Survival Skills

I thought about this post a bit because I hear how some people do not like living here and I felt perhaps they don't understand the English and that makes many people not go out and enjoy what England has to offer.

Here are just 10 tips that I think will help you adjust to being here- they are things I had to learn myself.

  1. Be patient- I always hear that there is no sense of urgency over here. I know exactly what you mean but the English will not change no matter how hard we try :) so we have to adjust to their pace if even just for a brief time. I have begun to enjoy the slower pace, it has made me enjoy my life more so perhaps you might find it nice not to be rushing all the time. Also get used to the shopping hours. They won't change so you just have to plan around them. 
  2. If you want to belong to a group, you must be persistent- The point of this tip is that if you feel you do not get the warm welcome as you do in the US, its because it will take time for you to be accepted. I found this in one of the clubs I belong to. It took me a while to be accepted even though my husband was a long standing member. I think it is because they are not sure if you are going to be around so they need to see you there for a while. Once they know you will be around, you will struggle to get rid of them :)
  3. Don't be to personal when you meet people- The English like to keep it light, so they talk about the weather or something not personal so it is best to let them lead the conversation as Americans are criticised for 'telling their whole life story' even when they have only known you for minutes.
  4. Volunteer or join a group in the local village or town- English people will rarely just talk to you anywhere, so the way you will meet people are shared interests.
  5. Know when its okay to talk to people-  I get this wrong all the time but I get it right too. You can sometime talk to people in line at the shop but you will have to read their body language. After church, its probably okay to go chat with someone if people are having coffee. In pub, its okay at the bar but not when people are standing in line.
  6. Be prepared to walk- its good for you and good for the environment. The first thing I tell people who are visiting England, if you think you walk a lot, double it. I think people forget that many of the town centres existed before cars did and most Europeans take public transport. Traffic is often bad during busy times and be mindful that roads might be narrow as they were built for horses not cars.
  7. Have experiences, not stuff- One thing people remark on is how expensive things are over here. You are right and hopefully people will appreciate how 'cheap' things are in the US. Don't let this put you off. You cannot buy the experiences you will have here online or in the shop. The good thing is you will have thousands of pictures of all the places you have been. They do say a picture is worth a thousand words, I think it is worth more than money can buy. If you are like me, it makes it easier to scrapbook!
  8. Be yourself- The one good thing is that Americans are known to be friendly so turn on your charm and they will come around.
  9. Get offline!- I need to remember this one. They say that Facebook has made people more lonely, but how can that be if you are 'connected' all of the time? I find that when all I am doing is writing on here, or other things, I get down. We need human contact. So make sure you get with other people. Sometimes that might mean you making an event and inviting a lot of other people you don't know to meet up at a tea room, (yes I did this) and hope someone shows up (They did!). Then that leads to other events. So get off your couch and get out there!
  10. Don't be hard on yourself and if something doesn't work, don't give up! So you said the wrong thing or didn't enjoy X, don't turn your back on living here, try it again and embrace the differences. That is why I do my research. So hopefully the next time I am eating with the British, I hold my cutlery right or not have to ask a question about something. 
I hope this helps! It hasn't been an easy journey for me but I would not change it for the world!

All the Best!

American to Britain