So, I had been planning on travelling to Granada, Spain this weekend. Unfortunately, there were some minor complications which led to a major disappointment–my travel companion and I missed our flight by a matter of minutes. So I’ve been hiding in my room with an obscene amount of chocolate and surfing the web. Not exactly how I was planning on spending my weekend, especially since it was Thanksgiving. However, I have learned from my mistakes and the past is the past. And my internet surfing time gave me the opportunity to stumble across an interesting article on Vice.com: How to Live In Britain Without Getting Your American Head Kicked In. This is interesting because I am, in fact, American and have not yet gotten my head kicked in. However, I am POSITIVE that I have been neglecting to follow some of these rules.
1) I still use the word “pants” instead of “trousers”. I may have gotten a couple of interesting looks, but for the most part I have gone unharmed. Really, what is the worst that could happen from that little slip up? “I’m going to Primark to buy new pants today.” Whether you mean trousers or knickers, it’s pretty innocent.
2) I may be “too much” but people seem to like all the “extras”. I don’t deny that I carry my weight in shock value. Americans are open about aspects of their lives that the British just…aren’t. But that’s okay–if you’re making people uncomfortable, then you can tone it down. It’s all about knowing how to gauge the situation. Don’t tell anyone over the age of 25 about what you did on Spring Break. And if you’re not okay with telling your mother the things that are about to come out of your mouth, test the water with the people you’re about to tell those things to. BE SENSIBLE.
3) Tomato…Tomato. It might sound a bit different, but it is still the same word. Nobody has fought me on the pronunciation of “yogurt” or “schedule”. I haven’t tried any of the other words, but I also don’t talk about Porpoises very often. People may chuckle, but you can’t be sensitive about it.
4) Making out with everyone is not a real desire. There may be a fair number of attractive people, but they aren’t sirens. There is no need or crushing desire to jump everyone who walks by me. This point seems absolutely ridiculous. If every other person were Colin Firth or Emma Watson, then maybe that opinion would change. But as it stands, self control is a definite possibility.
There are some things, however, that I HAVE noticed.
1) Customer service is distinctly less prominent than in the States. I don’t shop that much so I don’t really care, but I have some friends who have come back from shopping binges in Soho pale faced and shaking because of the way shop workers have treated them. Not to mention my service from Europa was less than five-star. That aside, I have found that any market I have been to has polite, kind shop keepers and I have enjoyed chatting with all of them (and subsequently blowing large amount of money at their stalls).
2) None of the perceived slang is true. I pretty much already knew this, but after hearing my mother say “jolly good” jokingly every single time she had a conversation with me, I kind of expected it to pop up in conversation every now and then. I have also never used the word “chap” or “chum”. Needless to say I feel slightly disillusioned.
3) All of the stores have mince pies after Halloween. They start celebrating Christmas WAY too early. It’s silly. But that could be because I have Thanksgiving as a mid-point.
That’s all I can think of. But I know there are more! Perhaps I’ll start pointing out one cultural oddity every time I make a posting. Or just a fun fact. Here’s one: The Angel Tube station has the longest escalator in Western Europe. (I’m totally going to find it and ride it allllllll day).