Things I Learned Quickly About Life in London…

We’ve only been here 5 weeks and I am in no position to give advice about living in London, but I have learned some things already that I thought I’d share. Though some of these might seem negative, I am just being honest and sharing it all; overall I’m really enjoying my time here and I am enjoying having these experiences to write about. 🙂

  • There is way more to the London food scene than fish and chips! SO many delicious restaurants, I don’t think I’ve had anything I didn’t like. Particularly pizza- there are a lot of great Neapolitan pizza places, which I love.

    That being said, we did have our first fish and chips here last week and it was good! With mushy peas, of course!

  • Smoking cigarettes and most definitely vaping is still very much a thing here. This is probably not just in London but in Europe as well compared to the U.S. (plus just being in a much bigger city!) Minneapolis was probably a bit of a bubble, but I never saw that many people smoking, even working downtown.
  • Dryers (for laundry) are not very powerful. You’re better off hanging your clothes to dry!
  • Opening a bank account is a bit of a hassle (at least with the bank we are using!) You need a lot of paperwork, in writing, sometimes with wet ink signature. You will need access to a printer. How did anything get done during Covid??
  • When it comes to addresses, it’s all about the postal code! There are so many streets with the same or very similar names, you need to know the postal code of where you are going. I definitely learned this one the hard way on my first day at the office where I went to the wrong place.
  • You can park on either side of the road, doesn’t matter which direction your car is going. We don’t currently have a car here but we learned this when we spent the day looking at flats with our relocation agent; she would pull into a spot no matter which side of the road it was on. Fascinating!
  • Nuun is impossible to purchase here. I’m going to have to ask all visitors to bring me Nuun (and JIF peanut butter please!) I can’t find it on Amazon or running stores. I have tried a few other options from the running stores and haven’t loved them; I’m a Nuun gal; I haven’t run out yet, but my stash is getting too low.
  • When taking the escalator at a tube station, the right side is for standing, the left side is for passing/walking. Do not stand on the left side!
  • When taking the tube, have your Oyster card out and ready to go! Do not hold up the line digging through your bag to find it.
  • On the tube, you must carry your dog on the escalator. But it’s so great how you can bring them anywhere on the trains and almost anywhere overall, even inside at many restaurants. One of our first dinners here was at an Italian restaurant and there were two dogs at the table next to us. I love it.
  • There is a lot of rubbish, especially in the morning on the weekends. The city does a great job cleaning it up but it is shocking how much people litter. I get it, its a big city with a lot of tourists, but it does make it hard when walking two food-motivated vizslas in the morning. They have snagged way too much discarded food so far! (They probably view this as a positive, ha!)
  • With rubbish, comes…rats. I see one on nearly every run. Ruth almost caught one on a walk…not my favorite experience. It’s an old city and we are living by the river, so I shouldn’t be surprised, but they still surprise me.
  • There are also foxes! Dustin and I have both seen London foxes on morning runs. Foxes are a bit more fun to see.
  • Run commuting is very common! I see so many people running to and from work with their backpacks on. I love this! I’ve been run commuting on Tuesdays with a colleague and it is so nice.

That’s it so far! I am sure there will be many more small things (and big things) to learn along the way and I hope to continue to share here. Again, I am excited to be here and to have this experience, so these are by no means complaints about London, just a few realities that I have experienced or observed!

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