To continue the never-ending saga of British oddities (since it literally has no end), let’s dwell on some quirks that set this delightful nation apart from my own.
If you’re a native of Britain or have lived here long enough to call it home then you might be used to these idiosyncrasies. As a greenhorn expat fresh from the States I had a little trouble adjusting to them.
First Floor—No—Ground Floor
Navigating a multi-story building can be a bit tricky for an American in Britain. If the bookshop is on Floor 1 then that does not mean it is at street level. Neither does Floor 3 sit on top of just two other floors. In this country the ground floor is regarded as Floor 0, the next floor is 1, and so on. So on your next trip to London take your time in the lift and double-check that you really want to go up 16 stories and not 17.
The proper name of baked goods is a mystery to me. First of all: the biscuit and the cookie. Both words are used over here, but it seems that a biscuit is a hard, dunkable item whereas a cookie is something thick and chewy and American. However this isn’t always the case, and is the cause of some confusion.
Also, I have heard my British friends throw the word “bun” around in a shameful fashion, so that I am left completely clueless as to its meaning. Is a bun something savoury or sweet? I think of a fluffy bread roll, but I’ve heard everything from birds nest cookies to banoffee pie referred to as “buns.” Frightening.
|Tea break by Steve Parker|
The National Institution of TEA
It’s not an outdated stereotype. TEA is a serious business here in Britain. Since living here I’ve absorbed a great reverence for the drink through a kind of osmosis, and find myself drinking at least two, if not three or even four cups throughout the day. I must quote “baconhammock69,” a commenter on this Reddit post. “I’m a Brit and honestly don’t LOVE tea, but I drink a minimum of 2 cups a day… It’s almost like it’s built into my DNA to drink it or the queen will drop kick me in front of a moving Tube train….”
|Grocery shopping by Charlotte|
I didn’t do much of my own grocery shopping back home (for the simple reason that I had a mother to do such things), but I was fairly familiar with when to buy what and how fast it would spoil when properly kept. Now that I’m buying my own food here in the UK I am shocked, nay, horrified by the expiry dates on fresh food. Almost without fail every bag of stir fry vegetables or bunch of oranges or tub of hummus has an expiry date of today or tomorrow, or at the very most three days from now.
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