7 more things I learned while living in london.

February 12, 2014 § 3 Comments

7 things i learned living in london | eyes/ears/mouth+lens

For reasons I’m inclined to tell you about but really don’t want to jinx, London has been on my mind a lot lately.

The other day I thought back to the seven things I learned while living there and felt inclined to share seven more:

8. the streets have curbside signs that indicate which way to look when you cross

When at first I wasn’t used to looking the opposite way, these signs were such a huge help and made me feel like a total local.

I’d always try and look ahead for them as I’d approach a light or crosswalk,

and without hesitation I’d look the right way.

Every time I looked the right way I’d have a bit of a mental victory party in my head.

These are the silly things that make me happy.

9. canada day is a pretty big deal there

I assumed there’d be some kind of celebration plans, but I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be as big as it was!

Gotta love the Commonwealth.

Trafalgar Square got completely taken over with hockey games, Molson beer, poutine stalls, Mounties, performances by a number of quintessentially Canadian bands…and thousands of Canadians.

And when everyone joined in together to sing the national anthem I cried lots of tears,

and they were the happiest of tears.

10. not a lot of londoners go for afternoon tea

My boss and coworkers, and even a few local Londoners I met were always confused as to why I was so obsessed with afternoon tea,

and then I would naturally respond with confusion about why they weren’t more obsessed with afternoon tea.

Finger sandwiches, scones, clotted cream,

what’s there not to love?

I never got a real answer besides “it’s just not something we think to do,”

but then I deduced that meant there were more finger sandwiches, scones and clotted cream for me to eat…

which made it all very ok.

11. putting ice in drinks isn’t a thing

I never figured out why this was the case – I just grew to accept it.

And then I’d go to the pub and order a Bulmer’s and the bartender would serve it with a glass full of ice.

Can someone explain this to me?

12. people do not speak on the tube

Social etiquette is taken quite seriously and Londoners tend to be negatively polite,

meaning they respect each other’s need for privacy,

especially in the most stressful of situations like being on the tube.

I found a BBC article all about travel etiquette on the London Underground and this is what it had to say about verbal contact:

Unless it is to ask the way, to ask for a newspaper which someone has read, to say ‘excuse me!’ to get to the Tube doors, or the persons with whom you wish to converse fall into the categories outlined in the past two sections, under no circumstances are you to engage in conversation with anyone on the Tube.

This is for real.

13. those communal bikes you can rent for an allotted time all over the city are called ‘boris bikes’

They’re named after the current London mayor Boris Johnson.

And he has a wacky head of blonde hair.

That’s all I know about that.

14. many museums have free admission

Going to museums isn’t normally my thing so I didn’t see any need to go during the two months I was there,

but when I went back for a day before flying back to LA I had a change of heart and managed to visit the National Portrait Gallery and Tate Modern.

Very glad I did this.

Read my previous seven things I learned in London here!

Photo © Lauren Alboini

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