Hello loves! I hope you’re having a happy Sunday, wherever you are in the world!
Today I want to share some of the interesting differences in everyday things that I’ve discovered during my time in England. The UK is a bit different from what you’re used to if you’re American or Canadian, and vice versa! But that goes for any country, really!
I’ve gotten used to a few things in the months I’ve spent in England. Truly, they aren’t life-altering difficulties, and these are NOT complaints by any means! They are also not “one country is better than the other, nyah” observations. 😉 But these are the main things I noticed:
* Small cupboard refrigerators
You walk into a British kitchen, and sometimes you don’t see a visible fridge. But open a lower cupboard and there it is in all its little cuteness! Because Jon has a larger family, there is also a full-size “Yank fridge” in the utility room.
* Washing machines in the kitchen
However, Jon’s family have their washer and dryer in the utility room. The dryer is rarely used and hanging clothes outside is the preferred method, just as it seems to be across the country. An excellent energy saver!
* No screens on windows
To be fair, I think screens might ruin the charm of English windows. But it’d be great to have the windows open on a nice spring day and not have all manner of wasps and gnats fly right in!
* The narrow winding roads
In the UK, roads had to be built around the houses and cities. There was no room for them to build great squared blocks of road or sixteen-lane highways, and there isn’t much room for big cars to drive. North America is utterly massive, of course, and had lots and lots of room for new roads, and BIG roads at that. There are lots of roundabouts in the UK, and city roads are quite small and often turn and twist like crazy (at least to me they do, because I’m used to cities having perfectly straight roads with crisp turns). And in tight residential spots, everyone has to park on the street, which can make a road one-way only so if a car is coming from the other way, one of you has to tuck in between parked cars so the other can pass (and don’t forget to acknowledge their politeness at waiting for you to go by! It’s incredibly rude if you don’t!).
* Right-side driving columns and left-side driving
I think everyone knows about this one! And it’s the first thing I wound up getting used to 🙂 I think I might even be confident enough to learn to drive in the UK.
* Colourful cars
I don’t know about where you live, but at least in the GTA the vast majority of the cars are white, black, red, maroon, silver, or dark grey. I was stunned to see so much colour variety in the cars available in the UK. Yellow, green, turquoise, pastel pink, powder blue, mint green, buff, Pepto-Bismol pink or metallic lavender-pink, purple, orange. In particular, I’m a fan of any pastel Fiat 500.
* Tall, flat trucks
The semi trucks in the UK look quite different to most American semi trucks. American trucks general have huge protruding cabs, while UK ones have tall, flat cabs and taller, narrower trailers. This is mostly due to differing regulations. When I lived in Virginia, trucks were often blown over by strong winds, so I wonder if these taller trucks in the UK are even more prone to this?
* No buttered popcorn
I don’t know about other Brits, but Jon dislikes the salty, buttered popcorn that’s a favourite snack of a lot of Americans and Canadians. In the UK, popcorn is generally a sweet snack instead of a salty one. It’s often toffee or caramel, or just lightly salted, and sometimes you can find really interesting flavours such as Lemon Cupcake (thank you, Tesco!).
* So many food delivery trucks
I actually have no idea if there are a lot of food delivery trucks over here, but if there are, I’ve never seen them! But houses on Jon’s street get a couple grocery delivery trucks weekly, and another one gets milk delivery a couple nights a week and fish delivery on Tuesday afternoons.
* The weather
Ah, the weather. We all love to talk about it, don’t we? There’s a big stereotype about the UK being constantly grey and rainy, and it’s really not true at all; at least not in Leicestershire! However, the skies do seem to enjoy going from sunny to hailing to raining to sunshowers quite often! If it looks like it will rain, it will rain, but only for five minutes.
If there’s one thing some English people take great pride in, it’s their gardens. In the US and Canada we call it the backyard, but in the UK it’s called a garden whether it’s been landscaped or not. In both springtimes I’ve spent in England, I’ve encountered people who consider gardening to be a huge deal, and there are garden centres all over the place in Leicestershire. Explosions of gorgeous colour are always everywhere in sight!
* The houses
I don’t really know what it is. Most English houses have a totally different style to American houses, and the vast majority of them are brick. They–especially the much older ones–tend to display a lot of charm. They usually have nice windows, and big ones at that.
* Fireplaces and radiators
Now, neither of these things are particularly rare in the US and Canada. But fireplaces tend to be more of a luxury, and radiators are usually just found in apartment buildings and the like due to houses commonly having central heat with a furnace and a vent system. It seems every house in England has at least one fireplace and is heated with a boiler and radiators. Radiators are fabulous for drying bath towels or for heating them up right before a shower 😉
* Delicious food
Okay, so this is quite subjective. And the US and Canada have good food too! But there’s just something about British food that makes me really, really happy. There’s tons of flavour and I’m pretty sure my weight loss efforts are going right in the bin. LOL
* Cats and dogs being bred regularly
In the US and Canada, there’s such a massive overpopulation of unwanted cats and dogs that breeding is not only strongly discouraged, it’s considered downright ignorant and irresponsible if you don’t spay or neuter them or otherwise let them breed.
In the UK, breeding is commonplace, as is letting your cat roam around outside. This latter thing may differ depending on who you are or what area you live in, but from people I’ve known in the GTA, letting your cat do this is often seen as irresponsible and even dangerous, and so cats are usually kept strictly indoors. I don’t know about Brits in general, but some people I’ve spoken to find it unusually cruel to keep your cat indoors, and the same people find spaying and neutering to be unnecessary.
That’s all I can think of at the moment!
I hope you enjoyed this post, friends! If you’ve ever lived in a different country, what interesting differences did you notice about your new surroundings? What did you have to adjust to? Answer in the comments below or on Facebook 🙂
Love and light,