More British words that I’ve learned are different and their U.S. English equivalents: cashpoint (ATM), till (cash register), ladybird (ladybug), nappy (diaper), booking (reservation), ice lolly (popsicle), candy floss (cotton candy), funfair (carnival), courgette (zucchini).

To get to our temporary housing on the tube, one must take the Picadilly Line towards Cockfosters. English words are awesome.

I’ve been sick most of the time here, which sucks. Especially for Jieun, as it requires her to pick up a lot of my slack. I was sitting around resting today and decided to try and watch some sports. The only things on (other than the Paralympics) were soccer, cricket, and F1. That’s going to take some getting used to. I’ve been trying hard to follow football via the web. Not easy. Baseball feels like it doesn’t even exist.

The prices in London don’t feel that bad until I do the monetary conversion, and then I have a minor heart attack. I think at some point I need to give up on figuring out the U.S. equivalent and give in to London standards. But it’s pricy. In comparison, the Bay Area is cheap. Bay Area housing is super cheap by comparison. Which is insane.

One random thing I learned is that it’s considered very rude to refer to someone who’s there in person by a pronoun. It’s so common in the U.S. that I don’t even think about it. But here, rude.

In general, the transition hasn’t been that bad. The cultural stuff is actually not a big deal. I think the bigger deal is the suburb to city transition. It’s a totally different life when you don’t have a car or space. The walking around, the transport – that’s the bigger challenge than being a different country, for me. Although London itself is pretty confusing also, lots or weirdly arranged, tiny streets everywhere. Near my office, there’s a junction where 5 streets converge. Right above that, there’s a junction where 7 streets converge. Utter madness. Everyone told me how it’s confusing looking the opposite direction for cars coming when crossing the street. I’ve found it’s not that simple. Because of weird one-way roads everywhere, there’s no consistent pattern. I basically look both ways constantly.

There are many other things that confuse and perplex me. Most are minor. Like in the office, the doors consistently open in the opposite direction that I’d expect. Outward, rather than inward. Small, constant things like that are jarring. Sink stoppers are built in, like little spinners. To me that makes no sense, as it means to drain a stopped sink you have to stick your hand in the dirty water to turn the stopper at the bottom. Laundry machines take forever (hours) and don’t completely dry your clothes (much like Korea). The same is true in Korea but I noticed there that they were thinner clothes that dry easier. Here, it’s the same as in the U.S. so I don’t understand how people get their clothes dry. I also don’t understand when they use the metric system and when they don’t. It’s not consistent at all. Height is in centimetres. But TV size is measured by inches. Flats typically don’t include square footage in their information, but when they do, it’s in feet, not metres. There also seems to be no standardization in phone number spacing. UK phone numbers have 11 digits. I’ve seen them spaced all sorts of ways. As an engineer, the lack of standardization bothers me.

We just signed a lease on a place in Hampstead. That’s a neighborhood, I think. I’m just now understanding neighborhoods versus boroughs in London. Basically, I’ve been trying to figure out what area filters show up on Yelp. I think it’s neighborhoods, not boroughs. But figuring out which one you’re in is not easy. Like, I think my temp housing is in Bloomsbury. But not positive, as it doesn’t show up as a label in Google Maps. Fix that, Eric. Anyway, Hampstead. Chose that place after a bunch of research saying it’s family-friendly and we found a good school there. I asked our housing consultant what makes Hampstead so good, and she said it was the “ethos” of the area. She’s not the first Brit who’s mentioned ethos to me. I’m not sure what it means. I know the dictionary definition, but it’s one of those words (“ontology” is another) that I don’t feel like I really understand, even if I’ve read what it means.

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