The 2nd edition of the top differences between living in London vs. Phoenix (read the 1st edition here):
1. Instead of the obligatory “how are you?” the English are prone to asking “you all right?” At first this threw me off, and I would think ‘yeah I’m fine!’ and then wonder why they asked . . . do I look sad? Is my appearance disheveled? Am I bleeding? Is there some other sign that indicates I’m not okay?! Luckily, the paranoia died down and I realized it’s just their way of saying “how are you?” just as Americans automatically do after saying ‘hi’ to someone. Phew!
2. The second difference works to my benefit: I don’t recognize celebrities here! This is a good thing, as I have the tendency to get extremely star struck and act like a complete idiot in the presence of anyone famous. Now however, I have less opportunities to embarrass myself and that’s always a bonus. Don’t get me wrong, if I see the lady* below or any of her gal pals I’m still going to freeze up and not be able to move or talk. I may not be hip to CURRENT London pop culture yet, but I don’t live under a rock.
3. I can’t convincingly try to fit in here without talking about the weather, so let’s get that out of the way. . . It goes without saying that the climate between Phoenix and London varies SUBSTANTIALLY. People I know are very concerned that I won’t be able to hack it in the winter, but I’ve gotta tell you . . . I LOVE THE COLD! I swear I’m not just saying that because it’s only October, I’ve claimed it for years. I have experienced the mid-west during ‘real’ winters, snow and all. Granted, I can appreciate that living in a cold climate is different than visiting, but I think I’ll be just fine. I’m not a fan of Arizona’s weather and I never really have been. Sorry Phoenix – I still love you, but as a wise friend told me “London is the prettiest shade of grey.”
4. Now this may be slightly obvious, but part of living in a large European city is all of the different cultures that you encounter daily. Just in the office alone we have over 30 different ethnicities. I’m having a hell of a time trying to keep all the accents straight! I’ve realized it’s best to not assume anyone is from anywhere and just ask so that you don’t sounds like a lame-o if you guess wrong.
*Oh snap! 4 down and 1 to go!