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There is nothing more adorable to me then to see the kids heading off from school in their school uniforms. Especially the young kids. The uniforms look like something out of a movie or a childhood book. In the summer the girls are in a checked dress, boys in a shirt and trousers or occasionally short pants. Every person in Britain who has gone to school here has worn their uniform. Even my own 3 yr old son has a nursery school uniform. A little polo top with the school logo embroidered on it. They said that it was so that he gets used to a uniform and so none of the kids feel left out. Oh, and its so they don’t get their regular clothes dirty. He got one. I can buy more at £7-50 a piece… seven bleedin pound and 50p for a shirt to get dirty? I can get him a shirt at ASDA for as little as 75p.  Its a good thing that this ” uniform” isn’t mandatory. It will be when he is off to normal school. This is the first drawback on the uniform. The true uniform is expensive.

I have observed that the uniform sets up a mentality here in the UK. Its supposed to keep the kids from knowing who has more money. Its supposed to keep them on a level playing field. It doesn’t. They know. They know whose blazer is  second hand. They know who has the real uniform and who has a uniform from ASDA or Matilan. The teens all do their bit to keep some from of individuality one way or another. This is nothing compared to how we dressed in the states in high school. Jeans, T-shirts, and Birkenstocks. We wore what we wanted. We wore what was comfortable. Its no wonder I feel uncomfortable in a uniform.

This uniform mentality is set in them for life here in the UK. It sets them up for the working world. This is so true. Me, personally, I actually cringe at uniforms on adults in the work force. I only even had a uniform when I worked in fast food as a young adult. I hated it. Yes, offices had a dress code. Some more casual then others, but I never had a uniform outside of fast food. Here the uniform is in pretty much every workplace. The doctors surgery have a uniform, the nursery school teachers wear a uniform, pretty much every business that has a lot of women working there will have a uniform in place. I even had gone into a recruitment agency here. I noticed all the women had the same thing on: Black trouser or skirt, white blouse, black jacket. So I asked one of them if they had a uniform to wear and she said no, but they did. The mentality has become so ingrained they didn’t realize it. Without having to wear a uniform they wore one. I was the only one in the room in a suit that wasn’t black. This is a real difference in mindset for me to adjust to. The uniform. Everyone has their place. Everyone in their station in life. It does go against my American mindset of being who I am. Dressing for success doesn’t go hand in hand with a uniform in my mind. Ah well, when in Rome as they say.  I still think the kids look adorable in them.

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I am an American. I have heard my fellow Americans say time and time again that we have no culture. That we are nothing but a country full of strip malls. Everything is the same from one city to another. Same look. Same stores. Same old, same old no matter where you go.

I wrote about our visit to Stratford upon Avon. As we where standing there, on the high street of that historic town, I was suddenly struck. My husband was asking me what I wanted to see. I looked around. It hit me. Its a high street. It is exactly like every other high street in England. Same stores. Same look. Same thing. Nothing was different but that there was a few souvenir shops and Shakespeare’s house was just up the street. Most every town of any age has the higgly piggley buildings with a Ethel Austin and a Jessops in them.  The only thing I could say was “nothing”. Other then the historic site of Shakespeare’s house, it was no different then what we can see anywhere. I quickly tried to think of anything I needed. Boots? WH Smiths? No, to many people. I did not want to brave the crowds and stand in a long que for any reason. I think it was the epiphany that I needed to help not fret leaving the culture here. Its all starting to look the same. I still love the old houses, the higgly piggly, should of fallen down a few hundred years ago buildings, but in reality, its the same thing town after town. Its the same strip mall culture, dressed up in fancy buildings.

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