Hey, no need to alert the authorities, I've started taking the tea bag out of my cup before I drink or stir. I did have a major slip up the other day when I used my tea spoon in the sugar, hence contaminating the sugar jar. Luckily, I was with a American friend that overlooked my egregious error. I'm muddling my way through, day by British day.
Let's make a list of words that are now in frequent rotation around our house. Not because they're necessarily new British words, but because we use them now more, in distinctly British ways.
WORDS WE HAVE ADOPTED INTO OUR YANK VOCAB:
pop have a go quite
sorry........ cinema (the girls thought people were talking about going to the cinnamon - they thought it was some sort of tasting party.)
I'm sure there are more that aren't coming to mind, but you get the point. And since so many people ask, yes, there is a bit of an accent acquisition happening with the kids. Eli likes to put one on, but it's like he swallowed a bit of Hagrid and Michael Keaton. The girls' are much more subtle and natural. Finley has distinctly British intonation. She tends to end every sentence like a question. Holland's just appears intermittently, depending on the word she is using. I notice that "mom" is getting closer to "mummy" every day. She likes to correct me. A lot. Currently, tomato is my biggest offender.
And now for a random collection of other observations, in no particular order.
- what's up with thread count? "luxury" thread count starts at 200 here. I had to send Cal to Target on his last NYC trip to buy sheets because I refused to pay $156 for a queen sheet set. And I'm not sleeping on 180. I love Ikea and all, but I've got my needs.
- no big peanut butter - if you like peanut butter, you can have two sandwiches and no more. Seriously, they only sell it in, what my husband would call "travel size" - you know the mini jars that fit in the palm of your hand? Yea, that. So that NYC trip, also included a return suitcase of 10 giant pb jars.
- litter bugs - it's bad when even my kids notice. People blatantly litter. It physically repulses me to see it happen because I am a child of the powerful 80s anti-litter campaign. I GIVE A HOOT. And probably closely related to this issue, is the fact that public rubbish bins, aka trash cans, are few and far between. They do have street cleaners, guys (well I've only see men) that walk the street in hi-vis outfits sweeping and picking up the litter. This seems less effective, though maybe it provides jobs.
- outlets - you know the power outlets here are obviously different in voltage, shape, size, etc, but I was kind of surprised that the outlet has an little tiny on/off switch for each plug. And speaking of outlet problems, this might be my biggest, whiningest complaint ever: NO OUTLETS IN THE LOO. None. Sometimes there will be shaver-specific plugs, but that's it. All the blow drying and flat ironing goes down in my bedroom now. Or in the nearest hallway.
- eating everything with forks and knives - and I mean everything. I had a mini rant a few weeks ago on IG about seeing this happen with burgers. I know, the horror.
- smokers - it might just be a European thing in general, but again, my kids noticed that there are far more people that smoke here.
I will say that I don't feel like a foreigner very much. Everyone in London seems to be from somewhere else. But I am tired of trying to make friends. It's exhausting and disheartening some days. I feel like there is a set of social rules amongst the school mums that I'm not privy to, but which I'm expected to know. Some days they chat with me and acknowledge my existence, other days they avoid me. The girls have had play dates, but I've been informed by one mom that since we live far from the school, her daughter will not be going to our house. It's very inconvenient for most of them to travel more than a half mile, and I'm not making this up. It's bizarre.
Cal keeps telling me to go to one of those instameets (it's an instagram meet up - planned and date selected, you meet with other IG freaks and walk around taking photos) so I can meet people I have more in common with. Problem with that is a) I'm not a single 20 something, b) I'm not an old, cool, single, professional, male photographer with a lifetime of wisdom (and gear) to bequeath to my acolytes, and c) I don't want anybody to tell me to jump pose or wrap a flag or tribal blanket around myself. Not that I have any sort of preconceived notions about these things.
Wah wah wah. At least I have a cupboard full of digestives and liege waffles.
And now, it's now time to eat, which means you have reached the end of this post.