Thursday, June 16, 2005

More Stuff I Like About This Place

In no particular order

2. History - It's hard for non-Europeans to fathom how much of the history we grew up reading is within 'spitting' distance in the UK. Not to mention the fact that this tiny island nation was for quite some time the mightiest power in the world. In fact, if they didn't have such a determination to tax every item known to man the Queen might at this time have almost 300 million more subjects!

3. Way of life - The saying 'There is more than one way to skin a cat' is applicable here. They've got a good thing going over here, and in a tiny amount of space. A quick comparison of England vs. Alabama reveals some important things that one must recognize about England. Alabama (135k square kilometers) covers a greater area than England proper (UK minus Scotland and N. Ireland - 130k square kilometers). Consider the fact that Alabama's population is around 4.5 million people, and England's is 50 million. How can you squeeze so many people into such a little space and not have complete gridlock and pandamonium? They're quite good at it here.

The close proximity of the north to the south and the east to the west means that cross-country travel is not a daunting thought and most Englanders I know have been all over their country.

Aside from the smallness of the nation, it is obvious that the UK has a good thing going economically. Their approach is more American than European (aka capitalistic than socialistic), but it is without a doubt a third way. It is now more prosperous than most of its Western European neighbors (an unthinkable statement 25 years ago, especially for me because I was only 6 at the time). Unemployment is a little lower than in the US (as opposed to 10+ % in Germany and France) and they have universal health care -- a bald-faced two tiered one -- nevertheless this leaves the average Brit without many worries should the worst happen, medically speaking. Of course, the trappings of wealth also abound here as they do in the US, making it absolutely necessary that all Christians spend much time in prayer and meditation over their finances to avoid the traps of materialism and debt.

4. Weather - just kidding.

4. American friendliness - I mean more here than what I've said in previous posts about most people over here tending to like America. I also mean that it is easy to get around here, to figure your way out of trouble, etc., all because you speak the language and tend to think like they do.

With that said, a few remarks I've heard about America from other foreigners here have stuck with me. First, a chap from Iran, whom I met back in February at a bus stop, when he discovered I was American, looked at me and said, "I like America. America is good." He is at the University of Birmingham studying international law, a degree which he plans to use in Iran when he returns later this summer.

Another instance also took place at a bus stop when we (Mary and I) struck up a conversation with a Pakistani woman. BTW, its amazing how having a baby causes people to talk to you who normally wouldn't have bothered. When she recognized our American accents she told us how much she loved America and liked to visit whenever she could.

Now, I didn't prompt these people to say such things, and conversely have not heard any anti-American talk aside from academic settings and the BBC :). This doesn't mean that the US is the darling of the world, but that maybe the hatred we've hear so much about is overblown. Sure, they hate our president all over the world, but they still suck up our culture and habits. And I wonder what surveys would reveal if we went around the world asking people if they had a positive or negative opinion of France. Let's just say I can guess that the numbers would be overwhelmingly negative in England, the US, the Arab world, and even Germany. I'm dragging on now... all this to say that it is 'easy' to be a foreigner here. I suggest that people less-white and less-Anglo than I would agree.

5. The British Sense of Humor - Though Mr. Bean is there equivalent of Ernest P. Worrell (and I like them both), it is amazing the amount of continual wit one encounters here. I can think of at least 4 different radio and TV programs along the lines of 'Whose Line is it Anyway' (which began here, too) that are hilarious. Though I blame British TV for the reality TV plague which has beset American Tele over the past few years, I must admit that they are funnier than we. I mean, they still have a royal family! Isn't that a riot? Oops, I mean isn't Monty Python funny?

BTW, the best bloggers never put this much in one post because they know readers will only scan. If I were more astute, I'd have written a shorte


At 8:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we still drop a bomb(preferably a neutron which leaves all the material objects(Oil) but evaporates the people) on the middle east and be a good Christian?

Sir William.

At 6:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kidding, of course. I think.

Sir William

At 12:42 PM, Blogger Barclay said...

we hope.

At 1:18 PM, Blogger whatusay said...

Barclay has no sense of humor. If cartman would have said it he would have laughed.


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