Edward, one of my international students, hails from the U.K. (living just outside of Birmingham). He prefers Ed, perhaps Edward is too informal for his taste. He's currently taking programming, and he's been to New York before. In a way, Ed is reminiscent of Kirby in that he is very nonchalant about most activities and he has a calming aura around him.
I remember when I first met Ed, a number of things popped into my head sequentially:
1) I was jealous of his accent.
2) I wanted to know how life was by comparison in England.
3) I wanted to know what his thoughts were about the U.S.
I skipped #1 astonishingly fast, realizing that it would take much effort to develop one myself and that I could talk to him to hear it all I want. On to #2.
There are a lot of parallels between the U.K. and the U.S.A., and while that might be assumed by most, given we were Great Britain in our past, I always thought of the U.S. as radical by the world's standards--not capable of fitting in to world culture. But, it seemed as though every topic I brought up had a connection between the two countries, rather than my original expectations, which prepared for an antithesis of sorts. I just thought we'd be a whole lot different than we actually are.
Obesity is nearly the same. While, the U.S. is the largest nation in the world, in regards to the scale, England is a close-runner up.
Many American businesses are overseas there. Further than McDonald's. There is Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch, Nike, Macy's, McDonald's, and so many more.
The teenagers are, well, teenagers. They grow up in different settings, but they sustain the same mentalities.
They breathe. They sleep. They communicate.
Internationally, we are just so much similar than I thought, and that's what surprised me.
Then, I moved on to #3. I wanted to know exactly what other nations thought of us. I asked him what the general views upon the U.S. were like, and to my surprise, they were decent. Sure, there are some negatives people pick up on, such as our weight, but America doesn't really come off as the international bully to the general public, at least, not to Ed's general public. And, while I realize that we have been allies with the U.K. even before it was the U.K., it still went contrary to my expectations.
Regardless of what I learned from Ed, he's just a cool person to hang out with. And, if there's something that sticks out in him more-so than most, it would be his willingness. It's not like he's victim to peer pressure or manipulated easily. He genuinely likes to try new things, and I admire that. I think that's an incredible trait to have for the world, and people who do possess it tend to have more interesting lives collectively.
Between Ed and Dr. Z, I feel as if I've learned more about England and international knowledge in comparison to U.S. knowledge (not to say I haven't learned much about the U.S., I'm learning extensively within both subtopics), which is extremely ironic, though whole-heartily welcomed. Diversity in intelligence is something to be embraced.
Taking a break from my floor mates, tomorrow is Independence Day, and I'm definitely excited for the bright lights and riverside explosion.
Happy Blow-Stuff-Up-At-Night Day, yo.