things I have noticed about myself or how I view the world that have changed:
Holy Crap I am White
I caught a glimpse of my bod in the mirror at the pool locker room today. Wow, I am pale. There is no tan line or differentiation between the color of my ass and the color of my arms. I haven't been this white since those long, dark winters growing up in the Midwest. Frightening, though probably excellent for my poor skin.......
I Wear Fewer Solid Colors
Americans wear a lot of solid colors, like one big Gap ad. Have you ever noticed that: brown pants/yellow shirt or blue jeans/green top (see Dave for an example). Here in London there are so many patterns and mixes, and there is way less of a cultural "standard" for dressing. This holds true for both men and women. Dress crazy and wear whatever - matching or coordination is completely optional. My sister Kait would fit RIGHT in here.
I Speak a Bit of German and A Lot More French
Best thing I did while living in London, lean more languages!
I "Like" Tea
I had never had a proper cup tea in my life before living in the UK. While I don't love the stuff, I can appreciate it. Though really, I think I mostly drink tea to stay warm and not cry when it is cold and dark out all winter.
I Think More About What Is in the Foods I Eat
Full disclosure - Dave has always had some pretty crazy stomach issues. To be fair he eats total crap a lot of the time, but it is clearly more than that. As in, we cannot leave the house if a Stouffer's lasagne or Kraft mac and cheese has gone down his throat in the last hour. His stomach would often go crazy after restaurant meals in the U.S. too (especially if the meal involved any sort of cream-based sauce or soup). Here in London, his stomach issues are non-existent. It's crazy. It makes you realize they use a ton of crazy-ass chemical fillers food in the U.S. They just don't use them here in the UK, at least - not yet.
I Drink Waaaayyyyy Less Diet Crack (Coke)
Probably because it is cold here and a frosty beverage would likely push my internal temperature further below where it is now- and then I would die of hypothermia. I have gone from drinking two cans of Diet Coke per day to drinking one every other day. I hope to keep it up after I get home because that shit is really not good for you.
Now I Know What a Sad Social Welfare System Looks Like
When I hear people complain about "welfare" in the U.S., I wish I could show them the worst of the system here. It is entrenched, hopeless, incredibly sad generational welfare - beyond anything you have seen in the U.S. But they have started putting U.S.-style reforms into place and ended the incentive to have MORE kids while on government support (thank GOD). Let's hope it works.
I Think Heath Care and (Some) Higher Education Should Be Nationalized
I just do. Mainland Europe has so many things right, in my opinion - but again, that is just me. I know not everyone agrees, which is cool too.
I Am Not Intimidated to Eat Out Alone or Travel By Myself
I had to travel all alone a lot of the time, otherwise I had to face a lot of time in our cold, basement apartment all by myself - not cool. I have never really traveled independently before, EVER. I have been with The Davester since I was like 12 (OK 21). We have always traveled together. Let me tell you, walking into a crowded restaurant, by yourself, where no one speaks English can be intimidating - but also kind of thrilling in an "I am a mystery woman" kind of way. While I still have a weird paranoia about getting roofied at a bar while I am by myself, I will never hesitate to have an amazing dinner out "tout suel" ever again.