4 Things That Frustrate Me, An American About The UK, And 5 That You Guys Have Nailed
"Sorry" = get the F out the way.
Hi I’m Jeff, an American living in London! Since I’ve been here there’s been a few things that have taken some getting used to: you should not tell someone you like their "pants", always remember to look the
other way before crossing the street, "sorry" doesn't mean "I'm sorry", etc.
The longer I live here, the more I notice the things the UK does right...however there are still things that confuse the hell out of me.
1. Traffic lights turning yellow BEFORE they turn green.
In America, traffic lights only turn yellow before they turn red. So, there is really no warning for when they are about to turn back to green. Its just green-yellow-red-green. In the UK, they turn yellow before they turn back to green, which is absolutely genius. Why isn't it a thing everywhere? 10/10 approved. It just makes too much sense.
2. Shave-only plugs in the bathroom (read: toilet).
Ok, I understand the safety behind having fewer electrical elements in a bathroom/toilet. However, can we please review this whole 'shavers only' plug situation? Do you not feel annoyed by not being able to blowdry your hair in front of your bathroom mirror?! Shower. Dry off. Brush your teeth. Blowdry your hair. All in the same room!
Second note about this: If it's 'shavers only', then why aren't all shavers made with plugs that fit it? (my shavers came with an adapter! whats the point of that?) And finally – why does it fit American plugs? Or do I just happen to benefit from this weird invention?
3. Strict escalator lanes.
Dear London, thank you for your very strict escalator policy. Stand on the right, walk on the left. The fact that major cities US haven't figured this out yet continues to blow my mind. Americans visiting London: if you are standing in the walk lane just be warned that someone may angrily come storming down behind you saying "sorry" (and take note – in this instance, "sorry" = get the F out the way).
4. Lack of (tumble) dryers.
OK, we've seen millions of posts about how weird Americans find Brits for keeping their washing machines in the kitchen, but TBH, I’m on board with this. Cooking while doing laundry has been great. However, WHERE ARE YOUR DRYERS? Why are they so uncommon? Sure, hang-drying clothes isn't the end of the world, but it’s not like you have the weather to be doing this outside, which means you’re stuck with drying them...in your
5. Good quality ready meals being available EVERYWHERE.
From the myriad of take-away food places like Pret, Eat, and Pod, to the beloved “meal deal” you can get at almost every store – it’s simple to get a quick, high quality meal on-the-go anytime you need it. LOL at the idea of getting a sandwich from a pharmacy in the US. I would never. But here? Gimme a Boots ham and cheese sandwich any day of the week.
6. Street signs.
Why do some streets have them? Why do some not? Why are some high up? Why are some low down? Why are some facing only one way? Why are some not even at the intersection? How do you know where you're going?!
7. Sunday Roasts
When I first moved here, I will admit, I didn't understand why this was such a
thing. Like, yeah, sure, meat, potatoes, veg, and a pint all together was great, but I still didn't get why you had to go for a 'roast' as opposed to just going to 'dinner'. It also felt weird that our Thanksgiving Dinner is your traditional Sunday meal. But once I started to learn more about the tradition behind it, I was sold. In the UK, Sunday Roasts mean you are home or with your family. No questions asked. All of your friends are doing the same, so there is no room for FOMO. Sunday Roasts are delicious, but they are also for quality family time. I hate to say it, but I just don't think we value quality family time the way they do here in the UK. And gravy? Every Sunday? Yes please!
8. TV Licence.
In the UK, you have to pay the government for a specific TV licence. It's not part of the taxes you already pay. It's not part of a TV subscription service you may already pay. It's additional. Yeah I get that the BBC is funded by the public... I just find this such a bizarre way to do it. And to make matters worse: if you haven't paid it, you will be sent scary letters from the government giving you a warning, saying they will come to your house to prosecute you if you are found guilty of watching the BBC without paying! And if you ignore that letter, they'll send you a date they may show up to your house on to check what you've been watching. (Hello anxiety! But also – can you really come into my house without permission? Hmmm).
9. Mixed drinks and cocktails...in tins!
G&T in a tin. Vodka soda in a tin. Even a Pornstar Martini in a tin. Pre-made drinks in a tin are just the best. Bring them to the park (tinnies in the park!), drink them on the way to the pub (journey juice!), drink them anywhere you want (since drinking in public is allowed in most places here – another great thing about this country). I know the US is starting to move into pre-mixed drinks (ain't no laws when you're drinking Claws), but it's not just quite the same.
PS: Americans, say goodbye to 'roadies' and hello to' journey juice'. Your favourite new term for drinking on the go.
All in all, it's been fascinating to live in the UK and discover so many differences there really are between here and the US. On a very surface level, we speak the same language so you'd almost expect things to be the same. But I genuinely learn about a new difference every single day. And I love every second of it. Sure, some things may be
slightly frustrating, but it's been so cool to learn about a new country and to dive into their culture and lifestyle.
What differences have you noticed between the UK and US?
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