25 differences between London and Amsterdam: An anthropological account
Lewie, J. and I have been living in London now for two months: Yay!!
Some things I noticed about this city and the UK which are different to the Netherlands and/or Amsterdam:
1. The English take saying 'Please' after a question very seriously. I got some good Pavlov training after every question I ask. It sometimes takes a second or two, but I manage to squeeze out a 'Pleeease' in the end.
2. On the other hand, London cyclist don't take traffic lights thát serious. And I get it, because you have many! They're often situated on the lowest point of a hill when you just got a nice roll and befóre the next steep hill.
3. London has hills.
4. They don't seem to like urban foxes as much as I do. Whereas I am happy to watch two male foxes fight over their territory by producing high pitched screeches, my neighbours don't.
5. English people don't like confrontation, just like aforementioned foxes.
6. Cyclists take themselves very, VERY serious. I'm wearing my regular hobo outfit sweating like a pig), he (it's always a he) a tight lycra outfit dirty on the backside with mud making it look like a huge skid mark turned upside down. But somehow, I always find myself stopping next to him at the following traffic light(s).
7. In this gargantuan city, everybody is busy trying to create a community.
8. A few of these communities are Dutch and German. 95% of their conversations online are on where to find a decent loaf of bread. The other 5% is on selling their (Dutch) bicycles and/or the exchange of Jip and Janneke books.
9. London has grey weather a lot of the time. We had a couple of days of sunshine, paired with frost. The sun sets an hour earlier as well.
(Took me a few weeks to realise why that is :| )
10. It's impossible to find the following items:
Wooden dental sticks (only plastic; seriously?!)
Large bottles of Urtekram shampoo
11. Here they love to use words like 'Darling', 'Beautiful', 'Wonderful', 'Lovely', as opposed to the short Dutch vocabulary of positive affirmation 'Nice' and 'Good'.
12. London cycling isn't as bad as many think. The times I did have a near-near crash - meaning that if I hadn't watched out it would become a near-crash, still giving me a buffer to that crash- was an occasion the driver of the car wasn't looking out for any other person in traffic, either in a vehicle or on a bike.
13. Londoners dislike squirrels. I can't see why.
14. Opel is Vauxhall: the cars are exactly the same, but with a different brand name.
15. People here LOVE pilates, nail/hair/threading salons and fried chicken. There's even a kid on Youtube -the chicken connoisseur- who's somewhat famous for his videos of him rating chicken shops (and his sneakers)!
16. There are infinite ways you could name a chicken shop, making it sounds the same as "the colonel's", but not entirely. However, they are almost always The Best and halal.
17. London doesn't do working church clocks. In Amsterdam you have clocks everywhere to show you whether you're a bit late or massively late. Here you just have to trust you're late.
18. In the affluent neighbourhoods, they really like their shutter blinds. It makes their houses probably look very sophisticated and French.
19. The British, with their flowery language, seem to genuinely be very interested in you and always sooper positive about what you do and where you come from. It is very welcoming!
20. In Britain they drive on the wrong side of the road. Even at roundabouts!
21. They also make sure you know that many of the English words we have learnt in the Netherlands, are not British but Amurican, just like our accent...
22. London is a very untidy, unplanned city. Turning right on the main road, right and right again does not, I repeat DOES NOT, bring one back to the main road. Being adventurous here and taking the scenic route often results in getting lost and even more late than normal. Hence my bicycle not only being adorned with two loud bells, on either side of the handle bar, a thingie to put a light on, but also a frame for my phone to be used as navigation.
23. Living in Londen is not as expensive as we all think in the Netherlands; you just have to drink your coffee at home, take a packed lunch and grab your bicycle. Plus, museums and many other cultural things are free!
24. Although London is known for their Victorian sewerage (two blockages and one corroded pipe with subsequent leaks within two months in our little home), the plumber still thinks it's okay to flush the very corrosive, chemical unblocking liquid through it regularly, because "our drainage system is just better than the ones where you come from".
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We even heard a story of a friend's mum who saw on her daughter's Facebook page that we had moved into the house and so she said to her daughter even before ever meeting the darned cat: "Lewis has arrived safely in London :-) "
BONUS: When people ask me if I'm allright cycling very far/in the dark/in the rain and I respond with " I'm Dutch" and they instantly know I'm going to be okay....
So what does it mean that I start to love M&S with all my heart?