Saturday, June 28, 2014

Cross Cultural Training Notes...

So part of our reasoning for coming to England for 3 weeks this summer is to get a bit of understanding of how we will do life here once we move here for good.  We thought this trip would be a great chance to figure out how to get around on our own, get groceries, cook, do laundry, etc. etc.

While we are not going to have to learn a new language, there are quite a few words that are different here and many things culturally that are different.  So far, I feel like I have learned a lot, even in just the few days we have been here so far.  On our last visit a year ago, we were able to have the help of Trace and Ginger to help us with everything, which was great to have then, but we knew at some point we would have to figure it out on our own.  When we moved over, I am assuming Ginger won't go with me to the store every time I have to go or go with me on a train or bus every time we want to go somewhere.

So I figured today, let's make a little list of what our "training" has taught us so far!

*Black out curtains are essential.  Right now, it isn't getting dark outside till around 11:00 p.m. or so. And it gets light out very early as well.

*You can never overpack on layers.  I thought I would be good with just a couple long sleeve things...and poor Evie only has 1 cotton jacket.  I was able to find another little jumper (meaning sweater) in Rowan's closet so Evie has borrowed it for the next couple weeks :)  Thanks Rowan for sharing with Evie!

* Comfortable shoes are essential as well.  You walk a lot...and the same goes for the kiddos.

*We are learning words and phrases that are used here that we are not aware of with every conversation we have it feels like.  For instance, today, I helped serve in the cafe.  As I helped, one of the other ladies I was "shadowing" asked me to get a fork, knife, and a serviette.  Y'all.  I had no idea.  I am sure many of you would know exactly what that meant, but for me in the moment, I was clueless.  I finally figured out that it meant what I would call a napkin, but it took me off guard :)  Another phrase that come to mind that made me have to think hard on:  "hire a car" (meaning rent a car--we are looking into that...).  When I was working at the cafe today, I also got into a conversation on what each meal is called.  Whew, that can be confusing depending on what part of England you are in.  Just a few words that are different (there are plenty more I will just name a few): Dummy, Nappy, Rubish Bin, Tele, Toilets (instead of using what Americans would call a bathroom or restroom), and Buggy or Pram.  And then I won't even get started on the foods that are different and ones that I have no idea what they are by reading them on a menu :)

*I was nervous before coming about figuring out the pound, but I am happy to report I am figuring that out quite well.  I might have to stand and read each coin in order to get the right amount to pay, but I am making progress.

*I was able to get a package of Spaghetti noodles for dinner tonight for 33p (which would be about 56 cents in US dollars).  The pasta seems to be fairly cheap :)  The petrol (gas for the car) on the other hand is 1.30 pounds/liter, which translates into about $10/gal.

*Breakfast foods here are quite different as well.  And beans are served with many meals, which Evie has come to love.   Today, I got chili at the cafe, which was served on a bed of chips (fries) and rice.  It was delicious.

Overall, we are loving our time here and it will be hard to leave in a little over 2 weeks.  I love being able to walk to Sainsbury's at 4 or after and deciding what to cook then walking home to fix it.  I love that if we need something from the store, Michael can run over and be back in a matter of minutes.  I love learning about the culture here and trying new foods.  I love the gardens.  I love how people seem to take their time at meal time or stop in the afternoons for a cup of coffee/tea and don't seem to be in a rush.

Other thoughts about our time so far...

*We haven't seen the sun since Wed., our first day here.

*SK wins the prize for adjusting to the time change and getting over jet lag.  That girl took no time getting used to the time here.

*Chocolate here is amazing.  We are stocked up at the moment on Cadbury chocolates :)  And we even found Cadbury granola bars when we were at Tesco that are so yummy.

*Scarves and coats are needed year round here...there's no "putting them away" till next winter.

Alright, that's my thoughts from today...not sure I will keep this up everyday, but we shall see :)

I didn't take any pics today...though Michael says he wished he would have taken one of me in my "pinney".  I will make you go look that one up if you don't know what it is.

Nighty night y'all!


  1. I think the most awkward word at first, to me, was asking for the toilets. Ha! It just seemed like tmi.