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29 October 2014
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From New York to North Yorkshire
A typical New Yorker...

Lauren Sternberg is a 25 year old teacher from New York City.

She is currently in the UK, visiting, sight-seeing, and perpetuating the stereotype that Americans are completely clueless outside their native land.

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Let's talk voltage for a minute.

There's no possible way I can begin any bit about my coming to the UK without addressing this very important topic, first and foremost.

I'm leaving for England in a few days. I'll be there for a month. L'amour will bring me there, but that's another story in itself.

I'll admit that I'm your stereotypical American-I shudder at the thought of the small soft drinks without refills in the UK almost as much as I cringe when I have to double every pound price to figure it out in dollars.

And don't you know that you're the one driving on the wrong side of the road?

However, there is nothing that baffles me more than non-American voltage.

When I was in the UK and continental Europe in 2001, my cousin and I had this brilliant idea to buy a hairdryer in the U.S. that was dual voltage, but of course, not to change the voltage button when we got to the UK.

This led to a hairdryer possessed which eventually climaxed to a loud glass-shattering "crack" as a grand finale. We were in Europe for a month without a hairdryer, and this really did nothing for our plan to land ourselves some foreign hunks on the way.

After all, Jewish girls are not known for hair that dries into anything even remotely attractive if left to its own devices.

A few years after that trip, in New York City where I live now, I met an English guy. Despite my ethnocentric nature and my inability to understand a word he said for at least the first four months we knew each other, he decided he wanted to be my boyfriend.

This led to my first visit to his house in England.

I learned quickly that blowing out the power to half of your boyfriend's house because you need to charge your cell phone (which obviously doesn't get service in the UK anyway) is probably not the best way to impress his parents.

See, if I had only thought to look at my charger and see that anything more than 110 volts was bad news, I could have saved myself a whole lot of embarrassment and ultimately, the $25 I had to spend on a new charger when I got home from that trip.

So, as I peer at my half-packed bag and an assortment of adapters and converters, I can only hope that the four times I called DELL to ask if my laptop would blow out on 220 volts (even though it's printed right on the power cord that it can handle that much and then some) and the desperate search for grounded adaptors wasn't in vain.

But y'all better get your flashlights and batteries ready, just in case.


Read more articles from Lauren

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