I have been in London quite a few times, but in Roma only twice. So, take these contrasts with a grain of salt. Having gotten off the plane in Heathrow less than 24 hours ago, I am already struck by the contrasts. Some of the changes are obvious. The language here, though easily understood is appealingly different. As Churchill said, “America and the UK, two great countries separated by a common language.” Italy is one of the least English-speaking countries in Europe, or so I have been told.
The drivers in Italy drive on the right side- as in the USA- but are quite happy to weave in and out and miss one another by scant inches. Here in Jolly Old E, the drivers are much more orderly, but drive on the left, as we did in the former British Protectorate of Botswana.
The food in Italy is – as you might assume – a gourmet’s paradise! In England, well, it is Indian food or it is fish and chips. I will say the British do win out when it comes to breakfast, though. The English Breakfast, which we enjoyed in Botswana, is a multi-course affair, as is dinner in Italy. The English eat cereal or porridge, followed by eggs which are typically served with one or two meats, with cooked tomatoes along with beans. The coffee here is NOT cappuccino, not espresso, not café latte, not even café Americano! I like it, with sufficient cream to render it a bit milder.
The biggest difference seems to lie in the people. The stiff-upper-lip British seem a bit different. They were as friendly as the Italians – once you get some distance from London – but they are different. The Londoners, like New Yorkers, seem less approachable, perhaps mostly due to the need for a bit of privacy. They seem a lot more reserved, more self-conscious than the Italians. They are a bit more organized, and there is not much trash on the streets here, in contrast to Roma.
In the end of course, we need Londerners and Romanos. G^d created individuals differently, with different dispositions and different giftings. It should be NO surprise that these people groups are different.
Vive la difference!