Tag Archives: British culture

American habits to give up when moving to the UK

Last year Matt Herschberger identified 7 American habits he lost after moving to England – and it’s all so true!

His original article is a lot of fun and I encourage you to read it: http://matadornetwork.com/life/7-american-habits-lost-moving-england/

But it got me thinking about these differences between America and the UK again, especially how I’d experienced them in reverse. So here’s my take on them:

  1. Matt ‘stopped wearing shitty clothes’ when he left the house. I totally get this. When I lived in London I didn’t even want to wear trainers out of the house – I didn’t own any that were fashionable (expensive) enough. So I’ve really loved how casual I can dress in DC. I’m not at the stage where I can go to the deli downstairs in my PJs (some of my neighbours really do this), but I’ve embraced the idea of walking to the gym in my workout gear and an old sweater. I’ve also bought (and been bought) so many beer and city themed t-shirts and hoodies, that I don’t know what I’m going to do with my wardrobe when I have to move back to London!
  2. Matt ‘stopped saying “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere”. Now, I’m not really sure about this one. Since being in DC I’ve probably attended more happy hours than ever in my life before, but I would say that on balance I do drink less. The thing I’ve noticed is how when Americans go out for happy hour, that’s exactly what they do. One to one-and-a-half hours later, they’re getting ready to go home, or for dinner, or even the gym. R and I fondly reminisce about how after-works drinks could go on for hours – without appetizers – and end in some late-night bar in soho, or with pizza and a bottle of wine at some Pizza Express at 11pm.
  3. Matt ‘stopped shouting in bars’. This is the reason I’m usually pretty happy to be going home after happy hour – all the shouting to be heard gets very tiring!
  4. Matt ‘stopped saying hi to strangers on the street’. This is definitely a DC thing that I’m going to miss – people are so friendly. I love chatting to people on the check-out, or to strangers at the same bar/restaurant. This is definitely something we should develop more in London.
  5. Matt ‘stopped using [his] English accent at parties’. Annoyingly, in the US people often just can’t understand you if you pronounce something in a way they’re not expecting. Though my accent isn’t going anywhere, I have had to start saying tom-ay-to rather than tom-ah-to…
  6. Matt ‘stopped taking [his] coffee black’. I’ve certainly had no problems with proper coffee in the US. I’ve learnt that sometimes it’s nice to have coffee made slightly weaker than I would normally – that way you can enjoy a couple of refills with your breakfast or brunch. And I’ve really developed a taste for iced coffee. Although I didn’t think I could justify buying a drip-filter coffee maker, I could get a replacement for my broken French press, and ground coffee a-plenty. Instant coffee in America is absolutely foul though.
  7. Matt (almost) ‘stopped eating meat’. Another one I totally get. Although I’ve been able to limit meat in my home-cooking during the week, I’m constantly depressed by the lack of interesting vegetarian sandwiches especially when we go out. Certainly when we were on our road trip we ended up eating a lot of burgers and steaks. America is the home of the whopper after all.