Oh hey there! Remember when I moved to London last week? NBD. In case you weren’t following along on Instagram, SURPRISE – I moved to London!
I officially have the first week of #LondonLife under my belt and it’s been pretty great so far! Three overweight luggages ($$$) and two carry ons later, I made it to Heathrow. Kudos to British Airways for providing two amazing meals and a bottle of wine on my redeye flight (winning). Everything went smoothly, my parents are here, Millie cat arrived safely and we’ve been staying with my uncle and his family.
After just a week, we’ve eaten WAY too much Lithuanian food (#EuropeanHeritage), spent five days with my two grandmas (#FamilyReunion), walked A LOT and officially found a place to live (move day= last week of September)! Along the way, I’ve asked a lot of questions and been in total observation mode. So to sum it up, here’s everything I’ve learned my first week living in London. Cheers!
Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road
So most of us know they drive on the wrong side (or the right side according to history) BUT what some of you don’t realize is how FREAKIN’ SCARY driving in the UK is! The streets are small, buses big, streets unmarked, yet somehow everyone seems to know which way to go. Everyone communicates with horns, headlights and blinkers to let each other know which way they are going or if they are letting you pass. Imagine a basic road, add parked cars on each side…and it becomes a one lane road. So two lanes of cars drive down these all the time, I can’t even count the amount of moments I thought we were going to hit another car head on. Nevertheless, I’m SUPER impressed by the driver’s here. Everyone moves fast, knows where they are going and I appreciate that.
If you’ve ever been to London and taken any transportation, you know you need an oyster. This prepaid card can get you on a bus, the overground, underground (like a subway) and even on a boat in the Thames River! You scan it when you get on AND when you get off, but you’ll never go over seven pounds ($8.15) a day. Plus what takes you one hour in the car will take you 15 minutes on the tube, now that’s what I call efficient.
Doritos and Other “American” Snacks
You better believe I stocked up on my favorite products before I left for London (post coming soon) but there’s only so much you can bring…*cough cough* overweight luggage. So naturally, I had a few cravings. One being for a cheesy flavored chips. Luckily, a nearby grocer had doritos…the bags were similar but the flavors a little off. “BBQ”, “Chili Heatwave” and “Cool American”. Logically, I picked according to the bag color, hoping it would be the original dorito flavor…DEFINITELY NOT. Words can’t even explain the disappointment. The American snacks here are deceiving, similar packing but odd brands and odd names. Fortunately the Starbursts “red faves” were pretty close, but still different…I’ve yet to see corn syrup in ANYTHING! Even the Sprite here is labeled as “Sparkling Soft Drink with Vegetable Extracts”. Sprite = Vegetables (winning) haha jk.
Walk This Way
Before I moved to London, I read that when you’re on an escalator the right side is where you stand otherwise you’ll get yelled at. But I didn’t realize, just like the road, the way of traffic is on the left side of the walk way…oh. And a sidewalk here is a called a “foot path”. Even escalators are on opposite sides. In the states, going up is on the right while here it’s on the left (mind blown.) Talk about breaking old habits! Also. You walk SO MUCH here. Hitting that 10,000 step FitBit goal is totally realistic.
What Rain? (subject to change)
Before I started packing, I went shopping for boots and sweater and rain coats! Because I heard how much it rains here…but to my surprise, it doesn’t rain that often. Yes, it is gloomy. But when it rains, it will sprinkle for a few minutes and then often times the sun comes out! AND even with it being so gloomy, it is still really bright out! I’m definitely enjoying the weather more than I thought I would (we’ll see how winter goes). Also, about those
sweaters jumpers I bought. That gloominess looks chilly but a t-shirt and light jacket are surprisingly enough right now (deceiving me yet again) which makes this former Arizona girl very happy!
This is my favorite part about moving here, the British accents and language. Right away, I discovered a difference in dialect. When we were searching for a place to rent, we were looking for a “flat to let”. And a parking lot is a “car park”. Something sophisticated or fancy is “super posh”. But they still use the same swear words as us, with an additional “bloody” added here and there. Luckily, I have my 17-year-old cousin (who btw has the most brilliant British accent) to answer my questions of “do you say this?” and “is there a word like this?”. Most of it is the same, but “Ready Freddy?” and “Cool Beans” are newfound expressions here. Don’t worry I’m going to be a pioneer for American slang, but for now, “indeed, splendid and cheers” will do. Also orange juice with pulp is “orange juice with juicy bits” (I have the photo to prove it…again. mind blown.)
Just like with any big city, the spaces are going to be small. But with the “American” amount of stuff that we have, this is going to take some getting used to. At my uncle’s flat, there are six of us living with three bedrooms and one bathroom. Let’s just say, I’ve learned that you can adapt to anything. AND I’m most likely going to become a minimalist, rather quickly.
Adapters Are Life
As we were packing up, we gave away a lot of our American appliances because we knew the electricity would be different. Still, we bought adapters off Amazon and they work great! UNTIL. My hair dryer. I bought a special adapter and…not gonna lie, I ended up buying an UK adaptable hair dryer at Costco this week after my U.S dryer burned a hole through the plastic attachment. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Moving here I knew my Hulu and HBO Go accounts weren’t going to work (thank God for Netflix) so I immediately took an interest in London’s cable tv. To my surprise I saw the Real Housewives, Vanderpump Rules and the Bachelor! BUT WAIT. The Bachelor is the UK version and OMG. It is so different. All the women are models or actresses or dancers (aka no Jumbotron Operators or Free Spirits)…and the group dates are photoshoots…haha let’s just say I got a good laugh from it all! I miss ABC.
The Metric System
Oh man. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, now I need to convert feet into meters and inches into centimeters (gasp). And as if that wasn’t bad enough…the calories here are measured in kCal which requires more math than my daily meal can handle. Plus we’ve got army time (21:00 hours) and Celsius…so for now #SiriIsLife and she’s doing all the math for me!
Can’t talk about London without mentioning the beauty and iconic views. How lucky am I to be living in a place with such history. I have much more to learn, in fact, my uncle gave me four books on London history today so I have a little brushing up to do. For now, I’ll keep sending texts to my friends saying “This is me. Being super cultured.”
Wow. I can’t believe it’s only been a week and I’ve seen so much, learned a little and have plenty more to go! I’m excited to share this journey with you, if you have any questions please leave it in the comments below or direct message me on Instagram! Stay tuned for more updates from my new London adventures!