In December, I relocated from New York to London to work for Business Insider's newly opened UK bureau.
I had never set foot in Europe before moving here, so it has been an adjustment.
The differences between London and New York might not faze a seasoned traveler. But for an American who hasn't spent much time in other countries, it has been a little tough getting used to daily life in the UK.
I've lived here for only a month, so this isn't a comprehensive list, but these are the things that have surprised me so far:
Some of my favorite apps don't work in the UK.
I've been obsessed with the music-playlist app Songza ever since I was introduced to it. I used it every day at work and at home, so I was devastated to see the above message on my first day in the UK when I tried to access the app. You don't realize how attached you've become to the "Tom Haverford, Boo Of Your Dreams" playlist until it's gone.
Netflix doesn't have the same selection.
The movies available on British Netflix are much better, but some of the TV shows I loved watching over and over again in the US (like "Parks and Recreation") aren't available for streaming on Netflix in the UK.
Most of the shows I watched on Hulu in the US aren't available in the UK either. The site blocks virtual private networks that make it look as if your computer is located in a different country, so that workaround isn't an option.
You have to bag your own groceries.
The UK's grocery stores don't pay for the extra employees to stand at the end of checkout lines and bag groceries, and I guess that makes sense because customers can do that themselves.
But I was still flustered on my first trip to the store because I didn't realize I was supposed to bag my stuff until the cashier had already rung everything up. I was that annoying foreigner who made everyone else in line behind me wait.
Also, most grocery stores I've been to don't play music. I got a really uneasy feeling the first time I visited a Sainsbury's Local in the UK, and it took me a minute to realize that it was because the store was completely silent.
Custom sandwiches and salads aren't really a thing here.
Nearly every lunch spot I've been to so far has the setup pictured here. The sandwiches and salads are all pre-made pretty early in the day, and they sit out in the open until people buy them. This is unlike most places in the US, where food seems to be made to order. This has taken some getting used to, as I'm someone who is known for making substitutions on nearly everything I order.
The bacon is weird.
I got a shock at my first English breakfast when I ordered bacon and got this limp ham-type thing in return. The sausage was much better than American breakfast sausage, but I was not a fan of the bacon. Some places do offer what's called "streaky bacon," which is more similar to the American variety.
Movie theaters don't put liquid butter on the popcorn.
The first time I went to a movie theater (or "cinema," as the Brits say), I asked where the butter was when the concession guy handed me my popcorn. His response: "You're American, aren't you?"
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