Across the pond
Published: Friday, April 27, 2012
Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012 10:04
People routinely pack up their lives and move to a foreign country. Sometimes it’s for pleasure, sometimes for business. But when the get there, often there’s an adjustment period.
The money is different, the food is different, the way people communicate is different -- and most of all, the customs are different.
“I moved here about 2 years ago from Chicago,” said Katie Lennard. “It is still strange walking into the grocery store and seeing rabbits hanging from the ceilings, pig legs that you shave ham off of, and chicken with the feet and heads still on.”
Lennard moved to London just because she felt like it. She is what is called an ex-patriot or ex-pat for short. She said she was “bored with her life and wanted to do something spontaneous.” Lennard moved in with a friend in a flat in St. John’s Wood in London and hasn’t regretted it.
She likes to go on monthly trips to Paris to go shopping because the fashion is unlike anywhere else and the train ride is a mere two hours. The Eurostar is an over-ground train that travels from London, through the tunnel under water to Paris. Locals call it the “Chunnel.” A ticket for the Eurostar isn’t all that pricey, only about £200, so it’s reasonable to travel back and forth.
But for some, living in a foreign land can be tough. On occasion, some people end up moving back to where they came from because they have such a difficult time adjusting. Brothers Mark and Conrad Tulah have lived in London all their lives and about three years ago one of their mates, Georg, moved there from Germany.
“He had such a difficult time adjusting to our customs,” said Conrad. “He tried, he really did.”
In the end, Georg ended up moving back to Berlin. He just couldn’t handle the English lifestyle and getting used to London transportation, his friends said.
“Georg found it unusually hard to communicate on a daily basis using English, even though he was fluent,” Mark said smirking. “I guess the tube system was too complicated for him.”
This reporter’s mother is another example. She moved to London about a year ago to live with her husband, John Grobstein. She had no friends there and no job, but she is making the best of what she can.
“I have been able to travel to places that I would never had the opportunity to before. I am enjoying it even though being away from my family is hard,” she said. “John, took me to Scotland just because we could. It’s so nice to be able to hop on a train for three hours and be in such new and unique place.”
Living in London gives a person access to take a train virtually anywhere. A ticket can be bought for only £150, which roughly converts to about $200, that allows you to travel anywhere on any train line in Europe. The ticket is also good for a month or two; depending on which company it is purchased through.
“I bought the train ticket with three of my mates, we went to Madrid, Barcelona, Naples and a couple other places,” said Sarah Marche, fondly remembering the trip.
She has been living in London since she was a little girl.
“We climbed Mt. Vesuvius in Pompeii. It was quite good fun.”
Although London is a foreign city, it is not much different than living in New York City. They’re both loud, fast-paced, and everyone has their own agenda.
You can walk down the street and hear almost every single language. The city is so vast and eclectic; you will see any and every walk of life traveling down the street. You never know who or what you’ll run into.
“I travel a lot back and forth between New York City and here for business,” John said. “NYC is brilliant, but overall I enjoy London better.”