15 Things That Shocked Me About London

Hello everyone,

I tried to think of something to talk about this week. I didn’t come up with much, so an idea popped in my head the other night to talk about some things in London that surprised me in one way or another. Here’s a list of things I didn’t quite expect before I flew to London.

  1. There still is somewhat of a language barrier. People told me there would still be one, but I didn’t believe them. Shame on me. British slang is more prevalent than I would have thought, and I’ve met some people here who are from the Highlands in Scotland. Even after having some British soccer coaches over the years, I’m convinced the Scots speak a completely different language.
  2. Not only is understanding some Brits difficult, but a lot of other languages are spoken as well. Since London is so diverse, I can really notice it on the tube (subway). I’m not exaggerating when I say at least 30% of the conversations going on around me are being held in some other language. Speaking of talking on the tube…
  3. … It was rumored that people don’t talk at all on the tube, and if you do talk, people give you rude looks. I’m happy to confirm I have conversations all the time on the tube, and to the best of my knowledge, haven’t gotten one mean look. Plus, other Brits talk as well, and some can be pretty loud too.
  4. Although I thought it would be hard to adjust to cars being on the other side of the road, I’ve gotten quite used to it. In the beginning I would always look both ways, but I have definitely adapted from that standpoint.
  5. Londoners love Peri-Peri chicken. Think of all the pizza places in American cities, and just replace them with Peri-Peri restaurants. In fact, right down the street from my flat, there is at least 3 or 4 Peri-Peri restaurants within a couple blocks.
  6. Londoners also still read plenty of newspapers. Most of them are distributed for free, so most of the people on the tube are reading newspapers.
  7. English tea definitely lives up to the hype. I can confidently say I really never drank hot tea or hot beverages of any sort back in the States. Now, I usually have a cappuccino or tea in the morning, and always tea before bed (Twinings is by far the best).
  8. Speaking of English stereotypes, I also thought when it rained here, it would pour. However, it doesn’t rain hard very often here. It definitely rains often, but it’s often a mist or light drizzle.
  9. Another English stereotype is that for some reason, I thought they all hated Americans, which is completely not true. In fact, the majority of Brits that I’ve met are fascinated to hear about where we’re from and what it’s really like. Plus, they’re much more relaxed when it comes to talking about politics, so they usually ask about what my thoughts are of Trump and what my political stance is.
  10. I’m also a huge football (soccer) fan back in the United States, and gladly, one of the stereotypes has turned out to be true. Football games have definitely lived up to the hype, as I’ve already been to four games, two of which cost less than 20 pounds. The atmosphere really can’t even be compared to any American sport.

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11. You can’t find trash cans anywhere. Since extremist groups used to hide bombs underneath trash cans, London did away with most of the trash cans. But the city is constantly being cleaned, so even though trash cans are hard to find, the city remains in great shape.

12. Crosswalk signals go by much quicker here than in the US. It doesn’t seem like much but believe me, if you are running late to work, it can be quite frustrating when a crosswalk light is only on for 5 seconds and you don’t make it (almost got hit multiple times trying to cross after the light changes. Wouldn’t recommend it.)

13. I’ve only had to take Uber a few times, and when I have, it ends up taking much longer than what I thought. The drivers are not reliable at all, and when they do finally show up after multiple cancellations, they usually get caught up in traffic and end up taking longer than just walking to a tube stop and taking the public transportation. It really is quite efficient.

14. The city is MASSIVE. It’s hard to believe that the semester is already half over, and after a month and a half here, I feel like I’ve barely seen any of it (and believe me, I’ve been to a lot of sightseeing locations.)

15. Kind of ironic, but I still haven’t had fish and chips since I’ve been here. Need to change that ASAP. Although, I have had plenty of bangers and mash (sausage links and mashed potatoes with gravy on top) because believe me, the gravy here is a million times better than anything you can find in the US.

I’m leaving this Thursday for my Spring Break trip, as I’m going to Barcelona, Rome, and Florence. I’m not bringing my laptop on my trip, so I don’t believe I’ll be able to post again until I get back (March 4th).

Cheers!

-Jared

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