London, Hamilton; Hamilton, London. Who Could Possibly Choose?

Strolling through Hamilton this week I couldn’t help but compare this place with the place I studied in last semester – London. Sure, to the casual observer London might seem quite different from Hamilton, and many might even think it’s preferable. But think about it for just one moment and Hamilton to stack up pretty well.In terms of sports, Londoners have rugby, we have football. Wait, we have rugby, too, and they have football- except it’s soccer, this is all very confusing.In London if you want to go to the movies, your best bet is probably the Barbican Centre or the eye-popping IMAX Cinema. We have a three-screen movie house. And if smashing titles like Open Water and Alien vs. Predator don’t satisfy that cinematic hunger, then hey, I’m not sure what will. As far as amenities go, Hamilton – surprise – beats London hands down. Now, some of you may find that your water pressure leaves a little to be desired in your reasonably priced Colgate housing. Well, step into your average coffin-like London shower and you’ll be greeted by a plastic contraption that, when pressed, emits a flow of water not entirely dissimilar to the flow of uncongealed taffy. Moving on to a ye olde laundry room in London (most likely nestled somewhere in the kitchen), and you will see a washer but no dryer (if you can figure out what you’re seeing). In our London apartment we were instantly the envy of other students because we had four community dryers in the room next door to us; this no doubt monopolized the entire city’s supply. Next time you complain about the snow, keep this in mind: when London and its environs got an inch of snow last February, the place practically imploded. On television, news readers were all but launching themselves over their desks as they grappled with reports of disgruntled sand spreaders, the majority of whom were holed up inside their strange-looking vehicles, shuddering in fear of frostbite. One thing we don’t have in Hamilton that London does is sensory overload. You walk down a typical street in London and it can be downright treacherous. Restaurants, museums, shops, music – all good things that can distract you to the point where you might walk into someone that you don’t know. In Hamilton, you can cross the street without looking and you’re almost always in the clear, almost.In London, the price you see displayed in front of you in a shop needs to be multiplied by two in order to see the price that will be taken from your checkbook. There is a real problem of monetary exchange from our standpoint. No need for this in Hamilton. Instead, you’ll be overcharged for the product you see in front of you.Public transportation in London can be very confusing. Instructions are issued in a complicated format of colors and words, all of which could prove confusing to many people, including certain Colgate students. But in Hamilton if you see a bus, no problem. Chances are it will eventually take you where you need to go. Hell, chances are it’s the only bus. I loved London, despite its lack of conveniences. There’s something wonderful about being somewhere like Hamilton. It feels almost exactly like home. So revel in your inordinately excellent water pressure and the lack of a whopping exchange rate. Take a moment to appreciate the joys of our town. The people are friendly, you know (or at least you think you know) you’re safe, and even when this place takes on the aspects of the arctic tundra, it is arguably one of the most beautiful spots in the world. Take a deep breath and appreciate it, because it isn’t always going to be there for you. As someone said in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town “Does anybody realize what life is while they’re living it?”