After a disastrous ticket/travel agency fiasco, I managed to make it safely to Oxford last Sunday. The bus drive from London Heathrow Airport to Oxfordshire was surprisingly scenic. The perennial greenery of Oxford’s countryside surpassed Minnesota’s greenest spring day.
Unfortunately, my first impression of London has not been paralleled to the British’s impression of Americans. Unlike some countries that idolize the American ways, I’ve been the victim. Victim of nearly five to six disparaging “these Americans,” “you Americans” comments a day. (With plenty more to come, I suspect). Upon arriving at Oxford, I clearly seemed lost as an elderly couple helped me out. When the man realized I was from America, he immediately sparked a conversation (well more like a rant) about American politics. “Oh Romney is a moron, eh? But you Americans are in trouble. Serious trouble.” (Etc..etc) Clearly, bashing Romeny without particular sympathy for Obama is a common hobby for some, especially when meeting a stranger from America.
On another occasion, an American student asked for a box for the remainder of her meal at a pub and a European nonchalantly responded, “Oh only you Americans need boxes for your big food portions.”
This one is my favorite – A Scottish guy approached me at a social and asked, “Do you Americans always party the way it’s shown? Lots of drinks and girls?” I was taken aback and responded, “Uhm some colleges do, but not everyone is into that.” He said, “Boy, all that sounds bloody brilliant.” Apparently he’s been watching too much American Pie (So he admitted himself). I’ll work on altering these false conceptions a bit.
Another thing I noticed – St. Olaf has been rigorously pushing for a trayless Caf. At the Harris Manchester cafeteria, one plate is 2/3 the size of the caf plates I am used to, thus decreasing individual plate servings. But, here is the best part – there is no tray. The portion sizes here are ludicrously small and there aren’t nearly half the options as the Caf. But, the meals are a delectable concoction of healthy salads, delicious pastas and pies, and savory deserts. I can’t complain.
Finally, everything here is gorgeous. Pictures are worth a thousand words and I’ll let you judge yourself with these ones:
*Apoorva Pasricha ’14 is studying abroad for the year at the University of Oxford in England