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An American in London

Being in London was bitter sweet. I’d been to this city before when I was a teen and was excited to be back. At the same time, it was the last leg of my 30th birthday solo trip to Europe and that meant I’d have to go home soon. Nonetheless, I was determined to enjoy myself to the fullest. AND BOY DID I EVER?!

London was just as fancy as I had remembered it being! But you want to know the best part? There, apparently, American accents are awesome and I just happen to have one! I know that right now, one or more of my English friends are enthusiastically rolling their eyes, but they know that it’s true! Listen, English friends, it’s nothing to be ashamed of! We in America LOVE how you guys talk too!

And it’s just extra cool when you can expect to strike up a conversation with random people on the street just because of the way you talk.

“Do I detect an accent? American?” I heard as I walked up to the cash register, erm, till of a makeup store in Oxford Circus. I squealed internally, excited to get to know someone new. But only internally, because I was after all in London and I had to keep it together.

“Why, yes, (cough, cough) yes, I am”

“Lovely! What part?”

“Southern California.”

I alternated between New York City, my hometown, and Southern California, where I lived at the time, depending on what I believed sounded most fashionable at the moment.

“Oh! I hear it’s beautiful there. But I can never go to the United States, I’d get shot.”

I smiled awkwardly for an uncomfortably long time and finally say, “Actually, most people in America don’t have guns.”

Now before you go judging me on my choice of words, I only said that because I thought that her “get shot” comment was referring to our comparably lax American handgun laws. I was wrong and successfully took an awkward situation and made it ten times worse.

I hastily paid for my lip-gloss and left the store. “What’s up with her?!” I thought. Until it finally registered that she’d been wearing Hijab, the veil that certain Muslim women wear to cover their head and chest as a symbol of modesty. She was essentially communicating to me that, possibly based on media portrayals of Americans, she was afraid, maybe even of me. Which was unfortunate because it seemed like we could’ve been friends. We had a lot in common: We loved God, make up and were both a little afraid of each other.

“God,” I prayed as I continued my shopping. “I’m so sorry. Teach me to love.”

“But if you treat people according to their outward appearance, you are guilty of sin, and the Law condemns you as a lawbreaker” (James 2:9 GNT).

Jael Amador writes from New York, New York.

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About Jael Amador

Jael Amador

writes from New York, New York.

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