From England to America


Lena Brady joined the Class of 2018 after moving to Glen Rock from England.

by Githmie Goonatilleke, Editor-in-Chief

The year is 1979 and junior Mary Brady is leaving her friends and the rest of Glen Rock to move to England. 38 years later and Mary’s daughter, Lena Brady, is back in town to finish her senior year with the class of 2018.

Lena moved to Glen Rock from Canterbury, England, where she was previously enrolled at a boarding school called King’s School. But, before England she lived in California, Georgia, Canada and Michigan too. Like her mother, who also lived in multiple states and countries before England, Lena moved around a lot until she and her family settled in Canterbury when Lena was 9.

The Brady’s semi-nomadic lifestyle is due to Mary’s job.

“When we were moving around more she worked for General Motors so she got transferred a lot for that job. Then she left that job and got a new job at a makeup company in England,” Lena said. Mary currently works for Intercos, an American makeup company.

Because she was born in California, Lena expected the culture shock to be manageable but when she moved at the end of August the changes she faced were unexpected.

“I think I underestimated it because when I lived in England everyone considered me to be American but when I came here I realized I don’t really know America that well,” she said.

On the second day of school, Lena was shown around by junior Erica Matsui. Matsui is a part of an ambassadors club set up by the Guidance Office where current students show new kids around.

Lena also met fellow senior Amanda Eichmann on the same day.

“I met Lena in AP English on the first day of school,” Eichmann said, “I asked her if she needed the stapler and then we talked about summer reading and she introduced herself. I thought she wouldn’t have anyone to sit with at lunch so I invited her to sit with my friends.”

After spending a little more than two weeks in the school, Lena has observed multiple differences between England and America.

“Americans are a lot more friendly, for starters. It’s kind of in English people’s culture to be uptight and closed off,” Lena said.

Although Americans are more open, the teacher-student relationships weren’t as personal as they were at Lena’s old school. According to Lena that was, “mostly because the teachers lived in school so they spent the whole time with the students.”

She also noted the difference between the two schools’ teaching style. According to Lena, “here they’ll take one subject and go all the way with it. So you’ll learn the whole of Calculus and the whole of Trig and so on. Whereas in England you’ll learn a little bit of everything so you have a base knowledge and the next year you’ll learn a little bit more of everything.”

Another personal contrast that Lena observed was the fashion sense between American and English people.

“I think that I dress more adventurously than Americans tend to dress. I love flowey trousers but Americans stick to skinny jeans and leggings which I think is really sad. There’s a whole world of lower-half wear and I just think people should expand their horizons,” she said.

Despite the differences, Lena is excited to experience American traditions like prom.

“Getting to pick out your dress and maybe getting asked and all the photo taking. It just looks really cool and really American,” she said. Lena also wanted to celebrate Independence day but is unable to because she will be going back to England to see her old school’s graduation.

After visiting her old friends, Lena plans on coming back to America and staying here for college as well.