British Culture

For the past number of days, I’ve been listening to Spotify’s Canada Top 50 chart basically non-stop. And it made me think that if I’m the UK, I should really be listening to the UK Top 50 chart, to try and immerse myself in British culture. Turns out the UK Top 50 chart is strikingly similar to what the Canada Top 50 chart looked like two weeks ago. So I’m going to keep listening to the Canada Top 50 chart; try and keep myself up to date with the current tunes back home.

On that note, here are some differences between British and Canadian culture that I’ve noticed, most of which I didn’t even think would necessarily be difference from home:

  • Nobody uses laptops in class. Everyone has a little notebook that they take notes on.
  • There are two levels of postal stamps: 1st and 2nd class (presumably, the 1st class stamps arrive faster than 2nd class stamps, although there is some debate as to whether it is actually is faster).
  • People don’t use umbrellas. This one baffled me for a bit, until I realized that it’s often way too windy to even attempt using an umbrella. Rain coats it is.
  • People are also more tolerant of the rain. It takes a fairly steady downpour before people will put up their hoods (or if there’s no wind, open an umbrella)
  • Their reusable bags from grocery stores are still made of plastic, just a more heavy duty plastic.
  • Peanut butter is not a common bread spread 😦
  • On Sundays the main meal is served midday and the evening meal is very small.
  • Their drying racks (or as they like to call them, clothes horses) work vertically, rather than horizontally. They take up less floor space, but I’m not convinced they work better than the North American design.
  • Cashiers have a chair to sit down on while they work.
  • The 50pence coin is very common.
  • Taxes are included in the price displayed (this should be done everywhere).
  • They don’t have bread tags, they have these little yellow sticky strips.
  • Bus fare is determined by how far you’re going to ride (which, logically, makes a lot of sense).
  • After a red light, the yellow light flashes so that you know the light is about to turn green (some people will even start driving on the flashing yellow).
  • Sinks have separate hot and cold water taps (you can find out why here).
  • The showers are electric. There’s a unit on the wall with a start/stop button, a dial for pressure and a dial for temperature.

I’m sure I’ll come across thousands more, but those are the ones that stood out to me in my first couple of weeks.

(That’s a picture of London. No, not England. London, Ontario.)

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