Monday, 10 October 2011

10 English Lessons

  1. There are loads of funny British sayings that I’ve come to love so far. Most of them I learned from Anita, our leasing agent, while driving through London. New terms include: poky (a bit small and uncomfortable, as in "that flat is quite poky"), cheeky (slightly rude but in a funny way, as in "don't be so cheeky!"), dodgy (sketchy, as in "that place looked pretty dodge if you ask me"), smart (looking sharp, as in "the dress code is smart"), excellent/brilliant (self-explanatory), Chelsea tractors (large SUVs, like Range Rovers), Sloanes (young London socialites who wear expensive, traditional clothes, and have an upper class voice. Typical hangouts include the "Sloaney Poney" or the White Horse bar in Chelsea).                       
  2. England is not quite as expensive as I thought…if you’re getting paid in GBP. I would say that things are priced as in the U.S. except they’re in GBP, so it works out if you’re living and working here. Coming over for holiday can be expensive with the exchange rate, but don’t let this discourage you!                     
  3. There is no shortage of small cars – Fiats, Minis, SmartCars and Figaros can be found at almost every turn. Definitely feeds my obsession.
  4. A few stores have already surfaced as staples in my everyday life: Marks & Spencer (M&S), Pret A Manger (or "Pret") and Caffe Nero. Marks & Spencer can best be described as a mix of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods with tons of pre-made options that are super creative and delicious. Pret A Manger has amazing pre-made sandwiches that are mostly healthy and inspired. And Caffe Nero is my go-to coffee shop for strong espresso with a really good chocolate sprinkle topping.
  5. I’ve identified a few favorite parts of London already just from our flat hunting tour. South Kensington or "South Ken"  (posh, great shopping, cute cafes and good people watching), Fulham/Broadway (lovely neighborhood with wonderful shops and a comfortable feel) and for a touristy bit, down by the Thames near London Bridge, Borough Market, Tate Modern, Gabriel's Wharf and much more.
  6. Made in Chelsea is my English replacement for reality TV. It's about "sloanes" living in and around Chelsea leading posh lives. The plot lines are similar to that of The Hills, but obviously it all sounds more refined with a British accent. If we had DVR, it would be a weekly recording.
  7. From the train to the tube, transportation is relatively simple, easy and predictable. We've come to know it quite well (Jim especially since he's been commuting this past week), and it seems to be a fairly efficient system.
  8. The use of mayonnaise is out of control. It's overused on every pre-made sandwich, even on a simple cheese sandwich or a hummous (notice the spelling) and salad sandwich. Wish they'd cut back a bit because it is so easy to grab a sandwich on the go. Guess I'll just have to learn to love it! 
  9. Any type of bad news is usually sugar-coated. The English have a way of talking about things in a rosy round-about way that makes you think it's good news, when in fact, it's likely awful. You just wish sometimes that they would be a bit more straightforward with information...we're all adults here, we can handle it!
  10. Flat hunting is a very time-consuming process with lots of steps that aren't involved in a U.S. apartment search. It seems people also operate at a slower clip which delays the process even more. We are hoping all of our time spent on this process turns out to be worth it in the end!
These are all the lessons I have for now...I'm sure I'll have more to share once we actually move into London.



  1. Love hearing about your adventure -- keep up the great posts!!

  2. you must have gotten too used to the doom and gloom reporting in the states! a little sugar coating sounds nice to me :)

  3. you poky little sloane! BRILLIANT!


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