More things to love about England

I have identified a few more delights to compliment, rather than complain about, in my adopted home.

  • I love that the shopping malls are open to walk through even when the stores are closed. (Or at least the three near me are!)
  • I love that occasionally if you walk through one of these, one or more stores may be surprisingly and randomly open “for a sale” to some normal shopping hour like 9 pm, instead of closing at 5:30 like all the other shops.
  • I love the fact that to get to the gym, I walk past a “Fruiterer” (Less than three weeks since joining, and I’ve been to the gym 9 times–that’s a successful rate of actually going thrice a week!)
  • I love when people get confused because I can’t remember what “N.B.” stands for or means. I swear, they use it ALL the time here.
  • I love that the first year college students in England are called Freshers, not Freshmen
  • I love that one of my colleagues at work (who thinks I’m thick, he’s constantly defining British words for me as though I had just arrived last week) sent me an email to note that the printer preference for a document I sent him was set to “US Letter”, but “here in the UK we use the European standard A4”–as though I might have made it through the last two years without noticing that! My laptop stays American-ish, my work computer has a Brit keyboard (on which I can never find useful things like “#”) and a Brit printer. And who cares, just print the dang thing! Actually, the truth is I do have my home printer set on A4 paper now because I did run out of US paper, but actually the truth is I never print from MS Office, I do everything as pdf so the setting was an Office anomaly. (But if you need a good laugh, read this about A4…)
  • I love that one of my colleagues at work gave me a little American flag on a stick for my office, and that it’s the first American flag I’ve ever owned! I have a Norwegian one, but have never, ever owned a US one. I told the secretaries (“PA”s) on my floor that I was going to buy the best of Americana on iTunes and blast it down the hall when they suggested I needed to affix it to the back of my office chair.

I’m sure this will be a list that keeps getting added to, just as the “things that suck about my life as an expat” rants will continue. Although I think the rants are far fewer and the general sense of amusement greater these days.

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10 responses to “More things to love about England

  1. Officially, N.B. is supposed to stand for “nota bene,” and be used wherever you might add “Please note,” but I think you should keep checking with people to see if it stands for “naughty bits” or “n00bs beware” or any number of other outrageous things.

    Then you can go on spreading the canard that wherever they use “N.B.” in the UK, we use “B.T.W.” in the US. It’s an important caveat — which you can tell them we pronounce “ka-veet” in the States.

  2. Interesting question, though, we use “i.e.” and “e.g.” all the time in American English but we would not capitalize “N.B.” under that convention?

    I think I actually just use “Note: blah blah blah” when the English use “NB”

  3. Fruiterer is great, isn’t it? I wonder why we don’t have the word vegetablerer as well. Or would that be vegetablererer?

  4. Oh you rock, thanks for making me literally laugh out loud! I wondered at that word…

  5. Oh yes and # is most definitely not the pound key – £ is the pound key.

    Using a UK keyboard with US keymappings or vice versa is also an interesting experience.

  6. Ha, I haven’t adopted my Office settings to A4 yet either, though I’m always excited about getting a few extra lines in on the page.

  7. I’m not sure it matters–the combination of thinner but longer might cancel out… I’d have to see numbers!

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  9. All I know is that after I adjust the setting, my lectures print in fewer pages. I’d say that more text fits on the standard A4 set up.

  10. A4 is 297x210mm compared to 279x216mm for US letter. An A4 sheet of paper therefore has 3.5% greater area and 6.5% greater length than US letter paper. This won’t be the whole story – headers and footers and blank lines will make a difference.

    In an effort to save paper, one of my lecturers printed notes out two pages to one side (one of the advantages of the ISO system). As he was unable to work out how to get the photocopier to staple the pages in the right place, he asked his secretary, who called the manufacturer. The manufacturer had sent someone to try to fix the problem – and as a result the photocopier now no longer stapled anything :-(.

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