Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Wee Spot of Praise for England

England's not too shabby. I know I've waxed on and on about how much I love New York City and Brooklyn - and I always will. But last time I was in NYC some of the bloom was off the rose. Granted it was hot, sticky crowded summer time and I was having to run all over Manhattan for meetings in the subway, in taxi's and on foot. However, I craved me a little London after a few days.

While there is a lot of about England that I just don't get (taxes for TV, council tax, customer service, just to name a few) there are quite a few things that I think are far superior to the US. Here's a sampling:

Credit/Debit cards:

They come with a chip in them: that's the gold square thing on the left. It makes life so easy - you just stick it in, punch in your code and you're on your way. Another thing they have here are portable credit card machines in restaurants :

They bring them to the table and run you card right there - you punch in your code and the receipt prints out, tips can be added easily, no need to sign anything, just plug it in and go. Your credit card never leaves your sight and it's all done in a matter of seconds (unless you're in a restaurant in Belsize Park that does not get great wireless service in your corner - then the waiter has to carry it closer to the front so it will work - but I digress...)

When I go back to the US I admit I grumble about having to fork over my credit card and watch it walk away with a waiter. Come on USA - get it together before I move back!

The great equalizer! Here is my Cate modeling on version of her uniform. When I was in school we had ONE uniform: plaid jumper (pinafore), white blouse with peter pan collar, green cross tie, white socks, black shoes. Not here - there is a summer uniform: blue and white checked dress (crazy cute), and winter: navy pinafores/skirts/trousers with blue or white shirts, no tie, blue or white socks/tights and black shoes. They have either pull over or cardigan school jerseys (sweaters) as well. It's fantastic - we don't argue about what to wear, I buy half the clothes I used to, there's no competition for outfits with other kids (although Leli Kelli shoes are the rage), and they just look so precious and darling all kitted out in their uniforms. I just love it.


High corn fructose does not exist. Massive amounts of sugar added: does not exist. Things are not as artificial here. When we first arrived we thought things were a little bland, but after a while our over stimulated taste buds acclimatized and we now can barely eat the things we loved back in the US. I loved Schweppes ginger-ale - but now it's far too sweet for me, just like Tostitos hint of lime chips, even cereals are cringe worthy.

The food is much healthier here and this I really like.

I could go on and on. But one of the best things of living in London is...well, it's LONDON! Come on! That's pretty fantastic!


  1. The chip and pin thing drives me nuts. My US credit cards don't have them so I always have to check that I can use them in the UK, but you're right - the credit card security over here is woeful. It always has been. I remember being able to use my husband's on quite a few occasions, signing my own name when his was on the card - and no one batted an eyelid.
    And I love the table-side credit card processing.

  2. Hello! I just discovered your blog. I'm from Chile and we have always worn uniforms to school here but no, I don't think they are equalizers. Kids just compete or bully each other about the brand of their shoes, notebooks, backpacks, etc. It's part of being a teenager I guess.

    You are right about portable credit card machines though. Even we at the end of the world have it so it's hard to understand why they aren't used in the US. Chip and pin credit cards are great and much more secure too.



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