“Becoming One With Europe” – By Alex Martinez

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After three tiring flights, I am finally in Europe. Going from Detroit to Boston, Boston to Manchester, and then Manchester to Belfast was an experience in itself. I’ve never been on a plane with so much diversity present and with multiple accents colliding into one another. On the flight to the U.K., I had conversations with people from Glasgow who wished me luck with understanding the “Belfast accent”. It was strange to think about how a lot of these passengers were on their way home and I was leaving mine.

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Waiting to board the plane in Detroit.

While getting settled in Belfast, I noticed a lot of initial differences that struck me. Other than the obvious money differences, everyday life seems to be different here. For instance, after shopping in a Tesco store I came to realize (after I selected multiple items) that they charge for plastic bags. My reaction to that was pretty positive. I believe the U.S. should start charging for bags too and that would ultimately save us from overusing plastic. I then noticed how my hotel room is powered by the keycard. I think that is a brilliant way to save energy costs, because power is something we all unconsciously waste. So this idea would ensure that if someone leaves the room, the lights and television would be shut off. Again, I think the U.S. should hop on the European train and start becoming more energy efficient.

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Exchanged some cash for pounds!

While going out to explore the town more, I noticed all of the shops and restaurants close around 7PM. This is a little weird to me because I am used to most places not closing until 10-12PM back home. It makes you wonder what people do around here in the evening. So far the differences here have been manageable (except for the 5 hour time difference) and I’m starting to get a better picture as to what life is like in Belfast.

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Plane view of Northern Ireland.

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