14 Surprising Things About Living in the UK

I had certain expectations in me about what “life in England” must be like. Now that I live in the UK, I can tell you that some of those expectations have been fulfilled (the Brits really love tea) and some disappointed (but they’re actually not that polite, sorry-not-sorry). However, there are a few little things about living here that have taken me completely by surprise.

The Invasive Species Keeping Me Sane During Lockdown

I remember my first sighting: swooping over my head in Richmond Park, a flash of green. What the… parrot?

It’s wild but it turns out that it’s true: London has parrots, likely released pets that found one another (though rumors abound) and then conquered the city’s green spaces. Apparently the natural habitat of these “ring-necked parakeets” isn’t different enough from London’s parks to discourage proliferation.

Covent Garden Is Not a Garden

A friend and I once spent at least forty-five minutes looking for the famous “Covent Garden”, walking back and forth across Covent Garden market in search of… an actual garden. For the uninitiated, Covent Garden is a neighborhood around a covered market…

This area of London is pretty and not too crowded, studded with great cafes and bakeries and restaurants and shops… here are some favorites.

My Best of Northwest (London)

I’ve lived on a big hill in northwest London for the last two years, first in Belsize Park and then partway between Hampstead and Golders Green. It’s a lovely part of town, bustling but peaceful, and a bit hoity-toity (but fortunately the views of the London skyline, and Hampstead Heath’s tangled, leafy expanse are both free).

From ceilidhs to baba ganoush, here are my favorite things to do and see and taste in northwest London…

Laters, East London!

A very belated tribute to the neighbo(u)rhood(s) that launched me into London.