45 things you need to know before you move to London
As my semester comes to a close, I’ll give you future Londoners some observations that I have recognized through my time here. London is amazing and seeing the little nuances make me want to come back in a heartbeat.
- Myth busted: They say that British students are on time and being on time means being ten minuets early. They are on time, except it’s right on the dot or five to ten minuets later.
- Everyone is super polite… like a little too nice & no, they’re not trying to con you.
- Pants vs. trousers, there’s a difference: “pants” is British for underpants, not pants pants, and “trousers” are actual pants.
- American politics is a big deal to the Brits. There is even a roll at Itsu, a sushi place, called the Obamarama.
- Chips are fries, duh.
- Cutlery is silverware, and with their cutlery, they eat with their forks upside down.
- Fanny packs — don’t say that. Ever, trust me.
- “Cheers” means “thanks” & “cheers.”
- At Uni (University), everyone smokes. At the tube, everyone smokes. Everywhere, everyone smokes.
- Ice is just not a thing.
- There are Bobbies, the police who do not carry firearms. Then, there are the big-gunned military guys by the palace.
- Don’t take a black cab. Just tube it. It’s faster, promise.
- Stick to your left. Don’t walk on the right side, it’s like traffic over here.
- You walk fast… except on Oxford Street and Regent Street. Account 5-10 minuets more if you have to take that route.
- Elevators are called “lifts.”
- Ketchup is “tomato sauce.”
- They eat vinegar on their chips.
- Everyone is so fashionable. The casual dress is still smart.
- Pubs close early (midnight). It’s bars & clubs that don’t.
- There’s no point on going to any restaurant or grocery store past 1700 (5pm) in London. Everything shuts down and it looks like a ghost town, but the people have a great work-life balance.
- Things are old here.
- Old history.
- Old buildings.
- Everyone has a car, but no one drives them. I mean, who wants to lose their parking spot?
- Eggs aren’t refrigerated because of the UK’s farming and food practices, the yolks are darker.
- There are a delays on the Tube. They are normally one minute.
- Londoners are impatient.
- It may look far on the map, but it’s really not and can be a lovely walk.
- Cash money is differentiated by colors and called, “quid.”
- The new five pound is weird. It feels like plastic.
- The Queen is the best.
- BBC is everywhere.
- Big brother is always watching. According to cctv.co.uk there is about 1 camera per 14 people. Crazy.
- Fish n’ chips are really only good with mushy peas. MUSHY peas. Although they look questionable, they are delicious.
- If you see a dog sitting on the left hand side of a car, he’s not driving.
- People are nice, guys. They really are.
- They speak proper English. Like they say stuff like “To which,” “whom,” “I am well.”
- Education is affordable. Students will complain about how much they have to pay, but it’s never anything close to how much we pay.
- Don’t calculate tax, it’s already there. Just pay what it says.
- Don’t forget that you can claim the VAT back at the airport you just have to request your receipt.
- Don’t think about the currency exchange.
- You have to turn on the plugs in the walls. It saves energy.
- You have to turn on the stove. It saves energy.
- The stove isn’t called a stove. It’s a hob.
It sav-It’s weird.
- Kettles are things that are important. Because tea.
Michelle M. is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO in London, England. She is currently a senior studying Cinema Art and Science and Photography at Columbia College Chicago