When I first came to London I never expected
so many huge differnces. I always say, "same language,different culture."
I actually think it's a different language.
There is American -English and then there's
English- English.Some of those differences are of course the
language. I spent my first month or two
hardly understanding the British accent.
And, often going to the store to have people
tell me " I am sorry!" because they also couldn't
understand my English. (Well mostly, it's because
there such a large immigration populationg
that many immigrants don't speak English well.
That's another story. For another blog.)
First of all, it's true what they say
that the British are very polite.
It's reflected in the behavior and demeanor
of working class people.
I find the people working at the tube
station are extremely kind and helpful.
You could go to any one of them lost
and say to them excuse me I need to get to such and
such place. They always very patiently
tell you you must go this way and that
way. All very charmingly done while
saying "Darling","Love" or "Dear".
These cutesy words are mostly
used by the working class, but who
doesn't want to be called darling.
Another big difference is people seldom tip.
It's just not in the English culture. If you go to
a restaurant the service charge is already
implied in the bill. You can always
add more if you need to improve your
karma that day or what not (LOL !).
But, my British friends when we go out
to eat always tell me don't leave anymore
Sabrina.I always like to leave a little
extra and imagine that the waiter could
be my sister or my friend trying hard to
earn a living. Waiters often get
rubbish pay in England way below the minimum wage.
Many of the cabbies are often shocked
when I give them a few dollars
extra. They just aren't used to people
Another big difference is that Sundays
are sacred in England. London is such
a big bustling cosmopolitan city, but
on Sundays everything closes early.
Good luck if you want to see a late
night movie or want to go to a restaurant,
because many restaurants are closed.
Or if you want to buy groceries, you can forget it.
Everything closes by about 5 pm.
British drink way more than Americans
and it's an absolute national past time.
You can see people drinking at all hours
of the day. I can't believe
people start drinking around 12 pm.
I have never liked to drink that early
as it makes me very sleepy and just
useless. Also, The pubs close very early.
They close around 11 pm.And, so called Off Licence
stores stop serving liquor at 11 pm.
The English are very polite often apologizing
for the slightest thing. Even if you are the one to
bump into them they'll apologize to you, " Oh, sorry!"
They are quite nice saying, " thank you and please". S
orry I didn't want to offend. Basically, there politeness
comes from a sensibility to not want to offend
anyone. This is very noble virtue in my eyes.
But, on the other hand there is a lot of beating
around the bush.
For the moment, these are a few of the things
that I can think of that reflect the differences
between America and England. That's all I can think of
for the moment, but trust me there will be alot more
commentary on this matter. In my opinion, the fact that England is
so different from America makes it all the more intriquing