What's different about England?
Every time I visit the UK, I see little things that are subtly different than the US. There are the obvious things, of course, like different vocabulary, driving on the other side of the road, having a Queen, etc. This last trip I decided to write down some of the things I noticed. I've listed them here.
Let me preface it by saying I really love the UK, and that these are just my own experiences, from the 4 months or so I've spent there. Your mileage may vary.
- Separate hot and cold taps. This really drives me crazy... you either burn your hands or freeze them. The idea is that you're supposed to put the plug in and fill the sink with the right mix of water, but that seems like a lot of bother.
- "Half-eleven". Just one of those phrases that I have to stop and think about when I hear it (I would say "eleven-thirty").
- "dinner" == Sunday lunch. I still get mixed up about the usage of lunch, dinner, and tea. Sometimes tea means afternoon snacks, sometimes it means a light dinner, sometimes it means a regular dinner. Sometimes lunch is lunch and sometimes it's dinner.
- No napkins. Or at least, very few napkins. Chris is adept at eating without needing a napkin. Me, not so much. I didn't realize I was a messy eater until I had to make due without a napkin. Restaurants have napkins, but often have paper napkins instead of cloth even at slightly nicer places.
- Putting the laundry out to dry outside. This is good environmentally, and not everyone has space for a dryer, but I see lots of people who do have dryers still using the line. In a country that rains a lot. I remember being in Scotland at a B&B and the owner had just put the wash out to dry, when it started hailing, so he brought it all back in. Then it was sunny again, so it went out again.
- No shower door/curtain. Another skill Chris has that I lack: taking a shower in a tub with no curtain. After my 5th visit to his parents', I am finally able to take my shower without getting the floor soaking wet. Showers often have hand-held sprayers that are on brackets on the wall; I must admit I really like my water-wasting more powerful American shower heads.
- Small rooms, keep the doors closed! I'm used to houses with more open-plan styles, where you often can't even "close" a room because there's no door. A lot of the UK houses I've been too have smaller rooms, and I see people opening and shutting the doors as they go in and out. Makes sense from a heating perspective. It's just something different.
- Soap with a "badge". Chris's parents have this soap called Imperial Leather that has a little "badge" in the middle, that's leftover when the soap is all gone. Never seen that before!