5 Things I Learned Moving to London

...that I should've known.



Plugs. Ok, sure. So perhaps I should have known this before I moved here, but when you have three weeks to get your life together, move out of your house and across the Atlantic, plugs are the last thing on your mind. At least not for someone who waits til the last minute to do anything associated with a major life decision.


Anyways, did I show up with my hair dryer, speakers and every plug known to man for my army of Mac devices? Yep. Did any of the converters to transfer the voltage work? Of course not.


And while we’re on this topic, let’s state the obvious - why on earth do we not have universal plugs? It makes no sense for every region - and of course the UK has its own aggressively large version - to have their own. In light of the current US presidential election, perhaps this would be a better topic to debate. But we’re not talking politics, we’re talking plugs.


Or how about pints? Finally. A country that serves a proper pint. As every American is scratching their head reading this, yes - not 16oz, or disguised in a 12oz glass because bars are trying to make an extra buck - a solid 20oz. Or should I say milliliters?


That leads me to my next topic - conversions. First up, nutritional info. Yet another item ranked incredibly low on the ‘What I need to know before moving abroad’ list. Everything is measured in grams here. And what’s a 'kCal'? Thank god for google. Still, I proceed to shop for food without doing the conversions up until I decide to do the smart thing and see what I’m consuming. That’s when I realized I ate a 600 calorie snack. #awesome I’ll be sure to fast for the rest of the day now that I’ve consumed over a third of my daily calorie intake.


While we’re on the conversion topic, the same goes for pounds to USD. One would think I’d have a handy-dandy conversion calculator to make sure I'm not spending a fortune on a winter coat - no one owns winter coats in Texas, so did I show up with one? You know the answer to that. Besides, even if I did, it wouldn’t fit in my luggage - did you see my first post?


I’m clearly not equipped to live in this weather so obviously I need one since it already feels like minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit to this southern girl. Oh wait, its Celsius here - another conversion. Anyhow, did I find a winter coat at a super cute boutique shop and purchase without converting? Take a wild guess…


So a couple hundred USD later - don’t judge me - I’m walking home. Next tip? Look Right. Thank god for the ground markers. These have saved my life - literally. So they drive on the other side of the road here which most everyone knows, but it’s not entirely intuitive when you’ve lived in a country your entire life that does things the exact opposite.


Now that I’m safely across the street, I decide to get dinner to go - or takeaway as they call it. So I found a Turkish spot, ordered my food and paid for my meal. They then told me to wait by the till. Cue internal voice - ‘What’s a till?’. Well, we are in the middle of a global pandemic so they must mean to wait outside, right? I’d look up the meaning, but if you recall, I lost my phone at London Heathrow upon arrival. The gift that keeps on giving.


Anyways, I walked straight out the door and stood by the curb in the cold while I observed everyone behind the counter give me a strange look. Internal voice again - ‘Well, that was odd. You do look lost. It’s fine. Just wait for your food’. Ten minutes passed, which felt like a lifetime, as I stood awkwardly outside of this food establishment that seemingly everyone else who ordered decided to stay in. That’s when a guy behind the counter knocked on the glass window that separated us motioning me to come inside so he could hand me my food. At that moment it became very apparent I was not waiting by the till.


Moral of the story: buy new electronics, create conversion charts, drink beer, look right, and don't lose your phone at the airport so you can look up local words so as not to be the strange American standing outside in the cold waiting for your food.


P.S. Go with the flow. It makes all of the above far more fun and part of the adventure that is life. #followyoursoul

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