Differences Between America and the UK, Part I


So as with moving to any country, there are going to be differences from what one is used to in the original country.  Language/accent, geography, and climate/weather are going to be the most obvious.  (No one's commented on my accent yet, but this place is so multicultural that that does not surprise me.)

However, there are a number of differences that are quite interesting so far that aren't rightly obvious.  Some of these are below.

The subway is called the "Tube" or the "Underground".  You have to push a button to get the door to open if you want to get in or out.  (This is similar to other parts of Europe.)  The "Tube" here is much better than the one in France, which was so gross I don't even want to think about it.

Differences notable with respect to bathrooms: they have locks which indicate on the outside to others whether the stall is occupied.  It might just be red v. white, but it's really handy.  Toilet tanks and plumbing are located inside the wall.  This is the case in the flat as well as outside establishments.  Voltages are different in the bathroom that in the rest of the flat.  They have plugs for "Shavers Only" which are 115/240V.

Differences notable with respect to the kitchen: the cooktop has buttons for the burners.  It's also separate from the oven itself, which is in the cabinet space.  The fridge is also in the cabinet space, and looks like a cabinet.  The separate freezer also looks like a cabinet.  There's no place for a garbage bin (rubbish bin) and the garbage chutes (at the end of the hall) into which garbage goes are TINY.

Energy saving lights here (in common areas) dim on and off rather than snapping on and off.  It's much easier on the eyes.

Almost everything requires a debit card.  (The cards have chips, and you need a PIN as well.)  Mobile subscriptions, landline subscriptions, internet subscriptions all require a debit card.  They won't take your credit card for any of that.  You also need proof of address to get a mobile in conjunction with a debit card.  This whole debit card thing means it takes forever to get established with a phone and internet.  This is quite frustrating.

They don't appear to refrigerate eggs in many stores ("shops").  They're just on the shelves next to the tuna and baked beans.

All the outlets in the flat have a dedicated on/off switch.  If you want to use an outlet you have to turn it on first.

People also seem to be much more relaxed here!