There are far more difficult places for an American to move than London. Of course, there’s no car, making errands more inconvenient at times, the time zone factor is far greater than when we were in the US, and there are new friends to meet. On the other hand, the language is the same (or at least close enough!), Reese’s peanut butter cups and maple syrup are available at almost every corner convenience store – granted at a price, but the world has become a MUCH smaller place since our international moves 20 years ago, and communication through avenues like email and FaceTime make the distance seem no greater than say our move to Boston or Charleston.
That’s not to say, however, that we haven’t had some humorous “culture shock” moments since our arrival! I thought it might be fun to share a few of these sights and experiences through a Culture Shock series, beginning with an introduction to British parking etiquette.
As you know, our favorite way to get to know a new town is by walking the streets. Not long after our arrival, I began noticing garage doors everywhere I went. Mostly because they demand your attention. No joke.
The postings began with a reasonable but direct notice:
…Though this does make me wonder what doctors in Boston do, as we certainly had a parking problem there, and yet I never saw such a sign on the streets of Newton or Cambridge…
Then, they progressed into larger fonts and a slightly more aggressive tone:
…These usually make me chuckle since they are mostly posted on garages in quiet side streets with no cars in sight and “constant,” I suppose, is up for interpretation as the garages are never in use when I’m passing by …
But really, nothing says “Welcome to the Neighborhood!” like this last message:
…Unfortunately, the greenery has grown since I first walked this street, but you may be able to see that the plaque on the right states this was once the home of Sir Henry Cole, the originator of the custom of sending Christmas cards…Merry Christmas and happy parking everyone. Just not here.