You Know You’re an American in London When…(Part 1)

I consider myself to be a pretty well-traveled and adaptable person, but as we settle in here and as I spend my pre-job days exploring the city, there are still things that baffle me, trip me up, and make me look like the bumbling, dorky American that I truly am. So here we go:

1. I’m sorry – you said what? 

They’re finishing up the painting and whatnot in our building right now, so there’s usually a fair amount of people around during the day. As I was leaving the apartment to go for a run on Tuesday, I had my headphones in (blasting The Pussycat Dolls. Don’t judge me.) and I almost ran headlong into a guy that was on a ladder painting in the stairwell. I kinda shrieked and then ran back up the stairs. He laughed at me and said “frightened ya, huh?” Except it sounded like “friyanheh?” I actually had to ask him to repeat himself 3 times. At that point, it got awkward, and thankfully, the elevator came. Moral of the story – the accents here are throwing me for a loop more than ever before. Example two: On the phone with the cable people today, I had to ask the guy to repeat himself more than a few times. I could blame it on the poor volume on my awesome Nokia loaner phone (hello 2003…), but I think it’s really just my poor ability to decipher accents. Gotta work on that.

2. The sidewalks

I have a new appreciation for NYC sidewalks, because speaking of getting tripped up, the sidewalks here literally trip me (Ha. Ha.). There are a lot of uneven pieces of pavement/stone/whatever that make up the sidewalks, and apparently, I don’t pick my feet up high enough. Today I tripped a grand total of 5 times. And I do mean tripped. As in, people on the buses and in cars noticed and most likely laughed.

3. Delaware is not “the north”

Many people have argued with me about whether delaware is the north or south – for a different reason –  but now I will admit in at least this totally unrelated context, that it is not the north. 🙂 About 2 days in, I realized that it was 9:30pm and still pretty bright outside. Seriously.


That’s the view from our living room window at about 9:45pm the other day. We are obviously much further north here than we were in DC (or DE for that matter), so it stays light outside until much later. This is wonderful now, but it seems we might pay for it come winter. Enjoying every minute of it for now.

4. Nom nom nom…

You hear many things about British food…usually not great things, but we still figured we had to give it an honest chance for at least the first few weeks. The verdict (my verdict): their food is not terrible, but it’s not necessarily the best either. More than anything, I just find it a little odd. We went to a pub and had fish and chips last weekend – as any good Americans trying to make the UK their home do 😉 – and it was honestly the weirdest combination of food I’ve ever had: a huge piece of fried fish, french fries, green peas (?!), a few slices of wheat bread, and for sauce – one tarter, and one curry. I’m not sure I need to say anything else. Yesterday, I tried to give it another go and order a chicken pasta dish that came with “garden vegetables.” Thought that sounded pretty good! Well, the garden veggies consisted of lima beans, green peas, and a few cut pieces of asparagus stalk. I think.

The Indian food is great though. 🙂

5. Are you sure you want a glass? 

First day in, I made a rookie mistake that I won’t make again.

Me: Can I get a glass of beer x please?

Bartender: Urm, do you want a full pint? Because you said a glass.

Me: Oh. Sure…


There are many more, but I’ll stop embarrassing myself for now.



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