Goodbye, London <3

My time in England is quickly coming to an end, much to my dismay.  Over the last three months, I’ve compiled a list of things I’ve learned here in London, which I will share with you now:

1.) Learn to appreciate your natural hair. Even if I were to spend all morning straightening my hair, it would no longer be straight by the time I walk outside. The British weather is not conducive to hair styling. I’ve learned to go with more of a wind-swept, somewhat wavy look 😀

2.) Most Brits have excellent manners. I’m impressed, in general, by the politeness and courtesy they all seem to possess.  That is… unless they’re drunk.

3.) That being said, middle-aged British men you pass on the street have an odd way of making you feel both attractive and really uncomfortable at the same time. They’ll beep their car horns, whistle at you, and go out of their way to look you up and down as you’re walking by. They have absolutely no shame in checking you out and remarking, “Lovely…” as you walk down the street.  I have to say that this is not limited to the UK but applies to Europe in general. Kind of an interesting cultural difference to experience as an American.

4.) Afternoon tea. It should be a thing everywhere.

5.) It’s not a line, it’s a queue.  There’s a much simpler word for waiting in line: it’s called queuing.

6.) Americans, do refer to my list of words throughout this blog if you don’t want to sound like a tourist while you’re in the UK.  In general, it seems the British find it endearing when you use an “American” word, but just be prepared for a laugh. They’re not really laughing at you, more just at your “Americanness.”  I don’t think that’s a bad thing!

7.) There is such thing as an American accent.  We don’t think so as Americans, but we apparently have an accent.  However, most non-Americans think that the “American accent” is what we know as the “Southern accent.”  I’ve been told many times that I don’t sound American because I don’t have what they call an “American” accent.  Be prepared to explain that there are MANY American accents, depending on what region of the country you live in.

8.) The British, and Europeans in general, are mesmerized by the size of the United States. Quite frankly, they’re intimidated by the size and by the fact that laws vary by state. People here have actually said that to me, that they wouldn’t be able to handle the different laws state-by-state. I reassure them that the laws are more or less the same, with a few weird ones here and there. Generally, if you’re sticking to one region of the country, the laws will be very similar, and most of them should be common sense.

9.) Tesco is the best supermarket chain… besides the Piggly Wiggly.  As far as price goes, I’m pretty sure Tesco might even be cheaper than ShopRite, which is the cheapest I know in the States. The main thing is that the food is of good quality, so between price and quality, Tesco is the best supermarket I’ve found here.  It’s also the most similar to American supermarkets, as far as the layout.

10.) Smoked salmon and cream cheese should be a much more popular combination in the U.S.  Almost everywhere I’ve eaten, as well as all the supermarket ready-meals sections, have this heavenly combination on a sandwich. I’m sorry, but peanut butter and jelly is far inferior to smoked salmon and cream cheese.

I’m sure there are many other things I can add to this list, but for now, this is what I’ve actually written down.  Also to make a couple of additions to the vocabulary list:

45.) asphalt/blacktop- tarmac

46.) mischievous/naughty-cheeky

47.) Santa- Father Christmas

48.) “Merry Christmas” – “Happy Christmas”

Doesn’t that last one just sound awkward?

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Mickey D’s: British-style

So I finally had my first taste of McDonald’s in London this morning. To be honest, I actually can’t remember the last time I had anything from McDonald’s, but I’ve been warned many times that the portion size is much smaller here than in the States (I don’t think that’s a bad thing, actually…).  I got a toffee latte and a bacon and egg McMuffin, and though, yes, the portion size is much smaller than I remember, it had a good flavor. The latte was absolutely perfect. I’m not a big coffee person, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. On the rare occasion that I got a coffee, tea, or hot chocolate from McDonald’s in the U.S., I’ve always burnt my tongue on it, as it’s always served hotter than the fiery depths of hell. I’m not sure if I was just lucky or if it’s a regular thing here, but my coffee was the perfect temperature, still hot but able to be consumed without burning myself. So anyway, there’s my American review of McDonald’s breakfast here in the UK.

Some Additions to The List

Today’s additions to the American-British dictionary that have come up in conversation:

41.) acne- spots

42.) arranged/taken care of- sorted

43.) suspicious/sketchy- dodgy

44.) pharmacist- chemist

And also this:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mackenziekruvant/british-slang-americans-should-start-using

Movie Rating Systems: BBFC vs. MPAA

So today I went online to check out a movie I want to see in London (except £8,50 for a student ticket… LOL).  I was looking at showtimes when I noticed the movie ratings… it was rated 15.  Sure enough, the UK has a different movie rating system than we do in the States!  Out of curiosity, I looked up the chart of ratings, and here’s what I found:

movie ratings

Source: http://www.bbfc.co.uk/

For any British readers, here’s what we Americans are used to:

film_ratings1

Source: http://www.mpaa.org/film-ratings/

Though the two organizations, the British Board of Film Classification and the Motion Picture Association of America, have essentially the same mission, their rating systems are, as you can see, slightly different.

From the MPAA website:

“[Parents] need the tools to decide what movies are suitable for their children to watch. From understanding how movie ratings work and have evolved with the times to helping parents find movies appropriate for their kids, we want to help make movie-going a positive experience in your family’s life. Movie ratings provide parents with advance information about the content of movies to help them determine what’s appropriate for their children.”

And from the BBFC website:

“In order to protect children from unsuitable and even harmful content in films and videos and to give consumers information they might need about a particular film or video before deciding whether or not to view it, the BBFC examines and age rates films and videos before they are released. This independent scrutiny prior to release ensures the highest possible level of protection and empowerment.”

It’s interesting to see the different ages on which the ratings are based.  In the U.S., it’s 13 and 17, while in the U.K. it seems to be 12, 15, and 18.  Why these ages particularly?  I’ve yet to find the answer to that question.