Lessons in being British

Friday, July 15, 2011

Before I left for London, I tried to prepare myself by studying the differences between American and British culture. So I knew not to tip wait staff, to say "sorry" instead of "excuse me," and to expect showers with very poor water pressure. But now that I've arrived, I realize that I could live here a year and still learn something new every day. Here are a few of today's lessons:

1. If you ask for directions to the restroom/bathroom, no one will know what you're talking about. Instead, you must ask for the toilets or the loo. I can't bring myself to say the word toilets to a stranger (it just sounds so crass to me!) so loo it shall be.

2. Don't look for street signs - there aren't any! Street names are posted on the side of buildings instead. It took me quite a while to figure this one out.

3. When crossing traffic, make sure to glance at the ground for hints on which direction to look. The roads in London are chaotic! They go in circles, criss-cross, switch from two-way to one-way, etc.

3. If you want a glass of water with your meal, you have to specifically ask for tap water. Otherwise, you'll be presented with a $4 bottle of sparkling/still water instead. Yikes!

4. If you'd like something to go, you must order it "takeaway"

5. It's not unusual to see people drinking on the streets. I don't mean on a patio - I mean out in the open. I was really surprised the first time I saw this, but apparently the UK doesn't have an open container law (or maybe it's just really lax).

6. The Brits love their hats! Okay, I already knew this one but I was still excited when I saw this group walking down the street. Look closely and you'll notice that the gentleman is wearing a fascinator!

7. No matter where you are, you can walk half a block and find a place that sells tea. Drink a lot of it, because it's ah-mazing!


Mom said...

By the way, when are you going to get your pics posted? I am anxious to see them!

Christina said...

I'll get them up this weekend!!

Beth said...

Your blog design is so unique. You'll have to give me a tutorial. I think people can drink within a certain distance of the pub. We'll have to research that.

Mom said...

Hey, This is Dad,
What's your biggest surprise so far?

Christina said...

I'm really surprised that I don't hear more of the British accent! I thought that I'd hear it so often that I'd start thinking with one (hehe) but it's so multicultural that you hear a little of everything.

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