There are so many many things that I’ve learned and seen since my beginnings here in the UK. I had never known what double glazing meant—glazing to me was used in doughnut terminology, not windows, which is what that means here. I’d never used a gas stove before or hung out my laundry to dry using pegs and a clothesline. I’d never heard that distinct sound of a pigeon cooing in the distance. Nor have I learned so much about myself in such a short amount of time.
Here’s three things that I love about living in the UK:
1) Going to the markets and seeing local mushroom growers, cheesemongers or sausage makers….I love buying locally made products–something I wish we had more of back in the States. I also love looking at all the antiques for sale at the market too—I feel like you never know what you’re going to find–it could be an amazing piece of heirloom jewelry, a pretty tea cup, or an old mixing bowl. They have one every Friday here near the village and I’m always itching to go!
2) I love the Graham Norton Show–think Conan O’Brian but with a British twist and funnier and not so sarcastic and predictable…so basically don’t think Conan O’Brian. Ha. I love how the GNS always incorporates the audience and I never know what to expect. He also has on two guests at the same time which makes things more interesting. C’mon, anytime you have Graham Norton, Gordon Ramsay, and Juliette Binoche all on the same sofa it has to be funny! Check out the GNS on BBC America when you can or the BBC if you’re UK-side.
3) Health care is free in the sense that you don’t have to pay anything when visiting the doctor, getting tests done, or visiting the hospital! Even some medications are free! Need I say more??!!
Now three things I find irritating/don’t like about British culture:
1) How there’s no set rule when you pass someone on the sidewalk as to which side of the road you’re supposed to be on—yes, they drive on the left here, but these rules don’t apply to foot passengers. Thus, I never know which way to go when passing someone! Sometimes it’s the left, and sometimes it’s the right…and every time it’s awkward.
2) How there’s no public toilet at my local library!!!!! Outrageous! Moreover, you not only have to pay for when you hire out DVD’s/CD’s, but you also have to pay to reserve items! Total outrage in my opinion! Particularly the no toilet part……ridiculous.
3) There have actually been periods of time about 35 minutes in length were I have taken off and put back on my jacket atleast 3 times….the weather here changes so unbelievably fast. It goes from cold to warm to cold again and it’s always ‘in-betweeney’ weather here—meaning it doesn’t warrant a jacket but is too cold for just a shirt…temperate climate indeed.
Lastly, three things I don’t understand here:
1) The apparent obession with pavlovas….I mean, all it is is a baked egg white ring in which you put other stuff on top of it and serve as a dessert..and speaking of obsessions, I don’t understand why the wrap (as in a tortilla filled with stuff) is the hottest thing here? It’s everywhere I turn! It’s as if the wrap is the cool new way to make a sandwich or have mexican food and tortillas are just the coolest thing ever to have arrived on this island.
2) Why mothers have their kids on leashes? They’re not dogs you know! I see it time and time again….
3) Why any kind of dessert is called a ‘pudding’? Or ‘pud’ for short? It’s a dessert people! Pudding means something entirely different where I come from. And on that note, flapjacks here actually are fattening granola bars…not pancakes….and pancakes here are actually crêpes…and french fries are called chips…and potato chips are called crisps…..anybody else confused yet?