Things New and Old

One of the most frequent questions people ask when they find out I’m moving to England is, “Won’t you miss ____?” The answer is probably yes. I actually enjoy my life here in Indiana and I’m happy; I just like going new places and experiencing new things. So of course I will miss the people and places I love here: my friends, coworkers, family, apartment, cat, etc. But every choice you make comes with a trade-off – so for everything I miss, something new and interesting will take its place, and I will probably make new friends and favorite places during my year in London. So it’s worth it.

There’s the obvious major stuff, and there is the little stuff that one doesn’t normally think about. I’m noticing things as moving time gets closer, and I thought I’d put in list form. What I’m giving and getting. It may be therapeutic.

I will miss bike rides. The feel of the wind through my hair and view of beautiful, calm suburban paths and parks as I ride down the long, flat bike trail near where I live.


but I’ll enjoy efficient public transportation to take you anywhere. This comes in especially handy after a night at the pubs.

underground humor

I will miss having two monitors and my own big cubicle at the office.

multiple monitors

but I’ll enjoy an extra bank holiday, plus more if any royalty happens to get married.

royal wedding

I will miss Pandora. Why must my favorite music streaming service be blocked in the UK?

Pandoracat listening to music

But I’ll enjoy the BBC and other channels you automatically get if you have a TV. In addition to Doctor Who, who doesn’t like a good British reality show about teenagers learning to drive on the “wrong” side of the road in the midst of partying?

david tennant

I will miss asking for water and just getting water, not – “Still or sparkling? Tap or bottled? Ice or no ice?” as though preferences are as individual as tea.

tap water

But I’ll enjoy Pret a Manger, a fantastic sandwich/wrap place. I will have to stop myself from eating there every day.

pret a manger poster

I will miss NPR. I listen to it constantly when I’m in the car; I especially love the shows Radiolab, This American Life, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and A Way with Words. I’ll try to listen to podcasts in the UK, but it won’t be the same.

a goat on a cow

But I’ll enjoy the delicious English baked goods like crumpets, biscuits (cookies), and scones.

lolcat crumpets

As you can see, I’ll miss the States, but I think I’ll be okay!


My Wanderlist

I like reading other travel blogs, and when I encountered the amazing Janaline’s World Journey List, I was inspired to create my own. And, well, it doesn’t hurt that I have a slight obsession with making lists. (ListGeeks, anyone?) I haven’t been nearly as many places as Janaline, but before getting more into my current travels I thought I’d share some of the highlights of my past journeys, starting when I was a teenager.

  • My first taste of world travel was in high school (2005), when on a school trip I explored the masses of historical art and ancient ruins in Italy and Greece.
  • Saw the pope speak in Saint Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
  • Stared up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
  • Explored the lava-preserved ruins of the city of Pompeii.
  • Ate delicious pasticcio and baklava in Tolo, Greece.
  • Witnessed my bus driver punch a hit and run motorist in post-Olympics Athens, Greece.
  • A few years later during college, I joined a spring break road trip to Jacksonville, Florida.
  • Imitated a monkey at the North Carolina Zoo.
  • Overlooked the beach from the top of an old fort in St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest US city.
  • Feasted at a Hangi as part of the adopted family of a native Maori tribe in Tauranga, New Zealand.
Queenstown, New Zealand

Me just outside of Queenstown, New Zealand

  • Hiked down to enchanting Narnia at Cathedral Cove, New Zealand.
  • Zorbed in a big watery ball down a hillside in New Zealand.
  • Bathed in a silky warm mud bath in the geothermal springs of Rotorua, New Zealand.
  • Rode on horseback through the hills of New Zealand where The Lord of the Rings movies were filmed.
  • Danced the night away in the bars of Wellington, New Zealand.
  • White-water rafted on the Rangitikei River, New Zealand.
  • Climbed Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand.
  • Bungee jumped off a ledge overlooking Queenstown, New Zealand at night.
Top of Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

Top of Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

  • Viewed St. Louis from the top of its Gateway Arch.
  • Took a whirlwind world tour at the International area of Disney World’s Epcot, Orlando, Florida.
  • Had a blast at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, Orlando, Florida.

Me at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

  • Petted a penguin at Newport Aquarium in Kentucky near Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Was awed by Van Gogh and Monet’s original paintings in London’s National Gallery.
  • Rode the London Eye, the big wheel near Big Ben, to take in the incredible views of the city at night.
  • Photographed the incredibly old and beautiful churches and architecture of the financial district, called The City in central London.
  • Watched a West End show in London, Phantom of the Opera.
  • Walked around the adorable, classic English town of Sheffield.
  • Enjoyed bread pudding in a traditional English country pub in Leicester.
Leicester Abbey, England

Me at Leicester Abbey, England

  • Met the stars of Doctor Who at the first official convention in Cardiff, Wales.
  • Went hot air ballooning over central Indiana.
  • Zip lined through the forest of Brown County State Park in southern Indiana.
  • Got rescued by the Coast Guard from a jet ski in Detroit, Michigan.
  • Perused the fantastic collection of impressionist paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago and saw my warped reflection in The Bean in Millennium Park next to it.
  • Stood in Times Square in New York, where it is still packed and buzzing at midnight.
  • Looked over New York City from the top of Rockefeller Center.
Rockefeller Center

Me at the top of Rockefeller Center with Central Park behind me

  • Strolled through Central Park and saw the iconic statues and pathways.
  • The stars of the show Once on Broadway signed my Playbill after I watched the show.
  • Crossed the Brooklyn Bridge on foot to see amazing views of the Manhattan skyline.
  • Saw as much of the massive Metropolitan Museum of Art as I could in a few hours.
  • Attended a Julie Andrews book signing in the Upper West Side of Manhattan so I could meet her.
  • Perused the massive bookstore that is Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon.
  • Ate at Portland’s legendary food trucks downtown.
Golden Gate Bridge

Me in front of the Golden Gate Bridge

  • Crossed the Golden Gate Bridge over San Francisco Bay.
  • Hugged one of the very tall and majestic California redwoods in Muir Woods.
  • Stood in a prison cell in Alcatraz after cruising over from Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.
Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco

Me at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

  • Danced through the aisles on the Ellen Degeneres Show set and sat in the gazebo from Gilmore Girls and on the couch from Friends at Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, California.
  • Found that my hand is the same size as Julie Andrews’s in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California.
  • Walked down the Hollywood Walk of Fame next to the red carpet the day before the Oscars.
  • Played in the sand at sunny Santa Monica Beach, California.
  • Watched the changing of the guards in front of Buckingham Palace.
  • Toured Westminster Abbey, with all its royal history, in London.
  • Watched Palace Guards play the Happy Birthday song to the Queen of England on her 86th birthday at Windsor Castle, her favorite getaway from Buckingham Palace.
  • Experienced the ancient mysteries of 5,000 year old Stonehenge.
  • Drank water from the thermal springs of Bath, England.
Roman Baths in Bath, England

Me at the Roman Baths in Bath, England

  • Shopped at Harrod’s in London, the largest department store in Europe.
  • Cruised down the Seine River in Paris and saw the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral.
  • Sipped champagne at lunch in the Eiffel Tower.
  • Braved the crowds at the Louvre museum in Paris to see the Mona Lisa.

Words are quite brilliant things

I’m back in the States now, but I’ll be going back to the UK for much longer in about two or three months depending on when the visa comes through. So to tide me over I thought I’d do a post on one of my favorite cultural subjects: language.

The Brits have some of the best words. They did kind of originate the English language, after all. Here are some of my favorite British words and phrases that I’ve encountered, and their translations into US/American English:

  • tea point (kitchen / office break room)
  • bug bear (pet peeve)
  • wonga (money)
  • dosh (money)
  • brass (money)
  • torch (flashlight)
  • knackered (exhausted)
  • fit (attractive, although they also say physically fit)
  • bird (woman/chick, in the sense of fit bird meaning “hot chick”)
  • wee (either “pee” or “small” depending on context)
  • jumper (sweater)
  • fancy (like, as in I fancy that fit bird.)

The funniest ones are some of the more dirty ones, and can easily cause misunderstandings between Americans and Brits:

  • Pants actually refer to underwear in the UK, so don’t compliment someone on their pants if you mean their trousers!
  • Said the actress to the bishop = That’s what she said
  • Suspenders are often what they call garters, whereas braces are what we’d call suspenders
  • Fanny is their term for vagina, whereas they would say bottom or bum and never name someone Fanny or buy a “fanny pack”
  • Fag is not a derogatory slang term in the UK, but rather a cigarette
  • When a Brit says they got pissed last night, they don’t mean angry; they got drunk.

And I love food in London, although sometimes it can be confusing to order. Here are a few terms I noticed while perusing menus that I had to look up or ask about:

  • courgette = zucchini
  • aubergine = eggplant
  • Wellington is traditionally a rich beef dish with a pastry crust, but I’ve had a delicious spinach-mushroom wellington.
  • My favorite food term is probably rocket, which looked fun when I saw it as an ingredient on a sandwich, but it’s just arugula, no space travel involved.

There is so much fun slang, don’t be surprised if I do a part two once I go back!


Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace, not far from where I’m staying this visit.

As I write this, I’m currently in London. When I go back to the States (Indiana) on Saturday, I will have been here for three weeks, working most of the time on a business trip. I’ve had a great experience though especially on weekends – saw a lot of the city, drank in a bunch of pubs, a packed day trip around England, and spent my 25th birthday in Paris.

I love traveling, eating, and absorbing different cultures. England isn’t super different from the US, really – same language, very similar customs and a modern democratic, Western society. But I notice lots of little things and always want to share them. Words and phrases in British English are my favorite, and then there are things like how they don’t do tips at bars or pubs and that there are two rival mail services. Lots of little quirks that are interesting to a foreigner like me, so I’ve been sharing them with my European coworkers as well as tweeting and facebooking to share with my American peeps. My coworkers suggested I create a blog to talk about my experiences, so here I am!

Once I get a visa this summer, I’ll actually be moving here to London for a year to help get my company’s new UK office going. This is a fantastic opportunity, and I’m really excited, because other than through a job it’s very hard for an American to legally move to another country. London is a huge and amazing city, but I plan on traveling around the rest of the UK and Europe too because everything is relatively close together. On this blog I’ll share my experiences with both living abroad and traveling to new places. I hope you enjoy it! I also love feedback (as I think most bloggers do), so please join in the conversations about words and culture and things I encounter.

Eiffel Tower

France says the Eiffel Tower is the tallest building in Europe, but England says it’s The Shard in London.