Learning Proper English and Other Fun Facts

Learning Proper English and Other Fun Facts

After the longest most uncomfortable flight of my life, despite all the “VIP” accommodations like complimentary beer/wine and free movies, we landed in Manchester! Only slept about 3.5 hours on the plane so Tuesday also became the longest day of my life. I never realized how difficult if would be to travel ahead 7 hours and still try to act normal. Needless to say, Tyler and I succumbed to a 3 hour nap around noon :/

We met Rose at the airport where she picked us up in her cool, compact sports car and then proceeded to drive us around Southport for a tour (took a little over an hour to get there from Manchester on the highway). Seeing old buildings with a thatched roof, cathedral type structures, and others with EST. 1833 made the town of about 90,000 very charismatic! Red brick was a common material used to build these houses, and the way they were situated so orderly and close to each other reminded me of Privet Drive in the Harry Potter movies!
host-home-in-EnglandHere’s a picture of the outside of our current home, and I think it’s absolutely adorable, even though the driveways would be quite difficult to pull in and out of since it’s situated on a main road. In the evening, two of Rose’s friends came by for a visit, and they were just as welcoming, friendly, and talkative! We learned about some of the vast differences between the UK and the US: they have free health care for all patients (including surgeries/procedures), college used to be extremely cheap (1,000 pounds) but recently it skyrocketed to 9,000 pounds, the Queen doesn’t really make decisions-she basically just signs documents, which makes the Prime Minister about as influential as she is. The UK also has a profession where specialized government workers meet with newborns and their parents at home for early disability detection and/or abuse. These in-home visits happen frequently from birth up through early education! It’s crazy imagining somebody checking in on you to make sure you’re parenting/developing correctly. Seems a bit invasive to me, but it definitely works for them.

So what else am I going to possibly learn over the next 4 weeks?! Oh that’s right…”proper English”! Just like aluminum is pronounced ‘al-oo-min-ee-um’ over here. That sure threw us for a loop!

The next day, Tyler and I decided to do some exploring of the Promenade in Southport today, which happens to be the bustling “downtown” area. Loads of people were out shopping at stores called Marks & Spencer, TK Maxx, Poundworld, and so on. Majority of them were places I’d never heard of before so I thought that was pretty cool. No touristy gift shops could be found though 🙁

Here’s an interesting fact: only one casino is allowed per city! On the other hand, there were plenty of stores called “Amusements”. Walking by they looked like arcades that the older population inhabited, but, upon further evaluation, we realized they were slot machines. The difference between theirs and ours is that you use money to get chips like in Vegas and use those to insert and play in the machine. Players can’t get a big pay-off or win, so they’re basically just paying to play. Oh and if somebody wins the lottery here in the UK, no taxes are withdrawn so they receive the full amount! Lucky.

The pictures above show the beginning and end of Southport’s Pier. It was an extremely windy day today, but we did see the sea in the distance along with the hazy coastline of neighboring town called Blackpool. Their ferris wheel, Eiffel Tower, and roller coasters were visible in the distance. Apparently the tide only comes in twice a day, and it vanishes just as fast. People have foolishly attempted to run across the beach from the Pier to Blackpool, but nobody has finished or survived to tell the tale! It really doesn’t look very far, but I guess the tide is quick, strong and fierce, which means challengers get swept away never to be heard from again.

I met my first stranger while parading around town today! I was attempting to take a picture of a neat library building that had a fountain in front when an older lady approached me and asked if I got a picture of the shower. I politely asked her to repeat herself, but I still couldn’t quite understand everything she said. Tyler thought she was asking me if I was going to take a shower, so he wasn’t much better off! The poor lady eventually just smiled and walked away from me since we obviously weren’t getting anywhere in conversation, but of course that’s when I deciphered her message: are you going to get a picture of the pigeons taking a shower? To answer her question, no I didn’t even realize there were pigeons over there! Ha, my first and certainly not last fail…

At 7:30 in the evening, Rose treated us to a fabulous showing of the town play called The Little Shop of Horrors! I didn’t know what to expect, except perhaps a scary plot line, but flashbacks from the movie with the dad from Honey I Shrunk the Kids popped into my mind. It has received rave reviews so far, and I understand why! Everyone did a great job on their American accents and singing, even though Tyler’s musical background thought otherwise. Before turning in for the night, we also toured the richer part of town where professional “footballers” live and the golf course where the Women’s British Open (golf) tournament will be played/broadcasted starting July 6th I think. The men’s tournament will be held in Liverpool, which is not too far from here either. Maybe I’ll actually see some famous people while I’m roaming northwest England, just like the English soap star that was also in attendance at the play. I guess it really is that small of a country!


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