Forget the crowds and fears of big city crime that worried me as I considered a move to London back in early 2013. London feels incredibly safe (knock on wood) because of the old adage “safety in numbers”. It’s a rare occasion when I’m alone on the streets. There are people EVERYWHERE. I’m comforted by the fact that someone would at least hear me scream.
These are the real pitfalls to watch out for if you relocate to London:
1. Your politeness factor increases tenfold. As do the hidden meanings behind each sentence. You will soon understand the phrase ‘posh putdown’ as mentioned on Ladies of London.
2. You start apologizing for everything. #sorrynotsorry
3. You think drinking at the pub every night of the week is normal. Even Monday. Especially Sunday.
4. You become a pro at public transportation strategizing. Bus + tube + walk or overground or walk + tube to get home fastest? Thank you CityMapper.
5. You don’t blink when the Royal Mail delivers your package to the neighbo(u)rs, intentionally. In fact, the neighborly trust is sort of wonderful and saves you a trip to the post office to pick it up later.
6. You start referring to cookies as biscuits. Or worse, sweaters as jumpers. Pants are actually underwear and trousers are pants. Start studying vocab lessons one and two if you really want to get stuck in.
7. 90% of conversations begin with a chat about the weather, just accept it.
8. You start replacing z’s with s’s and using the Queen’s English without blinking. “I’m prioritising my organisational skills whilst drinking a cuppa tea and I won’t apologise for it.”
After fighting these cultural changes for several months and stubbornly claiming my ‘American’ status to all who would listen, I’ve accepted that part of the fun of living in another culture is adopting some of their customs, even if just for a short while. Honestly, how great is it that our mail gets delivered to a neighbor when we’re at work? My ultimate lesson learned: appreciating and observing the differences between Brits and Americans makes this experience even more valuable.
For those who know the UK, what other “dangers” have I forgotten?