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  • Ralph Black

An Underlying Characteristic

Updated: May 8, 2019

When you find yourself among the people of London, take a moment to appreciate not only the diversity of their character, but the beauty of their similarities as well.

Overall, the people here just seem more genuine. I can’t tell if it’s the tainted, confused eyes of a foreigner or if it’s actually the case, and of course one must take into account that no one person is the same. But it is impossible to ignore the traits that emerge as you interact with the people of London.

We had tour guides from all over the world and the one thing they all had in common was their absolute passion for their job, and their enjoyment in sharing it with us. A guide toured us through the wetlands, regaling us with tales of sacrifice and perseverance, all the while his eyes alight like kindle. A guard led us through the Tower of London with sassy jokes and an ocean of history that would sweep us into his enthusiasm. How lucky we were to see people truly loving where they were.

I had a conversation with one waitress about how fun (and annoying) breasts are (I mean, they are), and I am certain that that sort of conversation would never have passed so freely in America. In general, people seem more brazen and honest here, which is something I actually quite enjoy. I think with the upfront aspect of personalities comes more acceptance as well. Maybe I just haven’t been here long enough to see the true personalities revealed, but as a foreigner, I certainly enjoy watching these aspects of personality unfold.

My classmate Kelly had thoughts on this as well:

“I don’t want to…how do you say…offend you, but Americans can’t drink. I can have 10-15 beers before I am drunk.” These words were spoken by a German man who stood at roughly 6 feet 8 inches with a throaty accent that sounded like he had a piece of food lodged in the back of his throat. He had blond hair and blue eyes—the stereotypical German. We discussed his career, why he was in London (a conference), the places he had visited, why we were London, where we were from, politics—I know. Politics. A rather taboo subject in America that is never really a discussion. At home, conversations revolving around politics always seem to make people confrontational and accusatory. These conversations become an attack, usually personal. But in a dirty London pub at midnight, the conversation about politics was, believe it or not, respectful, civil, educational, and mature, just as any over a pint or two should be.

It's hard to ignore the pain in this world, but a good pint and a wonderful conversation can do wonders for the wounded mind.

Cover Photo courtesy of: Victoria Doda

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