London Lantern

Putting the Spotlight on London

Newly Arrived American Resident In London

20/06/2003, By Phyllis Gross

Reader Rating: 3 from 793 votes


I arrived after flying all night from the United States to a lovely sunny United Kingdom. It was a pleasure to have brought the sun with me to this usually dull sky (or so I've been told). I was amazed, for the second time with the traffic and how the motorcycles and bicycles fly by the cars and lorries sitting in traffic jams.

I ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle back in the States (I bought it in a western state where the riding is much more scenic than the downtown streets of London). Although I have no fear of riding it in the states, from what I have observed here with the traffic, I am reconsidering shipping it over. I may just decide to keep it at my friend's home in the states and ride it on the occasions that I travel back home. I am still thinking about it.

I have adjusted as well as can be expected, being an American woman who likes things the way she likes them. Do you understand that? Anyway, many adjustments have been made on my part from previously living in houses (big houses in the states, not these apartment-like houses in London) and now settling on a flat in central London!). You can just imagine the shock of the landlady as she commented on the many items I shipped over with me.

We Americans are yet to learn the skill of maximizing the space saver items the Londoners have come up with. For example, I laughed at the super small fridge in my flat and the small kitchenette and most of all the microwave, oven, grill unit! What an item to email family and friends home about! Ha! I must admit I have come to appreciate it, although I have yet to bake a cake in it.

Big Bus Tour

I spent the loneliest birthday over here. It was hard not having a cake on your birthday for the first time in many years! Due to my error in giving the complete phone number to family and friends in the states (not knowing that they must drop the first zero in my number) this caused the phone line to stay quiet that day.

By the way, finally, a few days later, a friend got through (after calling the operator and being informed that she had to drop the first zero in my number) and scolded me for not knowing this. There are so many small details about living here that I am learning or have yet to learn. As a fellow American who has lived here for 2 years told me, "You'll find that things that should not be that hard are hard over here." I agree, it should not be that hard to do laundry, find a good nail shop, dry cleaner, flush the toilets, etc.

Horses in Hyde Park

Oh~ do not let me ramble on about the adventures in the grocery store. I will just say that I really felt like a spoiled American while searching for items in the store, I settled on a few Canadian products. I still have not found a few items that I am in need of. I also had a funny time trying to locate the laundry soap. I stood there reading each bottle only finding the conditions and then after some time I turned around and saw that the soaps were in the shelves on the other side. I felt very alone and uniformed!

Now, let me say some encouraging comments about the exciting aspect of being an American in the UK. I love the many languages that I hear from people on the street, in the malls, on the buses and tubes. I appreciate all the various dialects, although some are not as hard to understand than others. I love the diversity of people. I love all the various restaurants and especially the awesome Indian food here. I love the conveniences of the minicabs and the Black cabs. I love the friendliness of the shop owners, the police, the security persons and the cab driver.

Robot

I love the old buildings and the great architecture of so many buildings in London proper. I enjoyed the knowledge gained from taking the Big Bus Tour. London is definitely a great place to come on Holiday! I feel safe here.

I have heard many young people in London say 'Hiyah' as a greeting, in the USA we say Hi or Hello, Hello there or How ya doing. I have also learned to say "NO worries Mate"! As an American now residing in London for two months - I am learning there are many English words used here that we do not use in the states. And also there are many words we speak in the USA that are not used here. One word that I like to use and hear a lot is "Lovely", it seems as though everyone and everything is "Lovely". Well it was a lovely day here in London this Spring Bank Holiday Monday - while my American family and friends in the USA observed Memorial Day today.

I rode a tube and then a bus down to Hyde Park, purchased a hotdog (which the salesman put on a hamburger bun, since he ran out of hotdog buns) and a soda, then sat in the park for an hour. I was entertained by all the rollerbladers (too many of them were falling down) and the two horses and the few motorcycles riding by. It was a sunny day in the park. It was lovely.

Hyde Park is a great place to visit (for all you Americans who want to tour London), as well as for the locals who have yet to make your way there. I got a bit confused on the buses today. And one of the bus drivers really liked to slam on his brakes! UGH! There was an older gentleman playing the bagpipes and a man dressed like a robot dancing to music downtown. It was great watching the people's reactions to those two different talents. Well, another different Holiday spent overseas! London is interesting and entertaining to say the least!

I am so delighted to have run across the path of a milkman (an actual Milkman) like my grandparents had in the USA many, many years back!!! He delivers to only one client in my block of flats (apt. bldg. to all you Americans!) And he gave me the menu to order from when I inquired of the prices.

First Order

I just called to place my initial order this morning. It will be delivered on Thursday morning, which works out perfectly, since I will be home that morning (being my day off). I can hardly wait for my first milkman delivery of two 1 pint jars of semi-skimmed organic milk, 1 litre of orange fruit juice, 1 Mendip Hills Mature Cheddar Cheese package (250G) and 1 British frozen chicken (whole).

This is so exciting for me as a citified American! It feels like I have stepped back in time! I can hardly wait to call my two grandmothers in the USA ands tell them. They will surely get a kick out of this! I hope the contents are fresh and tasty. The funny thing is - outside the front door of my flat there is a milk door - which is currently holding paint for the flat. I suppose my landlady stored it there. But I will be home to answer the door to Phil the Milkman!!! Ha! What relocation thrills I am getting in Good ole' London England!!! I shall keep you all posted Mates!

Phyllis Gross

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By eunitoons@aol.com 28/06/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 558 votes)

I hope your readers enjoyed Phyllis’s story as much as I did. She is my very dear and special friend and I miss her terribly. By reading her story (and hope to read more) I am living vicariously thru her words. I have never been to London and look forward to visiting soon. I enjoyed her statement about "going back in time". Our personal emails are more gossipy so thru her articles I am learning more about London and hope to be there soon. Hopefully, she will continue with her stories. Euni Michelson, Farmington Hills, Michigan, USA

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Ellen McKeel 01/07/2003, (Rating: 2.8 from 597 votes)

What a great story. Having recently visited London, I can understand how she would feel. We were there for one week and I couldn't believe what sights and sounds you are missing out on, if you never have experienced it. It's a once in a lifetime adventure and I would go again. Everyone was friendly, helpful. Especially, if you had lost your direction. There is so much to do there and I could have stayed longer, for sure. We had a great time and I never realized how spoiled we Americans are. I am glad to be home, though. Different cultures and different people make the world go round!!

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Sade Sharon 01/07/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 613 votes)

I must say I enjoyed that article, and I just want her to still watch out for more fun in the United Kingdom. It's nice to experience lots of different things and I believe as time goes on, she would be able to adapt quickly to the English Country. Have a nice time and enjoy yourself.

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Joy 01/07/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 555 votes)

One thing is for sure, all countries are different in every aspect of life i.e. Language, Religion, etc, but not to worry as you will soon begin to adapt to the environment. I hope you have a nice stay and take care.

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Martynn Rafferty 02/07/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 543 votes)

Phyllis, your article brought back so many wonderful memories of my year in England. I became so homesick after a while that I moved back to California, but did bring my Jamaican (had resided in the UK) husband with me! I look forward to reading more about your adventures.

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By James Brown 01/07/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 565 votes)

Phyllis, I really enjoyed your article... and had a chuckle or two as I read it. I have been lucky enough to visit London on 3 occasions... and hopefully #4 will be this September. I've found myself dreaming of living there. It's fun to read of someone who has actually done it.

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Judy Sweet 01/07/2003, (Rating: 3 from 594 votes)

What a great article. The question I have is, "what job are you working at in London and how did you get so lucky to have one?" Lucky you. I'd give my eyeteeth to work there for a while.

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By J. Dukes 01/07/2003, (Rating: 3 from 589 votes)

What a great article, I can relate to some of the feelings you are expressing. I visited London, and some of the surrounding towns about 2 years ago, and the memories are still like yesterday, I hope you continue to enjoy your stay, be it long or short, and you sound like an American true and true.

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Phyllis Gross 03/07/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 602 votes)

Hi Judy, to answer your question, I am a children's minister. My church sent me here to start the children's church in the church we opened in London.

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Tanya 01/07/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 550 votes)

Great article! From an American's point of view, it certainly is an eye opener to realize that things will indeed be incredibly different in many ways in another country. London is such a beautiful place, though, and there's something to be said for assimilating oneself to the surroundings and new environment and really taking in that culture. I imagine it must be a culture shock of sorts at first, but it's one I would really welcome. What a wonderful adventure!

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Chris Gross, USA 02/07/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 568 votes)

I think this is a neat story, well written, and easy to read. Glad she is making a smooth transition to a new Country. Send more!

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Augusta Eller 02/07/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 554 votes)

You are so fortunate to have the opportunity to live in London. I travel there whenever I can but could never afford to live there. I am also impressed to hear of a woman owning and riding a Harley. I wouldn't do it here in Detroit, but congratulations on your s***k. Enjoy your stay in London. You'll remember it for the rest of your life.

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By David 04/07/2003, (Rating: 2.8 from 558 votes)

Hi Phylis,
I thought,in reading your article,that I might say that to prepare for your trip to London you should have done some time in NYC. But then I saw your friend is in MI so now I know!! Two of my three children and their families live in MI. Enjoy yourself and be very careful so that when you get home you are not accused of having an English accent!!

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Repeated Posting 04/07/2003, (Rating: 3 from 605 votes)

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Marilyn 05/07/2003, (Rating: 2.8 from 581 votes)

I am a Londoner living in the U.S. for 26 years. Firstly, I would like to point out that it is Australians who say "no worries Mate" not the English people. Secondly, I find the supermarkets in London far superior to the ones here in my town. The sheer variety of fruit and vegetables are superb, and the choice of European and Asian foods are excellent. Try Marks and Spencer for food, I would love to have one nearby.

You a "citified" American make it sound like you are living in the backwoods of beyond just because you found a milkman! Hello, London is a CITY, pick up the clue phone!

I also took exception to you telling the locals that Hyde Park is a great place to visit if they haven't made their way there yet. What a cheek! How many locals do you suppose haven't visited Hyde Park? That is like telling New Yorkers to take a look at Central Park! What are London locals going to say? "Oh my goodness Phyllis, thanks for telling me about Hyde Park, I must have missed it all these years that I have been living here". I think that takes the biscuit for cheek.

Nevertheless, enjoy your stay and hopefully your next article won't be so annoying in parts.

P.S. Minicabs aren't that great.

<b>Editor: Sadly she has slightly got the wrong end of the stick; most subscribers to the Lantern are from North America, and Phyllis was not being patronising in telling our readers about Hyde Park – even Londoners don’t always know enough about it! Everyone has been immensely impressed by her chatty and informative view of London. I would agree with Marilyn’s warning about the use of mini-cabs though, see our article on Virtual London.</b>

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Marilyn 05/07/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 595 votes)

Re editor’s note: If I slightly have the wrong end of the stick so has Phyllis, because she does blatantly tell the locals about Hyde Park, if they haven't made their way there yet. How can you sit there and say that Londoners don't always know enough about it. It isn't the British Museum, it's a park, how much do they need to know about it? Also apparently it's OK to give the impression that London is still in the dark ages, as long as it is just North Americans that read about. At least some of the immensely impressed people who respond to her article are friends and family! One says she is a friend and one has Gross as her surname.

P.S. I forgot to mention in my first response that eating hotdogs from a vender in London is not the best thing to do. The vendors are mainly asylum seekers, and they do not have hygiene as their top priority. One of their main objectives is to dodge the police.

<b>Editor: What a shame, a further belittling response to a charming piece. Plenty of people in London don’t even notice what is on their front doorsteps. We were delighted by what Phyllis wrote, considering that she has only been in London for a short time, and hope that you will not put her off writing further for the Lantern. However, your warning about street vendors is a very valid one, and I would recommend that nobody <U>ever</U> buys anything cooked from any of them.</b>

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Eileen (Marilyn's Cousin) 05/07/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 605 votes)

Good for you Marilyn, Fully agree with eating hotdogs would not consider buying them from asylum seekers, Lyons Corner House was a lovely place to eat, going back in time. Marks & Spencer has good quality clothing, and the food such as a fresh chicken is delicious as opposed to horrible frozen ones.

Hyde Park is good to visit, and going back in time when I was a little girl, Peter Pan's monument was and now is much to be admired. It's good to know we Londoners have Milkmen's Delivery at the door, and the older people that cannot go the Supermarkets, are in awe for their daily pinta. We welcome Americans to come to London to sightsee even though the good old Capital is Cosmopolitan.

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Marilyn 08/07/2003, (Rating: 2.8 from 546 votes)

The further belittling response was to your "editor" note about the wrong end of the stick. If you hadn't stuck in your belittling response I wouldn't have replied. How many real Londoners do you know? You know that they don't know what's on their doorsteps, but how many do you know? They are few & far between, so I would hazzard a guess that you don't know many. The true Londoner born & bred & going back generations, will know what is on their doorstep, & you can take that to bank.

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Phyllis Gross 05/07/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 581 votes)

Marilyn, I never meant to offend or iritate. Please forgive me. Also, thank you for your mention of Marks & Spencer for shopping. And the education of the hot dog stand vendors.

<b>Editor: Personally I feel that she should be apologising to you, just view all the positive comments that you have received and reflect on those.</b>

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Carolyn 07/07/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 554 votes)

Phyllis, I never took your comments as offensive. I rather side with our Editor's comments. I'm sorry Marilyn that you did. I can understand though. However, being married to an Englishman and a Londoner, I can tell you not every Londoner "knows" Hyde Park and I think Phyllis was just making charming conversation. I'm from San Diego and I can tell you, tourists know more about our attractions than most of us do. The milkman comment was not to insinuate that London was a backward farm town, quite the opposite. I find it charming to go back to my childhood and am amazed that such services ARE available in a thriving metropolis. I would have appreciated your comments to a new visitor far more had they been delivered in a gracious and kind manner. As they were, they sounded like sharp barbs... not very inviting to a newcomer to the Lantern and London. Something I have found far too prevalent in this wonderful city.

<b>Editor: I would just point out that Marilyn lives in America, not London; hopefully others, as Phyllis has found out, are rather more welcoming here.</b>

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Marilyn 08/07/2003, (Rating: 2.8 from 588 votes)

If you are from San Diego, you are not a Londoner, therefore the statement that "tourists know more that most of us do" does not apply. Re the milkman comment: it was not the milkman that got to me but the word "citified" which implies that the writer felt that she was too citified for her surroundings. I wanted to point out that she was residing in one the major cities of the world.

Re editor: you can point out all you like facts about me but you know nothing. I have just spent three years in London looking after my Mother. I was so welcoming to an American 29 years ago that I married him. My 2 children are American. I just love London & do not like it being put down or misrepresented in any way.

<b>Editor: Can we please end this absolutely pointless discussion, and just enjoy what Phyllis has to say, a fresh view on London and her experiences as somebody that has recently arrived here? Any further postings from Marilyn will be removed. Also you owe Carolyn an apology for your crass remarks about her, she may well have lived in London for longer than you have.</b>.

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Carolyn 08/07/2003, (Rating: 3 from 544 votes)

Just to the editor.... cause I hope you do delete these unfriendly replies.... thank you for raising the flag on them. I found her article a delight. Misunderstandings could have been read. But a lighter comment about them would have been better. I found the article delightful... and took it in the spirit it was meant. I apologise for adding to the issue. Even my comments were read incorrectly. I am only writing this to tell you, the editor, thank you for keeping the article in the spirit it was meant... I love your publication and this article was a true delight!

<b>Editor: Please don't apologise, as you and Phyllis have added enormously to our lives this month, sadly others do not see it that way, and treat it all far too seriously.</b>

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Caren 10/07/2003, (Rating: 2.8 from 570 votes)

Phyllis is my daughter and doesn't have a mean bone in her very delicate body. She is one of the sweetest young ladies I know and never would hurt anyone's feelings at all. She loves God and all of His creations. Thank you for this opportunity to tell all that read this, I love her. I also can't wait for her to come home!

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Sonia 10/07/2003, (Rating: 2.8 from 580 votes)

I'm planning a visit to London next May. Thank you for the insight. Loved the article!

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Re: Newly Arrived American Resident In London

By Linda 23/07/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 551 votes)

Wonderful article! I have never been to London and greatly appreciate the informative and delightful narrative about your experiences thus far. I look forward to having the opportunity to experience it for myself some day. :-) Great pictures, too! Continue to keep us posted as you explore the city.

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