Thursday, March 30, 2017

Not British . . .

We have lived here 2 months now (WOW!!), and there are many things I feel I have acclimated to well.  I feel comfortable driving.  I've adopted some of the language.  I can confidently do my shopping and use public transportation.  I'm even in the habit of a daily cup of (herbal) tea.

But there are certainly moments when I find myself silently laughing and thinking, "Yep . . . I'm not really British yet . . ."

Bright Colors - When I am sitting on the bench of the train, I notice my turquoise jacket and hot pink shoes stand out in the sea of grays and blacks.  It's not that British people don't wear any color.  Or that Americans don't wear gray and black.  But overall, there is a much more subdued, neutrality in clothing and shoe colors from what I've seen.  When I wear my bright pink jeans people definitely know I'm not a local.

Tube Games - Other British children sit next to their parents.  My kids, still new to the tube, are fascinated by the endless games you can play with your reflection in the glass windows.  They insist on standing and making faces or stretching their arms in peculiar ways and then laugh hysterically at the results.  Of course just keeping your balance is a game in and of itself.  But on the dozens and dozens of rides we've been on, I have never seen any other children amused by the tube as much as mine.

3 Year Old Buggy Rider - From the time a British child can walk, parents begin coaching them to walk everywhere on their own.  Strollers take up space in a smaller house and can be a burden on public transit and in and out of stores.  So children must learn from a young age to use their own legs.  Abby did not have this experience.  She learned how to buckle herself into her carseat.  She does not yet have the stamina to walk on her own up to school, to the market, to the bus stop.  The British 3 year olds are riding their scooters or walking all about the town.  Our 3 year old is still in a stroller.

Loud - I have never considered my family to be loud until we moved here.  Perhaps it is because we are in row housing now, where our walls connect to our neighbors.  Or maybe it is because our noise is observed by the masses on public transportation, rather than contained in our own car.  But since living here I have a keen awareness of our noise level, and I have observed that we are much louder than the average Londoner.  Our TV seems to be louder, our kids play noisier in the close, I yell out to call my children in, or yell up the stairs to gather them in the kitchen.  We are just louder.

Bulk - I think it is a very American thing to buy in excess, particularly food.  We buy and store more than we can eat.  In general here, I see people going to stores more often, and just getting what they need for the next couple days.  People don't seem to stock up on things because 1 - there is not the storage space and 2 - there are fewer preservatives used and food spoils much quicker here.  In some ways, this is nice.  The produce does taste remarkable, and I find we are wasting much less food because we only have space for a few days worth.  However, I still find myself giddy every trip to Costco when I can stock up on granola bars and cereal and tortilla chips.  And I still buy a few cans extra with every grocery order.  


LaRue said...

So maybe James will be pushing Aby in her stroller???

LaRue said...

So maybe James will be pushing Aby in her stroller???