My name is Tina and I want to thank you for visiting my site! I’ve put this together to serve as a one-stop resource for new American expats who are settling in London (primarily) to help them get their bearings in their new home.
I moved to London in January 2008, and what was meant to be a nine-month stay has turned into three+ years, and I have no immediate plans to leave. I’ve lived in three different areas of London, had four different jobs and have done a fair bit of hopping around Europe in the past 2+ years. A Q&A is posted here for more info about me.
I think people are often surprised (I was) when they become truly immersed in the real local culture here and learn that it’s not all about Queen’s English accents and charming, old buildings:
- There is the inefficiency and lack of service from estate agents, British Telecom (BT), Sky (cable) and your average shop/store. Customer service is not a priority!
- There are the free health services that are clean, well-run and helpful, unlike anything we have back home, that are also sometimes less-than-clean, impolite or slow.
- There is the amazing Underground/public transit system rail services with fabulous views of England but the slightest bit of snow or “traffic signal failure” will grind it all to a halt!
- And let’s not touch the concept of education and how perhaps this country is given too much credit in this regard. More than a few of the people I’ve met here are less than…let’s just say “educated” is not one of the words I’d use to describe them.
Part of the excitement about moving abroad is exploring and discovering the details of your new home, but I also understand the desire to read up and know as much as possible beforehand. I’m hoping my experiences here will help inform your research and maybe give you a few tips on how to get something taken care of quickly, so you can go off and do better things!
I am always interested in hearing from readers: editor.lfw at gmail.com