|Brooklyn Bride Park Summer 2015|
On this day last year, we finally finished packing our bags, B's parents drove us to the airport, and we nervously boarded our flight to JFK. Just before midnight, we had landed, waited anxiously in line for security, quadruple-checking we really did have all the right papers and they were going to let us through. Finally we got in a taxi, drove through New York's outer neighborhoods, and arrived at a fairly grotty hotel in Gowanus.
One year on and this city feels less intimidating, overwhelming, and confusing than it did on our first week, although I am still surprised or taken aback by at least one event or conversation or discovery every day. New York feels a little more like home (but the UK is still what we refer to as home), we have some friends, jobs, an adorable apartment, and plenty of local food-related knowledge. However, I still can't discuss the temperature in fahrenheit, people regularly don't understand what I'm saying, and this humid, hot summer is simultaneous a novelty and impossible to survive in.
|Brooklyn Bride Park Summer 2016|
So, to celebrate, our New York-iversary, I'm not going to provide you with a list of my favorite New York places (that's what this blog does the rest of the year), but instead with a list of the weirdest, most confusing, and most basic American-NYC vs UK-London differences, which we never ever thought about before we arrived:
1. When you're asked 'How's it going?' or 'How are you?' when you walk into a café, restaurant, or shop, they're not actually just looking for a response, it's just their way of saying 'hello'.
2. New Yorkers have asbestos hands, and drink huge coffees, all day, every day.
3. Everybody uses the subway, but this doesn't mean it's an efficient way to get around. It's old, slow, smelly, there's no information anywhere, and it is regularly delayed.
4. New Yorkers are totally dog-obsessed. Until you have a dog, even if you live in a tiny apartment, you're not really one of them.
5. Iced coffee isn't just for summer.
6. Paying the 'check' in a restaurant will take many, many, meals out to get used to. And if you try explaining the efficient British method to your server they will be overwhelmed.
7. You have to tip. There's no point trying to play the 'I'm British card' - they don't care. People in tipping jobs are paid a minimum wage of next to nothing, so tips are the only way they can survive.
8. Apartments generally don't have washing machines. Welcome to the world of the laundromat.
9. This is a city with real seasons. The winter is cold and snowy and icy, the summer is hot, humid, and sweaty.
10. It's impossible to hear an American say croissant, niche, cassoulet, or lychee without laughing.
11. New Yorkers love giving directions. Generally, they don't acknowledge or communicate with strangers in public, but stop and ask for directions and you'll think you've found your new best friend.
12. If you're going to work in a restaurant, make sure you can speak Spanish first.
13. You could probably furnish and decorate your whole room with furniture and odd bits and bobs found on stoops. Everybody loves leaving things they would otherwise throw away on their stoop for passersby to adopt.
14. New Yorkers don't toast their bagels.
15. You probably won't get arrested if you jaywalk.
16. Doughnuts are definitely an acceptable breakfast.
17. Don't try and be ironic. It doesn't go down well.
18. Europe is thought of as essentially one country. And European is pronounced Eurpn.
19. Squirrel is pronounced squrl. Don't even try to talk about Eurpn squrls.
20. Unless you're a millionaire, you will have problems with bugs in your apartments, whether it's ants, cockroaches, or mice.
21. They think the first floor is the ground floor. We live in what would be called a basement flat in the UK and don't even know how to refer to it here.
22. As a Brit, it is assumed you know everything about the royal family. Everything.
23. There are 'commercials' everywhere at every possible opportunity: on TV every 2 minutes, at sports matches, on the radio, you can't get away from them.
24. New Yorkers don't fit the stereotype of Americans who eat early. Nobody sleeps in this city. Sleep is frowned upon.
25. Ordering eggs is its own language: over easy, sunny side up, hard scrambled, soft scrambled, coddled... It goes on.
26. Be careful when you cross the street on a go sign, cars still can run you over, they're allowed to if they're turning the corner.
27. Pizza is also called pie. Pie is also pie. It's confusing.
28. Cider is apple juice - normally posh apple juice. It can also be alcoholic, and they sometimes make this clearer by calling the alcoholic version hard cider, but not always. And apple juice is still a thing, but tends to refer to rubbish apple juice. But not always.
29. Writing the date will blow your mind. I am now simply unable to read or write a date at all.
30. If you use contactless on your credit card in a supermarket or shop, you will literally blow the cashier's mind.