Home Blogging Hey, I’ve Been Back in London for Four Months Now!

Hey, I’ve Been Back in London for Four Months Now!

by Krista

Have been waiting to find you!

A photo posted by Krista (@kristainlondon) on

London, you are the best and the most beautiful. I love  you, totally and completely. I get lost in you. (Just like Mark Wallinger and Labyrinth, his London Underground art series of mazes .) But sometimes in love, there is not-so-love. Here is the bad and the good from where I am sitting today.

THE BAD…and/or the things I’ve forgotten…

Yelp London is useless! Barely any reviews for a lot of places.Where is everyone leaving their reviews? No one writes reviews on Time Out anymore. I am left with Foursquare, and even that is kinda sucky and lacking in reviewness. HELP. I want the voice of the people. Help me.

What is with hair color on women? I’ve seen a lot of washed out pink and blue hair. I don’t like it. It looks tacky. If you’re going to do it ladies, MAINTAIN IT.

Flowered trousers…perhaps a bigger thing when the weather was warmer but the patterned blousey trousers on women thing. I don’t know if I like it? Oh wait…hold on, my phone is ringing and it’s MC Hammer…

Smoking…After spending the last four years in the U.S., I have honestly forgotten that people still smoke. On the sidewalk/pavement in London as I’m walking, at work when they need to take breaks and then return to stink up the meeting room, everywhere, everywhere. Smokers are everywhere. Stop putting fire in your mouths, people. It is going to kill you a lot faster than a lot of other things.

Flats owned by people in Singapore and Hong Kong: I had no idea that this was a thing until I started flat-hunting this summer and when I would ask about the landlord, 9 times out of ten, they would tell me, “Oh, he/she is in Singapore/Hong Kong.” Apparently, people in Asia have bought up all the new construction property in east London these last few years. That’s fine, but if you’re going to do it love, hire a property manager. I’m not calling you in Hong Kong when the boiler’s out.

Taking a shower is still hard. In my new flat, I’ve got the two-and-a-half-foot bath and the shower half-glass. I have conquered the two-and-a-half-foot bath (I think) but I HATE THE HALF-GLASS. How do British people take showers?? I do not understand it. I flood the bathroom all the time, and if my bathroom floor tile is any indication, the last tenant did too.

They don’t bag your groceries for you anywhere. They just stare at you (or make no eye contact whatsoever) and then they wait for you to leave. #AWKWARD.

The importance of the past: I learned this hard during my first tour-of-duty. In my experience, British people don’t forget any sort of past. I’m not saying that Americans forget the past, but in general, my take is that Americans have a mindset that’s much more like “Ok, that happened. That was the past. Hindsight is 20/20. Let’s move forward.” Take me out for anything Japanese/Chinese/Vietnamese and I’ll tell you more.

Toasters everywhere but no toaster ovens. I just want an English Muffin pizza. Personally, I’m afraid of toaster-toasters. I’m always afraid the toast will catch fire inside. And I don’t want to fire up the broiler just for some cheese on toast.


Tethering: My iPhone came with a wifi hotspot, as opposed to in America, where you have to pay extra for that functionality. So if you’re in London and you wanna tether to my hotspot, you just let me know.

UHT MILK! I love long-life milk because you know, British milk goes bad in like less than five days. (American milk lasts a lot longer, like two weeks.) So I buy UHT milk and it lasts forever. I probably don’t want to know what they did to it to make it that way, do I? A lot of people use UHT milk to make yogurt, apparently. Me, I just use it for my morning coffee.

Charging for plastic bags: London started doing this ages ago. I believe California just started doing it. The U.S. is BEHIND.

Pizza Express Salad dressing: Haters, don’t be hating. This stuff is STILL delicious and I go through it like white wine.

The roads are smooth! I don’t know if it’s because I was unlucky enough to live in Chicago, but London roads are SMOOTH! There are no potholes! It’s amazing! I can ride my bike anywhere and not need any dental work!!

Recycling: My building recycles, we recycle at work, and anywhere I go around London, there’s one of those handy separators for recycling. Me and my empty Diet Coke cans feel so virtuous. Saving the world, people. Saving the world!

Direct debits! No checks! I’ve been here four months and I haven’t written ANY CHECKS. It’s amazing. I cannot believe that in America, people still write checks. It is crazy. My debit card is my favorite thing.

Kettles, kettles everywhere: I love my kettle. I use it more frequently than my microwave.

The weather! It’s NOT SNOWING! It’s not frigid. It’s nice. Thank God for that. Honestly, words cannot describe. On January 6th 2015, I am going to throw a “-40 degrees is where Fahrenheit and Celsius intersect” party. You’re invited.


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Ebi Atawodi October 26, 2014 - 12:21 pm

Loved this! Seriously the smokers comment made me die of laughter. I really want to understand this “past” thing however? Don’t get it, people don’t forget things from the past? And the showers!!!

UHT Milk is my life! Especially in Nigeria where we have no fresh milk and London roads are super smooth, imagine my horror going from London to New York for the first time.

I still do not understand why America has refused to catch up with the times when it comes to payments. Even the whole signing thing – I feel so scared when I’m asked to sign, like snap anyone could do this!

I miss London!!!

p.s. Have you tried trip advisor for reviews? Also theres this cool new app called Dojo for London. I’m in love with it from 3000km away and so funny as I’ve always wanted to create the same thing for Lagos!

Krista October 26, 2014 - 3:08 pm

@Ebi…The past thing is a long story but generally, I am frequently reminded of my American-ness whenever anything not-positive happens and British people want to dissect it and understand exactly why it happened. (And they also want commitment it won’t happen again.) The American in me is more like “Dude, shit happens. Why shit happens is an existential question. Let’s get over it and move on and do it better next time.” (Actually, now that I write that, maybe it’s more the German in me!! Too much time with the German philosophers!)

The American banking industry…I think it’s a Fox News conspiracy! To keep us in the dark ages. Although Chase Quickpay is apparently the new hot thing and allows for easier person-to-person online payments.

Very much a Trip Advisor aficionado.I don’t rely on it much for restaurant reviews, but maybe I should!! Will check out Dojo though! Thanks for the tip! I need tips!!

Jess October 28, 2014 - 10:54 am

I’m dealing with the half-glass thing while abroad, too. I think it’s they’re way of protecting…the past.

kaszeta November 4, 2014 - 9:57 am

Heh, I’ve suffered through more than a few showers with the half-glass thing. I’ve chalked it up to “British plumbing things I can’t understand”, along with the old 1960’s toilet my brother’s flat that was approximately 5 gallons per flush…. but still needed a second flush every time.

I love how much easier the whole cell phone thing is in the UK (and most everyplace I go other than the US and Canada). I just buy a sim (or, in the case of London, top off the one I bought a few years back), and I’m good to go, with voice, data, texting, tethering, etc. All for 10 quid for my entire visit.

Krista November 4, 2014 - 3:40 pm

British AND FRENCH plumbing tings I can’t understand!!

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