Six ponderings after two months in the United Kingdom

I’ve spent two wonderful months in the United Kingdom, visiting massive, lively cities from London to Manchester, smaller cities like Leeds and Bristol, and quaint villages and towns such as Avebury and Ambleside. As my fourth trip to this country, I’ve only learned more and more about British life. So in honor of my final week, here’s a few simple thoughts from my time in the UK.

The reduced section at grocery stores can be a gold mine. It’s almost a sin not to browse through the reduced section at Asda, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, or wherever you shop for groceries, especially at night. What a wonderful way to get rid of food that is expiring soon, instead of just throwing it all away – put it on sale and consumers can freeze it or eat it that night.

England’s football atmosphere knows no boundaries. I went to my first British football match in January, and as a sports fan, I couldn’t help but be fully enthralled by the atmosphere from beginning to end. As soon as I walked into Elland Road to support Leeds United, fans voices rang in loud and proud, “Marching on together… We love you Leeds, Leeds, Leeds!” The passion running through the stands from chant to cheer made for a lively experience all the way through. How can you not jump to your feet to celebrate a goal?

When it comes to scones, do you put cream or jam first? This is a topic I like to think people actually argue about, but they probably just politely say they’re right and you’re wrong. However, I do remember having my first afternoon tea and my British boyfriend patiently waiting to see if I put the cream or jam on my scone first. My personal preference? Cream then jam.

Yes, there’s another on-going debate: Does the tea come before or after the milk? I mean, obviously you pour the milk then the tea. So yes, that means you need to brew tea in a pot and then pour it over the milk. It naturally mixes the tea and milk perfectly together. But apparently some Brits think differently.

Pot of tea - British ponderings

Why did it take me so long to try tea cakes? Tea cakes are a lovely treat from the north. With a crumbly cocoa base and marshmallow on top, tea cakes are perfect for dunking in a cup of tea. I can’t believe it took my fourth trip to Britain to try them. But maybe that’s what I get for dating a guy from the south of England.

Hockey means field hockey, not ice hockey. In Britain, most people will think you mean field hockey if you just say “hockey”. For 10 minutes, I talked about ice hockey with a stranger until I finally realized that he thought I was talking about field hockey the whole time. It’s just like you need to call America’s soccer football and American football, well American football.

Have you traveled in the United Kingdom? What are some of your thoughts on life and culture there?

Six ponderings after spending two months in the United Kingdom

11 thoughts on “Six ponderings after two months in the United Kingdom

  1. Hahah I’m Canadian and the whole ‘ice’ hockey always cracks me up. I lived in Ireland for awhile and it was the same kind of conversations- too funny!
    ps: Cream then jam for the scones for sure. And now I want some- soooo good.

  2. As a Brit, I loved reading this! Definitely jam first, then cream – and definitely tea first and leave a centimetre gap at the top of the cup to top up with milk! Then you stir to mix! Great post – glad you shared your thoughts on this as I love reading about cultural differences!

  3. Haha! I lived in the UK for a couple of years and a lot of the things I found strange when I moved there I really miss now. Can’t beat the reduced section for a bargain, or a large amount of something you really don’t need but it’s only 17p so why not?!

  4. How fun to read. My British bf loves the reduced section especially for chocolates after the holidays. But there are other days when I question his sanity as he stuffs the freezer with reduced items.
    It’s always jam then cream otherwise I’m an even bigger mess with it all

  5. Its so good when we spend quite a good time at a country and can get immerse in the local culture and get to know more about local things.
    And about the tea..I never thought about putting the milk first, always the tea goes first for me haha

  6. I love this! I’m obsessed with the reduced section haha. Especially going to M&S at like 5pm and getting all the amazing deals when they extra reduce everything! Our freezer is full of yellow stickered stuff…

  7. Love reading what visitors say when they visit the UK – jam first then cream, tea first then milk….can’t do it any other way for me lol! Love that other countries change the names of sports that originate in the UK – always funny when football/soccer come up in conversations. I am a great fan of yellow stickers! I think most of the meat in my freezer has one!! I have lived in a lot of countries – love finding out what the quirks are to each – the UK has a lot! I remember making Yorkshire puddings when I lived in France – trying to explain they stay on the plate and you add gravy rather than treating them like bread was interesting!!

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