UK / US

September 7, 2011

I am having an incredible time in the US! A few people have asked about the differences I’ve noticed.

It was a bit of a shock to write United Kingdom as my country of residence on my landing card.

Americans don’t respect lines (queues) as much as people in the UK. When I landed in Philly, I got cut in line twice. I was absolutely shocked! I had just come off a plane sitting by a British guy who apologised profusely for the one bathroom trip he had to make (I had the aisle seat).

Americans have a much bigger country. We (proud to be American still!) take up more space because we have it. UKers are used to not having a lot of space and maximise it (hence, their really organised queues).

I also noticed that American customer service is even more friendlier than I remember it. In UK, you are bothering someone if you want to pay them for something. A lot of people attribute this to the fact that we give tips in America, but there are many more shopping conveniences not explained by tips. In UK, a lot of places don’t really take cards because all of the ATMs are free, no matter what bank you’re a part of, and there’s usually a fee if the transaction is under £5. Here in US, they’ll take a card for less than $1. I am shocked every time this works. I am also still getting used to have tax added after I pay for something. In UK, it’s already there, so if something says it’s £1, it’s £1 when you pay for it.

This trip, I am also missing my friends in Edinburgh a lot more than I did at Christmas. A year is long enough for someone like me to develop deep friendships. Still, I very much feel that there’s nothing like being around people who have known me 10 years on average (some even longer!). It has been refreshing! And, the food has been SO GOOD!

So, the verdict. Notice that I didn’t title this post “US vs. UK.” There are positive/negatives to both. I’ll always be thankful for this time of living between two countries. And, I miss Edinburgh like crazy (those feelings started after only 4 days of being here!), so I hope I’ll live in UK a LOT longer.

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