Well, hi! Hello. In case you haven’t noticed (and, let’s be honest, you probably haven’t), posting has been a bit light around LT land, thanks to big changes for both the wino and myself. This doesn’t, however, mean that things have been light behind the scenes. Things have been ca-razy behind the scenes.
I won’t bore you with the details, but basically, we both moved at almost the same exact time, and it’s been a reeeaaaal process. Throw in the wino’s wedding planning and a lot of new side projects for the two of us, and, well, here we are! Or, I guess, here we are not.
But, don’t you worry, it’s not all hanging curtains and poofing pillows. There’s been plenty of time for me to absorb that fact that I live in London now, and things are decidedly different than when we lived in France. Three months ago. Three months! That’s all that’s passed since life in the countryside was our reality.
Obviously, three months does not an expert make. But even so, here’s what I’ve learned so far, with a little help from my new friends from Made in Chelsea.
LESSON #1: Your wifi will not work, and no, you most certainly cannot have a cell phone // I don’t know what the deal is, but we were warned well in advance that telecom in the UK is not so good. Friends who moved here and settled in before us told us tales of horror about missed appointments, cut phone lines, and weeks and weeks without access to the outside world. Naturally, I didn’t believe them.
HAHAHAHAHA. Idiot. It’s damn near impossible. It was easier to set up an international bank account than it was to get Vodafone to sell me a cellie, and I’m pretty sure my interactions with Sky Broadband peaked yesterday when I asked the equally frustrated operator, “Are you a fucking NUN?”
Clearly, that’s a long story for a different day (and a lot of wine), but know this: if you’re moving to London from the US, do not expect to be FaceTiming your besties for the first few weeks/months, let alone blogging about anything.
LESSON #2 : British customer service is… not. It’s just not. // After France, I just assumed that any customer service experience would be a delight. I was wrong. Vodafone and Sky aside, here’s what it’s like to buy an air mattress at John Lewis:
- Find the air mattresses, look at the three options, and choose the one you want.
- Pick up the box from the display, and take it to the till.
- Try to be patient as the extremely bubbly salesgirl giggles and tells you you can’t just take that air mattress, you have to pay here and then pick it up in customer collection on your way out.
- You find this weird, but ok, fine! Ring us up!
- She tells you, “We’re all out of stock.”
- You ask, “…can we just have the one we’re holding?”
- Blink blink.
This was indicative of a long line of weird retail experiences, involving missed delivery windows (hey, I get it, it’s hard to drive across London in SEVEN HOURS) and broken furniture, and we just realized… customer service in the UK isn’t the same as back home.
My very favorite was when we ordered a cabinet from Ikea. As the, once again, excessively chipper deliverymen were leaving, one said, “oh, yeah! Two pieces are missing, but we don’t know what they do… cheers!” And off they went. When the hubs called them back (because I’m not supposed to call anyone anymore), and said, uhhh, what?, they said, “Hey, mate! Don’t worry about it, the warehouse’ll get you sorted. We had a delivery today where 38 out of 40 items were missing, so two ain’t all that bad! … CHEERS.”
Because they always say cheers when they’re screwing you over here, and that’s lesson 2 1/2.
LESSON #3 : We have a lot of crap // You know, in hindsight, maybe all our weird shopping experiences are nature’s way of telling us we don’t need more things anyway? Because after the JL dramz, our stuff from home arrived. And holy crap, after 18 months of living without it, I really do not know how we ever lived with it. 27 boxes showed up, and I think about 10 were unpacked, packed right back up, and donated.
It was nice to realize that 18 months of a semi-nomadic life did teach us a few lessons, and one is that we don’t need so. much. stuff. Unfortunately, the fun of decorating a new space is mildly taking over, but, if I may say myself — and this is my post, so I will — I’m getting much, much better at being a thoughtful shopper and trying to only buy things that serve a purpose.
I say try, because I’m really obsessed with Graham & Green and I’m not sure the owl bookends I just bought are actually that useful.
LESSON #4: British humor slays me // I appreciate nothing more than a dry sense of humor, and British people are the DRIEST. It’s the very best, except, because their humor is so understated, so, too, are the responses. And I am pretty much anything but understated.
At parties, while the rest of the group lets out a little giggle when someone cracks a joke, I seriously sometimes have trouble regaining composure. Because once I’ve realized I’ve laughed too hard at a joke, well, then, I can’t stop laughing.
LESSON #5 : British people love to drink // I mean, no shit, but seriously. They love it. It’s raining? Ugh, let’s have a pint. It’s sunny! Let’s have a pint! Monday? PINTS. Friday? PIIIIIIIIINTS.
I don’t know if it’s because last call is so early at the pubs (most close by midnight, even on the weekends), or what, but they will take literally any excuse to have an afternoon pint… and then not stop until they can’t see straight. Our neighborhood is borderline insane by 9 PM on a Friday, and we’re mostly surrounded by families!
All of this is to say that obviously, we approve.
BONUS LESSON : London is the best // It is. It’s the very, very best. I mean, I’ve only been here for three months, but still! I’m smitten. I obviously had reached my cap on country living in la forêt, but before we knew where we were heading, I was concerned we might land in a city that wasn’t the best fit. I love that we have a social life that doesn’t exclusively revolve around château bonfires in the middle of a field, I love that we have a neighborhood coffee shop that knows our order, I love that the hubs’s daily commute involves a morning walk through Hyde Park, and I love that burgers are having a real moment here.
Yeah, no gif for this one, so instead, a question: Londoners — favorite burger spot? We’ve tried an embarrassing amount of places, but we’re clearly not done yet. So far, Honest, BOBO, and Burger & Lobster are in the lead, with BOOM as the surprising recent fave. Help a meat eater out, because I have a wino to impress in one month and counting.
And there we have it! Three months really isn’t all that long, so I’m sure there will be loads of lessons to regale you with in the very near future.
And until then, pip pip cheerio. Or whatever.