12 September 2013

20 Lessons Learned the Hard Way ● by Jon and Jess

#1

Street signs are on buildings, not on a pole on the street corner

#2

Buses must be hailed. We have been left on multiple occasions...

#3

Debit cards are not swiped, they are inserted

#4

Us, after we found out at least half of our ward (church congregation) was American:

#5

Tips at restaurants are generally pre-calculated and added on to the tab. They don't let you write in a tip amount. 
We've seen 10% and 12.5% "service charges."Apparently one does not need to tip cab drivers. 
Which is great for us because, well, right now...

#6

Lots of places to rent bikes (via Barclays. You can spend £2 and rent a bike for 30 minutes. 
You need online access to do this.)

#7

The tube is nice, but expensive and hot. Your fare increases depending on how far you go. If you want to cool down, stand at the front of the car and pull down the door window. Unfortunately it is still like death at rush hour.
buzzfeed.com

#8

You have to use your Oyster card to exit the tube stop. We always forget until we have to hurry and pull it out of our wallet. You always know the person behind you wants to do this:
londongrumblr.co.uk

#9

Getting a bank account is the wonder story of the transition! After we landed and put our belongings down in the apartment, Jon went to Barclays and signed up a current (i.e. checking) account with just a passport! You obviously need to have some kind of address to which they can send a debit card and PIN, but we were pretty amazed at how easy it was to get a bank account. It felt like this:
... but then we realized it was kind of more like this...

#10

We (especially Jess) are always looking the wrong way before crossing the street.
i1207.photobucket.com


#11

If you plan to move/visit London, We recommend you bring pounds with you. The exchangers obviously need to make money on the conversion, and you won't get far without local currency. You can use American debit/credit cards, but a fee will be charged.
Via londongrumblr.co.uk

#12

We were surprised by the somewhat non sequitur, and more overtly sexual sense of humor people have here, especially in advertising. 

#13

Few shops are open 24 hours, and almost all the shops are open for only 6 hours on Sunday (usually 12pm to 6pm). Prepare friends... or you'll find yourself in a very hungry spot.
Preach sister.

#14

Like New York, the locals walk quickly. However, also like New York, progress is impeded by tourists (especially those who walk four abreast!). It makes you want to do this:

#15

You'd think (especially with the amount of Downton Abbey, Sherlock and Harry Potter that we watch) that accents wouldn't be a problem. However, after hearing like 20 different accents in the space of an hour, your brain starts to hurt. And when you try to talk, words feels strange coming out of your mouth... like you are actually one of the guys from Duck Dynasty. 


#16

Shortbread cookies (biscuits) here are AMAZING!

#17

We often ponder whether Brits pass on the left when walking on the sidewalk (pavement), because that is how they drive. Of course, we then consciously choose to pass on the right. 

#18
You get serious mental strain from constantly having to subtract 12 from any time after noon because digital clocks are displayed in 24 hour time.

#19
Feeling cool, descending a double decker while its navigating through London traffic, then toppling onto your face when it comes lurching to an abrupt stop

And you just know that the locals are doing this as you shuffle off the bus

#20

But all in all, we've learned that we already love it here.

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