So as to get the insulting part of this out of the way first, I present:
Hot and Cold Taps: Why these can't be combined into one tap whereupon you can regulate the amalgamation of the hot and the cold water before it hits the sink basin, I will never know.
Weather: Now, New England is world renouned for being unpredictable. It could be seventy degrees in January and then you get a blizzard in April. But, here, albeit consistent, the weather is usually "rain expectant" no matter how nice it may be when you wake up in the morning. The dampness stays everywhere here. I remember mentioning the state of the ground--the wet, muddy mess that is anything with grass growing on it--to an English student, who said, "I didn't know the ground was suppposed to be dry in winter."
Vegetables: Sometimes, you just don't want tubors as a side dish to, say, everything.
Breakfast Food: To continue the food trend, I was recently reminded of British morning food options, including "pancakes," which are really crepes (but the British don't want us to think they have anything in common with the French), "golden syrup," which is essentially butter and sugar melted together (where is the maple, my friend?), and "bacon"--thankfully, my previous pilgrim practice of soaking bacon that has been salted has come in handy. Also, there is what they refer to here as a "full breakfast," which includes tomatos, mushrooms, and the ridiculous British version of baked beans.
Coffee: Alas, I must bid a temporary fare-well to my beloved iced coffees, given even the folks at Starbucks don't know what I am talking about when I order one here.
No Driving: Not to say that I would ever attempt to drive here, given I would probably turn out looking like Clark Griswold in his European Vacation movie (sans Eric Idle), but there is something to be said for being your own means of transportation. You can get where you want when you want to taking your own personal routes, etc. If I want to be my own means of transportation here, I have to don the comfy shoes and start walking--never forgetting an umbrella.
Money: Congrats, my English friends, your money is worth far more than my own. I put an exchange in and then, whoa, I have half as much. I also noticed that in the US, products I can get both here and there are priced the same given the scaling. For example, I can get an item for 200 dollars in the US, and here because people make more money, it costs 200 pounds, which is about 350-375 dollars.
The Internet: This only really applies to my living in campus housing, but the internet here is crap. I can't get on and depend upon it, and the proxies I have for features like AOL never seem to work for long. I also can't upload anything from here. I'm sure this is true of most Universities, but still, it is a pain in my ass.
Pharmacy System: In the US, if I need something, I can generally get it. However, if I want anything on the "adult" level of strength here, I have to have a discussion with a pharmacist. Let's just say I would prefer not to talk about menstrual problems with a complete stranger, albeit professional, in front of about seven other customers in line in the only Boots in the whole city.
My Hair: In the US, I have ever so many more options. Here, I couldn't figure out why so many people sport multi-colored dye jobs that were cut perfectly straight. The problem here goes back to the weather, I think. No matter what you do, no amount of ultra hold gel will keep curl in your hair. You hit the air outside and it is gone in thirty minutes, rain shower or perfectly clear day. At home, I can curl it once and it lasts until I wash it, giving me so many more stylining options--which is essential.
Job: Because I do not have a working Visa, I cannot work in the UK. I was thinking of doing some volunteering around since classes are over, but I really can't pick up any cash. I would like to do something other than sit and read in solitary confinement, but I can certainly rule out making some money on that deal.
Now that all of the British folks are groaning, growling, and scrolling down angrily to the "comments" section, I will present the other side of the line.
Sunlight Hours: New England was nice, and I thought it was light rather late, but when I got here I was completely surprised. The sun rises before six and sets at eight already--the longest day of the year in NE isn't even that long, and it's only April. I am really excited to see how long it stays light out when we do near June. The idea of a lot of daylight hours is very motivating to me, so, I can't wait.
Proximity to other Countries: Most people will say that the USA is like one huge country that incorporates other cultures in the same way that Europe incorporates other countries. However, everyone still speaks (some form of) English and there are a lot of cultural similaries throughout. England is really close to a lot of different places and it would cost me as much to get to them from here as it would to go from New England to Washington DC, which isn't far away. I hope to take advantage of it this time.
Bus/Train System: Although nothing beats being able to hop in your car, turn on your radio, buy a coffee, and drive yourself, the English transportation system is actually really, really good. I can get where I need to go by bus or train fairly easily as long as I plan ahead and am on time. It's much better than HAVING to drive, which is really what it is like in the US everywhere except for right in the middle of most major cities.
Hair: As much as I hate the fact that curl is a moot point, I can say that the dampness keeps my hair down when it is straight--no fly-aways, nothing.
No Snow: I may not be the biggest fan of this rainy country, but at least the concept of a Nor'easter is a foreign one.
Mail: I send away for something, and I have it within two days--a day in some cases. It pays to have a small country. In the US, I could send away and not get it for weeks. Then UPS will inevitably lose or damage it anyway.
Some Pharmacy Items: In some very rare cases, I can get things here without a prescription that I can't in the US. I remember having an infection once, and I ended up buying a pill for it that I couldn't get without a doctor's check at home. I took it and four hours later, I was fine. I would have had to wait to see the doctor, wait for the prescription, pay a ton for it, then take it and wait in the US. By then, the infection would have probably healed itself.
Bakeries: I can get quick food from someplace other than a McDonald's or a Burger King. Different may not equate to healthier, but at least it is something.
Nice People Give Directions: All bets are off in the US. You could ask an old lady for directions who will hit you with her purse or a cab driver who doesn't know the answer even if he has driven the same city for twenty years. In any case, you get an attitude. Here, they not only tell you where to go, they direct you, sometimes walk with you, and call you "luv."
Well, there you have it. I am back in the UK. At least I get a room away from cultural immersion, unless you count the Chinese students on the hallway--but that is a different culture all together. Ah, well, back to Monty-Pythonland.