This month, a dear friend came to stay with us over Easter. I met Emma while studying abroad and we’ve kept in touch ever since. Emma is from the Highlands of Scotland (yes, you have permission to be impressed) and, actually, this is her second trip to visit me in the States. (Isn’t she a great friend!?) Each time I talk to Emma, I am more endeared to her than before. She is a beautiful woman, inside and out. Her love for the Lord is contagious and her company is incredibly sweet. So, in hono(u)r of her, I thought I’d share some of the new differences we discovered between British and American life.
Hold on to your bonnets. (I mean your hats, not the hood of your car.)
- In the UK pacifiers are called dummies, diapers are called nappies, and strollers are called prams. We discovered during this trip that practically everything baby-related is called by different names. It made our tag-team baby caring very adventurous.
- In the UK a shopping cart is a trolley and an American trolley is a tram.
- Housing costs are astronomically higher. We were beyond shocked to discover the great disparity between housing costs between the US and UK. A house that sells here for $120K would be over 1 million pounds. And a little flat in a city like Edinburgh would cost a couple hundred thousand pounds. For the price of a traditional American ‘starter’ home – about $80K – you can buy a dilapidated shack in the wilds of Scotland. Say what!? We figure it’s due to the fact that land resources aren’t as scarce in the States.
- Midwives still deliver babies in hospitals. Much to my delight, Emma is just as thrilled about birth videos as I am! She introduced me to this delightful show called One Born Every Minute that chronicles life in various Labour Wards around Britain. Happily, midwives are still a standard in British maternity care. You can find full episodes on YouTube. Warn your husbands and enjoy!
- ‘Geography’ is a legitimate degree program, and it isn’t as fluffy as it sounds! My friend Emma reads Geography at uni. (Translation: she’s studying Geography at college.) Actually, Geography is not only about maps! It’s a really neat mix of Social Studies, Geography, and Earth Science. Emma is getting her teaching certification and a will soon be instructing eager British schoolgirls the ins and outs of the subject. She’s awesome!
- Cooking mixes are distinctly American. Emma is very much a baker and she was so amazed (read: horrified) at the many different cooking mixes available in the States. She says you simply cannot find a cooking mix in the UK. They would pull together flour and other ingredients to make pancakes rather than buy a box of pancake mix. As much as I would love to live in Britain one day, this could be a major hang up.
- Cornbread has not made it to the UK (this is a problem). Need I say more? We made sure she went home with a few boxes of Jiffy!
- Neither have tacos (also a problem).
- Brits make great friends. Okay, this isn’t really a difference but it’s true. I love Emma so dearly and am honored that she would come visit us Stateside not once, but twice! Through iMessage, FaceTime, and Skype country borders and time zones are no trouble at all.