Things That Surprised Me About the U.K.

Things That Surprised Me About the U.K.

I have been meaning to write this, but I have observed a few things while living in the U.K.. some good and some..strange?😂

1. There are SO many KFCs and barely any Taco Bells😂

I find it amazing what fast food chains have taken off in the UK. The US has so many popular fast food chains (Arby’s, Taco Bell, Dairy Queen), but somehow KFC has spread like wildfire in the U.K.! 😂. It is everywhere! I was quite surprised by that because it’s not as popular of a place in the US! As far as Taco Bell’s go, you they’re quite rare in London, and quite popular in northern England! It really sucks when you get an intense Taco Bell craving and there are none in your area ….😅. Their menu is also quite smaller and no cinnamon twists!😭

2. Ranch dressing does not exist here

Yep, I said it. A land where you can’t find any ranch dressing. You also see a lot of people eating salads without ANY dressing 😂. To satisfy my salad dressing needs, I am able to use Caesar dressing! I have introduced my boyfriend, Chris, to ranch and now he’s obsessed! We love to dip broccoli and carrots in it, even chicken nuggets! If you’re moving to the U.K., buy ranch packets, you can make your own.

3. Day drinking is not a popular thing

Americans love a warm summer day surrounded by family and friends drinking a cold beer in the afternoon and then continuing to drink in moderation all day 😂! If you ask a Brit if they want to have a pint of beer or some wine in the early afternoon, they might look a bit puzzled! Like you might be an alcoholic? They love to drink, but they tend to wait until the evenings to hit up the pub or have a good house party. 🍻 Don’t get me wrong, not every Brit is this way, but this is what I have observed since I have moved here! 😂 I remember when I lived in the US, I went to a winery with my mom in the summer and had wine slushies in the afternoon and I texted my British boyfriend what I was doing and it was like I had committed some sort of sin 😂

This awesome strawberry daiquiri in Miami

4. Unreliable trains

I was amazing at how many people in the U.K. don’t drive! In London a lot of people rely on the tube or walk everywhere and don’t have cars-I don’t blame them because the traffic looks horrendous in some parts! Even outside of London though in more rural areas where I thought more people would drive-they rely on their trains and bus services. The trains are good for the most part- not the cheapest, but they do get you around! I take the train to and from work every day, but some days your train will have signal failures so it is either extremely slow or just terminates there and you’re screwed. You must find a new way to your destination. There was a time I took a train to view a house and I thought I would take an earlier train so I could look around the town-my train had massive signal failures and I almost arrive to my viewing late… An hour delay I want to say? It’s nuts! At the moment, my train is hourly instead of 3-4 times an hour due to Covid-19! I’m so ready to drive 😅.

5. So many vacation days!

When I started my nursing job in the U.K., I started out with five weeks of vacation days! I was so surprised by that! They encourage you to take time off-it’s so great! I felt like I was pulling teeth just to get some time off in the US! Plus it’s so cheap to fly anywhere in Europe-you can take just a couple of days off and fly anywhere ! (Ryanair is a cheap airline that many people use-I recommend!).

Recent trip to Germany

Our Long Distance Adventure

Our Long Distance Adventure

For two years, we wanted nothing more than to have casual nights of watching tv together -not stressing about the day one of us has to fly home. We wanted to be like a “normal couple”.

In the beginning of a long distance relationship, people don’t always take you seriously, especially if one lives across the pond. People just kind of give you a fake laugh, like “good luck with that!”, after you tell them your story- I hated that. Then, they proceed to tell you how they couldn’t do long distance or they tell you all sorts of statistics. Over the years, I learned how to just smile and nod. I learned that everyone has an opinion, and long distance isn’t for everyone.

How Did We Meet?

Well, I am from St. Louis, Missouri and my boyfriend, Chris, is from London. We met in 2017 on an online dating site. I had just graduated from nursing school and wanted to become a nurse in the U.K. I didn’t realize how long it would take to get my nursing license in the U.K.. I thought maybe a few months. I thought it would be fun to create an account on a dating site and set my location for London, just see what was out there (stupid of me, I know haha). I didn’t expect to start a relationship of any sort. Guys did message me, but I wasn’t interested. And then it happened…. haha, Chris messaged me. I really loved his profile. I told him I wasn’t in London yet, but that I would be in a few months (I was just guessing). We decided to message on Whatsapp because we really enjoyed talking to each other.

We constantly messaged on Whatsapp for weeks, and then we decided to Skype a few weeks later. Right before we Skyped, I was a bundle of nerves- I was so nervous and so excited at the same time. I thought I was nuts for doing this, there is no way we could ever make something like this work! He’s 4,000 miles away from me. We finally Skyped…I had never laughed so hard before- the hours flew by. We had the best conversations! We could have talked hours and hours. I was so happy. Despite how happy I was, I kept it all quiet from my family, because I didn’t think they would take me seriously. Around three months later, he flew to St.Louis for a WEEKEND to see me! I didn’t tell anyone because I wanted to get to know him. It was so hard to say goodbye. We didn’t even know when we would see each other next.

Not long after we met up in St. Louis, I registered with a nursing agency and they said I needed a year of experience before I could be a nurse in the U.K.. I was so devastated. I didn’t think Chris would want to do long distance, because it would probably take more than a year. We decided to make it work and that we would need to see each other throughout this long distance period.

We did distance for two years and we got quite used to it actually. We made little holidays out of it! We went to Toronto, Miami, Boston, Cardiff, he stayed with my family and I stayed with him in London- even met his Family in Wales. For every trip, we would make a fancy spreadsheet with all the things we would do on each holiday- it was really fun!

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Our first trip together was in Toronto, which was 5 months after we first met in St. Louis. That was our longest wait. I had just started my first nursing job and couldn’t use annual leave for a bit. Looking back, going to Toronto together for a few days and not really knowing each other all that well was a RISKY thing. What if we decided we actually hated each other after the first day together?? Luckily, we realized how much we loved each other. As each day passed, I would get a little depressed- I didn’t want us to say goodbye. I didn’t realize how hard saying goodbye would be in a long distance relationship!

Every 6-7 weeks was how often we met up! And I know what you’re thinking- how the heck could you afford that?? It wasn’t easy. Luckily, I lived at home so I didn’t pay rent. We often found flight deals and were pretty thrifty. We learned how to plan trips really well. I think we would make a good travel agency haha.

Whatsapp and Skype were blessings during our long distance. We would watch The Apprentice over Skype, or a random Netflix movie. He was six hours ahead of me, so we had to make sure we made time for each other every day. We had to learn to be really good communicators. If something was bothering one of us, we had to talk about it, not get angry and hang up. Also, days after getting back from one of our holidays, I would often be sad at home, I had to learn to stay busy and just remember we would see each other again soon. I found that it was easier to say goodbye when we knew the exact date we would see each other again.

After Long Distance

I finally moved to the U.K. in February 2019. I lived in Cambridge and worked at the hospital there, while he was living/working in London. Luckily, we saw each other all the time! Just an our train ride to get to London and a 30 minute tube journey. We lived apart for seven months, and then we officially closed the distance in September. We have a house halfway between London and Cambridge. It is the BEST. It was SO worth the long distance. All the planning we did, those tears shed at the airport, and weeks apart, it was finally over.undefined

To those of you who are in an LDR, don’t listen to the negativity. If you really want it to work- you can make it work. It is so worth, believe me. Comment or send me stories of your long distance relationship stories- I would love to hear them. I am rooting for you!