Things I’m still not used to

I keep almost getting hit by cars. I’ve got the whole looking right-then-left thing down, I really do. The problem is cars that are turning don’t 1) signal or 2) slow down. When a car does neither of those things, I just assume that it isn’t about to turn directly into my path. I am repeatedly proven wrong.

On a related note, there are no stop signs here. If there’s no traffic light? The intersection is a free for all. And nobody stops for pedestrians. Not even for heavily pregnant pedestrians who are already halfway across the damn street before the car even comes into view. Especially after living in San Francisco, where cars stop for other cars, pedestrians, pigeons – everything but bicycles, really – this comes as a bit of a shock.

(Maybe I need to stop being a pedestrian and learn to drive already.)

There’s no Thanksgiving here, and Halloween isn’t nearly as big as in the US. That means Christmas decorations started going up in October. EARLY October.

I saw a beautiful sunset today. At 4:15 pm.

I’m doing ok with metric conversions for volume and temperature. I don’t really care how many kilograms I weigh (answer: a lot), so that’s not an issue. But I’m terrible with 24 hour time. If I see that something is at 13:00, I read it as 3 pm. Until the last possible minute, when I have to frantically race to get to where I’m supposed to be.

We still don’t have curtains. Or a couch. Admittedly, the couch is supposed to arrive tonight. In about 20 minutes. But right now? No couch.

Clothes dryers are optional. But washing machines are super high tech, with dozens of programs and settings. I can wash clothes at 90 degrees. Celsius. That’s kind of like cooking my dirty laundry. Everything is so clean (and tasty)!

My route to and from work includes a 10 minute walk down the Royal Mile. Which I kind of love. I do have to squeeze past a lot of tourists. But sometimes they ask me for directions, which makes me feel like a knowledgable local, because they always want to know something like where the Royal Mile is and I can totally answer that. It’s also really pretty. And if I should ever need a tartan anything, I can just pick it up on my way home.


4 thoughts on “Things I’m still not used to

  1. Liz

    :) Oh, the finer points of the “optional” turn signals amongst British drivers. ;)
    You’re right, no stop signs, but the painted/faded lines on the actual asphalt tell drivers who has to stop/yield for drivers coming from another direction…assuming anyone pays attention…also roundabouts are supposed to be an “easier” (CHEAPER) alternative to traffic lights…and the only place pedestrians clearly have the right of way is on a “zebra crossing” though it goes without saying that obviously, no one should continue advancing/speed up when a pregnant woman is making her way from one side to the other. You’ll get used to it,
    After four years, I’m still a bit shaky on really getting the hang of Celsius, but I have a general idea. As for weight, I remember from my clinical days that 2.2 lbs = 1 kilo, but most Brits measure their own weight in the baffling measurement of stones. 1 stone = 14 lbs. Of course. I can mentally convert this, but I still think it’s ridiculous.
    As for the washing machines…let me know if you ever want to talk about this in more detail. ;) In a related story, we now have a pulley (yay!) in our new utility room (YAY!) which used to be our kitchen…and an even newer mini dehumidifier in there, also in a related story. ;)
    See you for Turkey Day Observed!!!

    1. lifebeginsatzero Post author

      I forgot about stone! So beautifully imprecise. And pulleys! I love my pulley. I thought my old SF apartment was cool for having an ironing board that came out of the wall, but that was nothing compared to the pulley. So I guess I like it when laundry is charming. Let’s definitely talk more about it. :)

      I’m looking forward to seeing your newly renovated place!

    2. Liz

      Heehee – well, it’s not quite finished, but all the work that we’re paying other people to do has been done. ;)

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