Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Adjusting to the UK

We've now been in England for four months.  The time has flown by.  Getting in the house and getting set up took much of our time the first couple months.  Since then, we've been enjoying a little sight-seeing, getting used to our new city, and just overall adapting to the British lifestyle.

I worried I'd feel isolated and alone, but somehow, I keep busy and am making some new friends.  There have been a lot of changes to get used to.

  • Only having one car has been a huge adjustment.  I am learning how to get around with the public transit and/or walking.  Last week I walked over an hour to get to the shopping center.  Not being able to just get in the car and go whenever I feel like it has been hard.
  • Sometimes the British accent is a little hard for me to understand.  I have a hard time on the phone understanding what the locals are saying, but do okay in person. 
  • The time zone gets complicated trying to talk to people at home as we are 5 or 6 hours ahead.  By the time everyone is up in the states, I'm starting dinner and John is soon walking in the door.
  • I'm getting used to the smaller space of this house.  The kitchen is adequate, however, the oven runs by Celsius so I'm constantly trying to figure out what temp to use.  Thank goodness for conversion apps on the phone.  They work great for converting grams to pounds as well.  Our refrigerator is about 1/3 the size of our stateside one.  So we end up shopping more frequently because we can't fit much in there.  Our home overall is much smaller.  The bedrooms are tight.  Our king size bed just fits and we have one dresser at the foot of the bed that we share. 
  • We have a wash machine in the house on the ground level, but it's small and I can usually wash 2 loads then dry them together.  The dryer is in the garage so it requires going outside first to get into the garage.  Very few people use dryers as they are expensive to run.  You see a lot of laundry hanging on clothes racks on balconies and porches.
  • I've had to adapt to a different climate.  It's been a cooler summer, the locals claim.  But, I think my body is finally getting used to it.  When I first got here, I was cold all the time.  Yesterday, I walked around all day with no jacket.  The rain hasn't bothered me.  I haven't noticed it being worse than at home.  I do miss the thunderstorms as we've only had one storm that happened over night.
  • We have no AC and, fortunately, this summer we haven't needed it much.  There are also no screens for the windows.  So, in order that our kitties don't escape, we have to keep everything cracked.  The windows tilt open from the top about 4 or 5 inches.
  • I've come a long way with driving since we got here.  I still get a bit anxious, but I'm better.  The streets and the parking spaces are way narrow and I doubt I'll ever master parking.  I'm constantly flinching as cars pass me as I'm afraid I'm going to lose a side mirror.  Some of the round-abouts I'm getting used to, others scare me to death especially the 4 lane ones with lights.
  • I miss my local TV channels and our cable.  We do have cable here, but there's not much on I watch.  So, I tend to gravitate to Netflix a lot.  We watch movies through the Apple TV and Netflix.  
  • The food has been wonderful...we've found lots of great pubs that we enjoy.  Pubs are not just bars, but restaurants and places to meet together with family and friends.  We have a lot of fun trying new places.  And my favorite pudding (dessert) is a crisp drenched in warm custard. 
  • Everything is smaller, doors, bathrooms, ceilings, cars, roads, unless you are a church or cathedral, which are all grand, beautiful buildings.  
  • All bathrooms come with privacy doors...there are no cracks to see through. But, you may have to pay to use it.  Necessary to always keep change on you.
  • Most of the stores during the week close by 6:00 pm.  Which means unless I'm willing to walk or take the bus, I don't go to stores until the weekend when John is around.  Fortunately, the Waitrose (grocery store) is open until 9 most nights and a 15 minute walk.  And I did just discover a store called Tesco (like a Walmart) is open 24 hours.  Not all of them, but the one close to us thankfully.  The malls are all closed by 6:00 pm.
  • I've also had to adjust to using pounds money system.  And everything here seems to be more expensive.   Their tax, VAT, is included in the price.  So, the price on the tag is the price.
  • I really, really miss Hobby Lobby.  Our Hobbycraft comes in close, but they don't have near the selection.  I went last week and there was not one fall/autumn craft or decoration!  And I really wanted some fall color yarns (they call it wool)...no luck.  We are finding ourselves ordering a lot through Amazon.  The delivery guy is going to love us when the two 40 lb bags of cat litter arrive.
  • Took us a bit to get back into routine, but we finally went to and found a church we enjoy...modern, upbeat, reminds us of home.  They just last week moved into a beautiful new building.
 

Loving that fall has arrived.  The leaves are finally changing. These are just a few random pics from this weekend.


 The ivy on some of the buildings is just gorgeous.












7 comments:

  1. Thanks for the heart to heart. Sometimes wonder if you are really OK?? Beautiful pics as always and yes the ivy is beautiful red but that is where your spiders harbor. Especially wood or wolf spiders. That's why I got rid of my ivy. YUCK! and I miss the steeple on your church picture. LOL Love MOM

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    1. I'm doing ok. I have moments I miss my home, but then I think about all the adventures we'll have and it is worth it.

      I was too close to get the whole steeple this time, but the tree was pretty. :)

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  2. The dryer is in a different place than the washer? My American sensibilities are hurting... and it's so strange that so many places close at 6. Does everyone just shop on Saturday?

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    1. Shopping is not as convenient as in the states where you can find a 24 hour store on every corner. I just discovered the 24 hour Tesco last weekend. I'm hoping the one closer to us is also 24 hour. If you work a full time job, yes, you are forced to do lots of your shopping on the weekend. Grocery stores are mostly open till 9 but ours closes at 4 on Sundays.

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    2. Shopping is not as convenient as in the states where you can find a 24 hour store on every corner. I just discovered the 24 hour Tesco last weekend. I'm hoping the one closer to us is also 24 hour. If you work a full time job, yes, you are forced to do lots of your shopping on the weekend. Grocery stores are mostly open till 9 but ours closes at 4 on Sundays.

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    3. Oh and there is no dryer hook up in the house or even a place for it. We had to put it in the garage in order to vent it.

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