If, however, you move to a country that speaks the same language as you, you’d expect the culture shock to be dramatically reduced to the point where you can completely understand your new neighbours in every way.
Sadly, this simply isn’t true. Every English-speaking country in the world has its own quirks, and ironically it looks like England has the most out of any of them. An American woman who recently moved to England for work has noticed so many weird eccentricities, that she decided to list every single one of them.
Hayley Bloomingdale, who moved to London for her job at Moda Operandi, published her extensive list of British quirks for Vogue magazine. Here are some of the very best:
1. British people do not use umbrellas, even though it rains every day.
2. Everyone says sorry for everything; it’s often best to start any request or inquiry with “sorry . . .”
3. If you’re walking and you have something you maybe want to throw away at any point in the near future (coffee cup, tissue), you should toss it the second you see a bin (garbage can) because there won’t be another one, ever.
4. There are no plugs in the bathrooms—unclear how British women blow-dry their hair (this is a possible explanation for why some have bad hair).
5. Dryers somehow exist inside washing machines.
6. If you have a “cider black” (aka a snakebite) at a pub you might think you got roofied, but you didn’t.
7. Don’t try to order any fancy drinks at a pub, just play it cool, order “a pint” and drink whatever is in there.
8. Eggs are inexplicably not refrigerated and are often hidden in a regular food aisle.
9. British people love talking about the weather. This is not a stereotype; it’s a fact.
10. A shopping bag is not automatically included in your purchase at a store; if you miss the question “would you like a bag?” you will have to awkwardly carry your items out in your hands and act like you planned that.
11. Robbie Williams is very famous here. Just act impressed whenever his name comes up and do not say, “what song does he sing again?” (It’s basically the Queen, David Beckham, Robbie Williams, in terms of famousness.)
12. Everyone watches The X-Factor and something called Cheryl Cole is very famous and important. (Do not confuse her with Sheryl Crow; they are different people.) Also The Great British Bake Off is a “must-see” and it’s a show about cakes.
13. Gogglebox is another very popular TV show where you watch people watching TV.
14. James Corden and Jeremy Corbyn are two different people.
15. If you are meeting someone on the “first floor,” you will need to go up a level because first floor means second floor in this country.
16. Do not get on the bus without your Oyster card. There is no backup option. The only backup option is: Get off ASAP. (Note: Bus drivers are not as nice as cabbies.)
17. Once you swipe your tube (subway) card, do not put it away because you also need it to exit the tube and if you lose it you have to live down there.
18. The coins are not sized by worth; the twopence is inexplicably huge while 20 pence is very small. Best to hold out your change in your hand when paying and pretend you don’t speak English.
19. If you order a “lemonade,” you’ll get a Sprite and there’s literally nothing you can do about it. I still don’t know how to get an actual “lemonade” in this country.
20. Don’t even bother talking about herbs with anyone because every single one is pronounced differently. Basil is one thing, but wait until you hear a Brit pronounce oregano.
21. Bank Holidays happen several times a year, but no one actually knows what the holiday is in celebration of. Incidentally, if you say “Happy Bank Holiday” to an English person, they will not know how to respond; it is not the equivalent of “Happy Fourth of July!”
22. If it’s sunny in London and someone is visiting from literally anywhere else, it’s actually illegal if you don’t say, “Thanks for bringing us the sunshine!”
Although this list is pretty much the most accurate thing I’ve ever read, it’s important to remember that things swing both ways. The hashtag #weirdthingsAmericansdo has gone viral, and it’s hilarious.