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?

“London Weather” Has Arrived At Last

Since arriving in London, I’ve been extremely lucky with the weather.  For the first month I was here, I could only recall maybe two rainy days.  For the most part, it was sunny and rather warm.  I was told time and again that this weather was unusual for Britain and that I should expect to see many cloudy, drizzly days ahead.  I came prepared with my rain jacket and “Wellies” (a.k.a. rainboots), but I haven’t had much use for them… until this week.  It seems fall has finally arrived in London, and we’re having a spell of perpetual clouds this week.  Yesterday, it was quite rainy; today was more just cloudy with a light misty drizzle.  If I had 50p for every time someone said to me, “Welcome to Britain,” this week, I’d have made quite a bit of money.  This is the weather Londoners have been anticipating (and, it seems, dreading), but I have to say I don’t mind it right now.  It is, as my voice teacher said, the “quintessential English weather,” and I really feel like I’m in London now.  Needless to say, I’m getting my money’s worth out of my raincoat and my Wellies, which already took a beating last fall/winter during the seemingly endless wet and snowy winter we experienced in New Jersey.

Today I wore a pink sweater, and one of my classmates said to me, “I like your jumper!”  I was incredibly confused for a good five seconds, until she said, “Do you call it a jumper or a sweater in the U.S.?”  So I’m happy to say I’ve added another British word to my vocabulary today:

25.) sweater- jumper

Funny, because the first thing that came to my mind when I heard the term “jumper” was this scene from That 70’s Show:

jumpsuit

… although technically, these are “jumpsuits,” not “jumpers.”