I’m feeling really under the weather today, so I’ve spent all day in bed. I’m thankful for sweet roommates who always check on me! My dad tasked me to write more about the differences between the UK and the US, so I thought I’d take this time to tell some more. This may be completely uninteresting to some of you, but these are things that I never saw in movies, books, or television. Anyways, here you go Dad!
- Our most recent discovery: It costs more to eat-in at cafes. Although it’s usually only a few pence, I still hate paying extra just to sit down and eat a meal.
- Instead of “How may I help you?” or “Who’s next in line?” cashiers or waiters always ask, “Can I help?” (Imagine the British accent.)
- You bag groceries yourself. It took a few awkward encounters at the store to figure out that one.
- Most cakes are sponge cakes, which really means they are dry and tasteless. The dessert situation in England is actually terrible. (Who decided not to distribute cookie dough here?)
- Biscuit=cookie. Allie found this out the hard way when she asked if she could have a plain biscuit, and the cashier looked at her like she was insane to have a biscuit (cookie) for breakfast.
- The only fast food restaurants are McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, Subway, and Papa John’s. I’ve only had a McDonald’s meal once, and it was actually much tastier than in America!
- Anything sugary (candy, soda, and especially ketchup) is much less sweet here and not as rich. I’m actually starting to dislike ketchup.
- In many restrooms, toilet paper is pulled out of a dispenser in single sheets.
- When a Brit is behind the wheel, watch out. We almost get run over by cars every day. Drivers never slow down for pedestrians. If you’re wondering how I’m doing with the whole people driving on the opposite side of the road thing, I’ve actually gotten used to it! When we’re riding buses, I get a little nervous, but since we’re never in cars it doesn’t affect us too much. All of the crosswalks say “look left before crossing” or “look right,” which is a nice touch for tourists.
- I don’t think I’ve seen a single sign that says “exit” since being here. Instead, it’s “way out.”
- When overlooking cities, I’ve noticed all houses are put into rows, all with the same height and have the same format. Rarely is there ever a house not connected to ten others. If there is a single house, then it has a gate in front with the house name on it, like “Anthony House” or “Anthony Cottage.”
- Most buildings seem small when you walk into them, but they usually have at least two other stories or an outdoor section. In restaurants or cafes, the kitchen seems to always be downstairs and there’s always seating on two other floors. In stores and mainly boutiques, you have to keep an eye out for small, hidden staircases that lead to other sections.
- Saying “alright” to a stranger can mean anything you want it to. It can be a greeting, asking how he/she is, or literally saying “I’m alright.” I had many encounters this weekend that literally went, “Alright?” “Alright.”
- The road system here is much different. Most intersections have a roundabout and few lights. Light do turn yellow before red, but in London, they also turned yellow before turning green. Interstates and bypasses are pretty non-existent.
- I’ve always thought that “cheers” meant good-bye, but it usually means thank you or thank you and good-bye combined.
- The food has a lot less preservatives, additives, etc so everything goes bad quicker. Although this is healthier…it’s still a lot more bland.
Random things about Bath:
- There are tons of street performers. Every day there’s a man painted silver who attracts pigeons (we avoid his performing area). In the center of the shopping area, there are 3 or 4 musicians. There’s a couple who paint themselves gold and stand outside of Bath Abbey, and there’s always someone singing outside of the Roman Baths.
- When it rains, it’s usually just a small shower in the morning.
- We rarely see animals other than pigeons and seagulls (and dogs), but there’s always ducks, swans, and geese swimming in the River Avon. We found out the hard way that geese are really violent, mean animals. Trust me on that one.
- Dogs are much more obedient. We see a ton, but rarely are they on a leash.
- Since being here, I’ve been asked directions twice, which I was personally very excited about. What’s even more exciting was that I could actually answer the questions.
Tonight we had a group devotional, and later got to talk to Emily and Natalie, who have made it Vienna–so thankful for their safety! Tomorrow is another field trip, wish us luck!