As I lay here in bed, I just realised I never blogged about my recent trip to England, so here goes :)
One of the strangest things I noticed when I got back to America was that for some reason England no longer felt that far away, maybe it was because my trip went so quick and before I knew it I was back. Certainly on an 11 hour flight it can seem like England is forever away!! I'm guessing the fact we have Facebook and Skype and I use them lots, it makes people feel not that far away anymore.
So what did I notice that was different about England since I last visited 18 months ago?
The first thing I noticed was how waiting staff in restaurants are nowhere near as friendly and polite and helpful as they are here, this could be down to the fact that we tip higher in the US and a lot of waiting staff are paid basic wage so have to earn their tips. I had no qualms about not tipping after receiving bad service in a restaurant whilst being in England, but here other than one incident at a restaurant in New York, I have always thought waiting staff here have deserved the 20% tip I've given them. Also how hard is it to bring some one a glass of cold to water!
Grocery stores..... I had to pack my own groceries!! Ok it wasn't that bad, I soon got used to doing it again :)
Teenage pregnancy, I'm curious to see what others living in the US think about this. Here in San Francisco you never see it, not that I've noticed, but in England everywhere you turn there seems to be teenagers pregnant or pushing young kids/babies around in pushchairs (strollers for you Americans!). It certainly seemed to be the 'in thing' to do. I guess this was also the case when I lived in England.
Parenting in public. The first day I arrived I went shopping in Tesco (they should so bring Tesco to San Francisco!). Within ten minutes of being in the store I heard a woman effing and blinding at her kid for misbehaving, I saw it numerous times in public whilst I was there. Since being in San Francisco, I don't think I've seen it happen once. Are people more calm here? Are kids better behaved in public here? Are people too proud to raise their voices in public here? Again this is something that was common in England when I lived there so not something new.
Clothes. Everyone seemed to be wearing the same style of clothes, that's something I wasn't aware of when I lived there last time. Also seriously ugg boots are not attractive - get over it!! I think this could be down to so many stores (especially grocery stores) selling cheap clothes, based on high end designs. So they are more accessible for everyone to buy. Here in San Francisco, generally if you want clothes you go to a clothes store, also here you can walk down the street in your pjs and nobody would take a second look - well maybe I would as I'm nosey - I love people watching ;)
Swearing. Maybe they issued a new English dictionary or had new English lessons whilst I was gone, as it now seems common place to swear all the time especially loudly in public. The 'c word' is quite common place it seems now! I even found on my return that I had picked up on this and had to retrain my 'potty mouth'. You hear the occasional swear word here, but nowhere near as much as in England - and I think I prefer it that way now :)
One strange thing I do still do, even after living here almost 2 years, is in my head when I buy things I work out the cost in £ - I wonder how many other ex pats still do this? Yet I never did the opposite when I visited
The more I think about it, I think it's less a fact that England has changed and more a fact I have got used to life in California - not sure if this is a good or bad thing. Also I only visited a few places in England too, so this isn't a great representation of all of England (yes America it is a reasonably sized country, even bigger than Your local Walmart store!). Also I'm only basing this on my time living in San Francisco, which has a culture all of its own, I'm sure other comparisons to other places in the US would be a lot different.
I still love England, the countryside is beautiful, my family and friends live there who I miss lots, and I will always be English and refer to England as my home till the day I die.
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