Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Some Small Gripes

I love living in the UK.  There is so much here that makes more sense than back home in America.  For instance, I work part time on a zero hour contract.  Now, in America I would be VERY unlikely to get any paid holiday time off or paid sick time off, but here I do.  That is amazing!  If you think this is stupid, next time you go to a restaurant consider that waiters do not get paid time off even for being sick, and as a result will work while ill, delivering food to you to consume.  Bon appetite!

Saying that, there are a few things that irk me here. These are mostly small issues that are really just annoyances.

1) The non-ubiquitousness of driers (or, as they are called here, tumble driers).  This may seem strange to those of you who have had a drier for their clothes most of their lives, but go without one and the small things will begin to annoy you.  I had a normal drier in my first apartment and it was great, but my second place had one with no ventilation system or lint trap.  Basically what would happen is the washer turns into a drier, but does not vent the hot, humid air, so it takes (I am not exaggerating here) 1.5-2 hours to dry 4-5 t shirts.

I do actually like to air dry my clothes now; it is cheaper, better for the environment and easier on your clothes, but it does have some draw backs: If you have to do laundry before going on vacation, you need 1 to 3 days to do it and have it air dry in time to pack; the giant clothes airers can become a permanent display piece in your home; God help you if you live with one or more people with long hair, since no drier means no lint trap to catch the buggers.  I have spent far too much time pulling long hairs off my clothes when folding them; you will notice, rather quickly, just how much lint the overage shirt has on it, as your belly button will begin to collect what the drier normally would.

Many people here do have driers, they are just not nearly as common as in America.

2) Being told you are miss-pronouncing or misspelling something.  Yes, Americans (for the most part) speak English, and yes it is named after England, but that does not mean that differences in spelling and dialect instantly equate to being wrong.  My favorite example is the word aluminun.  The inventor/discoverer of the metal was a Brit who both spelled and pronounced this metal the way Americans do now; however, the Royal Academy of Sciences (I think it was them) decided that metals should end in 'ium' and changed the spelling to aluminium, which naturally changed the pronunciation. American kept the original spelling.  Pronouncing 'lieutenant' as lew-ten-ent, instead of lef-ten-ent is also accurate and more consistent with the pronunciation up to at least the mid-seventeenth century, when people spelled phonetically (meaning they spelled words the way they sounded).  Their has never been, to my knowledge (and I have researched this), any spelling with either an 'F' or a 'PH' in it.

3) The lack of good, cheap, used books stores.  USed book stores back in the US sell used books at cheap prices, which is hard to find here.  There are only three used book stores in Stratford, and only one is any good.  Unless you want to buy a basic paperback novel, it can be hard to pay what I would consider a good, used book store price.  One book store in Stratford only takes £1-2 off the jacket price on many of their books.

I don't mean to rant, these are just small things I did not think about before moving here.  Anyway, I LOVE THE UK!!!!

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