People talk about this thing called “jet lag.” And I’ve always thought, “Well, heck. If I can survive exam week on like 5 hours of sleep, jet lag should be a piece of cake.”
I was exhausted at 7 pm, and now it’s almost 1:30 am and I’m wide awake. I’m running on like 8 hours of sleep over the past three days. My body should be craving sleep. Ugh.
But when I don’t sleep, I tend to think lots of things. Therefore maybe if I write down my thoughts (and thus get them out of my head!) I’ll be able to go back to sleep. Maybe.
So . . . what’s on my mind you ask? Simple. The Spring Hill Bubble. Everyone talks about it. (Everyone at Spring Hill, anyway.) It’s where teachers know your name, where you can wave to someone you’ve only met once, where if you’re lost then some kind soul will (probably) notice you standing in the middle of Rydex and point you in the right direction. It’s something we take for granted, especially as we get further along in our course of study. When we’re freshman, we’re taught, “This is college.” And we accept it, generally without question. And then we get bored. We hear stories about friends at other schools who never attended a single lecture and still got an A, and we wonder why we have to worry about things like triple cuts. We think it would be nice to see new faces every day, instead of the same old people we’ve said hello to since the day we first interviewed. Wouldn’t it?
Maybe it seems silly, but if I walk into the accommodation office (and make a bit of a scene because my bags get stuck in the doorway and I trip over myself so I look like a complete idiot and there’s no way they can forget me that day), and then come back again to talk to the same people in less than fifteen minutes, I would expect at least a glimmer of recognition. You know, that, “So how’s the room?” sort of small talk. That, “Can I help you find anything?” attitude that anyone on the Hill would show to a foreigner. A smile. Anything, really. Is it so commonplace to have Americans, that they’re viewed as all the same?
I think truthfully, the South has spoiled me. I never quite understood what people meant when they referred to “southern hospitality.” I think I always thought, “Well, what makes it different from other sorts of hospitality?” It’s the little things. The things you don’t notice until they’re gone. That useless small talk just to make another person feel comfortable. That trust imparted to you by total strangers who tell you their life’s story. That smile given to you when you make eye contact with a stranger.
I’m not saying that I haven’t been shown kindness, or that I completely expected things to be the same here. I have already met some wonderful people who reached out to include me and help me get acclimated. And part of the reason for studying abroad in the first place is to experience a different set of ideas. But it just makes you realize what you’ve had all along, you know?
And then comes the fun part that I suppose goes along with any university that brings people together from different areas: dialect! We’ve certainly had our fun joking about colloquialisms, but even more fun than comparing British to American is comparing one Brit to another. Did you know some people call a cupcake a “bun”? The girl is from northern England, up towards Scotland. And then she got into a debate with a Londoner about “cab” vs. “taxi”. So then, of course, for all my Louisiana friends, I had to bring up the shopping cart dilemma. There are now British people who are also laughing at the word “buggy.” I guess y’all are just strange.
Come to think of it, I don’t believe I’ve said the word y’all yet. I haven’t had a reason to. I’m kind of excited to see their reaction to that one. It’s so classically Southern.
And another classically Southern thing: Mardi Gras. Guess what they call in in the UK? You’ll never guess. I literally laughed out loud. Pancake Day!! It’s an actual holiday! Not like ours where we get a few days off of school, but still. It’s like, a thing! We eat King Cake. They eat pancakes. Go figure. (Side note: when they mentioned Pancake Day I was like, “You mean, IHOP’s free pancake day??” And they didn’t know what an IHOP was, so it was rather funny.)
Of course, all this talk of pancakes now makes me want some. Perhaps I should just go to bed. Maybe when I wake up it will be time to eat breakfast. Maybe…?