Not a lot to say about today, (we mostly ran errands all day) but I thought I’d write a few thoughts down from what I’ve noticed about America versus England.
- Everything is smaller in here. The cars, the portions, the showers, the beds, the people. It’s a strange feeling when you realize you haven’t seen an SUV or truck in a week. Also strange to be aware that if you roll over in bed, you may fall off.
- There are no garbage disposals here (at least, in our apartment there isn’t). We didn’t figure this out until after we poured rice down the drain so…you can imagine what our sink looks like right now.
- All the television seems to be American. On most of the channels we flip through, there’s a show that we recognize or it’s at least the UK version.
- Everything, and I mean everything, closes around 6 or 7 PM. You truly cannot go out to dinner or grab dessert spontaneously, because nothing is open. This is with the exception of pubs; all the pubs stay open until 11, and we can usually find some decent dessert. Usually nicer or more expensive restaurants stay open a bit later, but it’s rare. This has been a huge adjustment for us.
- Everyone walks everywhere, simply because everything is so close. Cities are more compact, and if you need to get somewhere that’s more than a mile or two away, there’s easy public transportation. If someone is driving a car, they seem to follow no speed limit. We constantly have to watch where we’re walking, because drivers are so crazy!
- The grocery store has been a big culture shock to me. Most packaging isn’t re-sealable, we haven’t found canned soup, chocolate chips (and cookie dough) seem to be non-existent.
- In London, there were very few homeless people.
- Very few restaurants have waiters. Even if you do, then you must pay for it at the register yourself. Even tonight, we sat there with the money on the table, waiting for it to be taken. After a few minutes, we all remembered we had to do it ourselves. At most places, you just order your food at the bar then sit down at a table.
- The tax system is very different, and hard to even understand or explain. They have Value Added Tax (VAT). It makes things a little more expensive, but at least when you see a price on an item, you know that’s the exact price you’re buying it for, unlike the States.
- No air conditioning. Barely any. In some restaurants, yes. Most public places, though, no. Even with no humidity, if you have a small area with lots of people, it’s going to get toasty. Our apartment isn’t air conditioned, so we’re constantly turning on fans or opening windows or changing clothes.
- To turn anything on, you must flip the switch on. In America, usually we only do this for lights, but here, you must flip a switch to turn on the oven, stove, lights, outlets…everything.
- In Bath, there’s a large Asian population. I don’t know the reason for this, but I do know there’s amazing Thai and Chinese food here!
- It seems that because the legal drinking age is lower, there’s no negative connotation with alcohol. Pubs are the norm. We haven’t really seen anyone who’s been drunk; the only reason we could think of for this is because of the drinking age. Everyone we met at church thinks it’s strange/funny/absurd that we wait until 21 in America, but that’s the norm for us.
Some of these things are difficult to adjust to, and others are easy, but I think most our entire group is doing well with the change. Sometimes the shock of something new will hit us for a moment, but we just have to get used to it. My roommates and I have definitely realized how convenient everything in the States is, and I know we’ll be thankful for that when we get home. For now, we’ll just keep adjusting!
A great verse I read this morning that I wanted to share: “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe” Ephesians 1: 17-19