London is Giving me a Learning

October 29, 2010 at 11:48 am 3 comments

Right now! Time to resuscitate this blog. What better topic to help us along than the curious and interesting things I’ve learned since moving to London back in August:

Morning Wars
Every morning when I leave my flat, I slip into an offensive walking style. London has a huge international population…most of whom drive on the right hand side of the road in their home country. But the natives drive on the left. Thankfully driving laws are quite clear..but not so when it comes to walking on the sidewalk. There is no “correct” side, making it a free-for-all war of whoever walks more dominantly. It’s kind of like the game of chicken: continue in a straight line giving off signals you don’t intend to alter course. It helps if you growl. Then, at the very last second as your opponent is just in front of you, turn your torso so it’s perpendicular to your lower body and barely squeak by without touching the other person. If you’re lucky, your opponent doesn’t have a brief case, otherwise you’ll get assailed by the bag during their mutual torso turn. Broods of children are actually the most dangerous opponents, as they haven’t learned to play chicken yet. In such situations, just roll up into a ball and wait for them to pass. Or, my personal favorite, try to flatten yourself against the nearest building hoping their impulsive walking pattern does not lead in your direction. Finally arriving at my destination, I can let my guard down. Time for a cup of tea!

“Two nations divided by a common language”
This is SO true! British English and American English are just not the same. On one occasion, I told a female friend I needed to shop for pants. She paused, scrunched up her face in confusion, then relaxed into a giggle 20 seconds later in realization: “You want trousers!”
“Yes, that’s what I said,” I replied.
“No, you just told me you need knickers.”
Now I’m really confused: “Maybe, what are those?”
“Hmm…what do you call those…underwear?”
Case closed!

Local Heros
Growing up in New York and then spending another 13 years in Boston, I had all but given up faith in my local weatherman. He just always lied to me. Even worse, its like all weathermen were part of a cult that agreed to concurrently provide mis-information so that we the innocent viewers were never able to plan our daily outfits accordingly. Given this breach of trust, you’ll forgive me for doubting British weathermen. To my pleasant surprise, they’re always right! “Over to you in the weather room, Thomas.” “Thanks Elisabeth. I do wish I had better news. It’s going to be cloudy, a bit chilly, and oh yes, we’ll have some rain.” “Right, thanks Thomas. Sounds quite similar to yesterday’s weather. Perhaps we’ll see something different tomorrow.” Thanks Mr. Weatherman – at least I know what to wear!

If you’ve spent any time in London, or currently live here, I’d love to hear your own experiences!


Entry filed under: London.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Em Fletch  |  October 29, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    brilliant! I remember the walk and def. the talk.

  • 2. ace bhattacharjya  |  October 29, 2010 at 7:35 pm


    We want more– this American vs British thing has been done to death. We want our intrepid UK reporter (you) to get us the real dirt. Like reporting on bad translations of good American fast food, finding out the truth the british dental conspiracy and discoveringwhat British folks really think of expats. (As an American, their attitude appears always struck me like an odd mixture of superiority and jealous– but I could be wrong).

    LOL– can’t wait to read the next installment.

  • 3. TimothyM  |  November 3, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Just remember Robin if you’ve made it to the end of day and your at the pub with a pint in your hand, and your husband is lolly gagging with his rugby mates commenting on the latest international row on the current cricket circuit then ‘AWLL’ is well and Bob’s your uncle!

    Also if you could please work on British inflections and Pro-NUN-cia-SHUNS in your blog british spellings. We would definitely a-PREEH-SI-ate the colour. Please try and avoid cockney (i.e. Michael Caine) and the queens english as both are extremely untoward to most civil brow citizens.



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