(If you missed Part 1: 10 things that surprised me about the UK)
More surprising things have come to light, or rather, I’ve pondered while waiting for danged baby #2 to arrive:
11. Here a fox, there a fox, everywhere foxes! No raccoons, no rabies, few stray cats and dogs… but foxes everywhere.
12. Their tissues suck. Give me Puffs lotion aloe infused linty soft tissues any day over “balsam” tissues. The only tissue game this country has are the “man sized” Kleenex, which are oversized regular tissues that are not soft at all. Useful due to their size, but not if you have a 10 day cold.
13. English muffins are just Muffins. English cucumbers are just cucumbers. Englishmen are just men.
14. The most honorary way to address a doctor is “Miss Lastname” or “Mister Lastname”, NOT doctor. I learnt this by finally – after 6 months – asking the receptionist if “Miss Patel” was a doctor because she introduced herself that way but no one called her Dr. Patel. And Miss Patel is definitely married, again confusing me. He replied, “Oh very much so!” I thought maybe all of the hospital staff were all just being disrespectful, but it seems using Miss or Mister is the MOST BESTEST and HONORED way of referring to a doctor. It all related back to the days when barbers could be doctors or dentists too. It still just stuns me that this is the custom because U.S. Doctors would not be ok with this. Ever. After checking in with a few Brits, they too were confused by this… so maybe it’s just a Chelsea & Westminster thing.
UPDATE: A Brit (thanks Ed) has told me that specialists are often Miss or Mister, and general practitioners/surgeons are Doctor. Maybe because it takes more years of learning to be a specialist…?
15. People are generally nicer, at least compared to Boston. 99% of the time I get a seat on the train [as a pregnant lady]. Strangers help older people with suitcases on the stairs, or moms with strollers. The Indian dry cleaning lady gave me a piece of leather to fix my purse. The hardware store guy gave T the 12 screws he needed instead of making him buy a 200 pack. Strangers give Max cookies in the park [in a non-creepy way]; storekeepers give him candy just for being cute. Just nicer. Sure London is a huge city, but perhaps the British politeness kicks in, or the fact that 40% of the population is from outside the UK makes people more empathetic.
Enjoying his free candy for being cute.
And now, I shall return to baby-waiting.