First 48 hours and counting.... :)
London Travel Blog› entry 2 of 6 › view all entries
Sorry its taken so long for me to write my first journal entry since arriving in London. I arrived late June 3rd. After going through immigration I needed to make my way to the tube. I meet the nicest woman who gave me lots of advice and things to look out for. Im glad I met her first because immediatly after we parted ways I met some of the rudest people! I asked one person if he could help me figure out which route to take on the tube and he flat out goes, "I dont speak english" with a really mean face. I found his statement interesting because he spoke perfect english! Oh well. Next I ask a guy for help and he asked where I was going. I was looking at my paper to tell him the address and he got really snappy and basically yanked the paper out of my hand. He was extremely rude. Then to top things off I ask an older man if he could help me and he flat out ignores me!!!! I know he heard me because he looked at me out the side of his eye and then his friend looks at me and shakes his head. Although I encountered some extremely rude people I have also come across some of the nicest people Ive ever met!!!! :)
I had my first shift at a pub in West Kensington. It is a very well to do place where footballers and their wives hang out at. I had many locals tell me how millionaires live there so I kinda knew what to expect. I took the tube to work and as I am walking (for 30 minutes it seemed) I finally see the pub! I was extremely nervous and wanted to keep walking but decided to go in. My assistant manager noticed me right away! I told him sorry for being late and that Im still trying to figure my way around the tube. He was completely cool with it and goes its okay and how I havent even been here for 48 hours yet. Honestly, I have no idea if I was late because I dont have a watch! Anyways, he shows me the 'till' or the cash register. It was extremely difficult. The pub has beginners and mains which means appetizers and lunch/dinner. Basically, I put the tables order in but I have to keep an eye out on when they are nearly finished with their appetizers and then go back to the computer and tell them to prepare the mains. Kinda hard when the pub is slammed! After showing me the ropes, the assistant manager had me write todays special on the board. He asked me how my hand writting was and I paused for a second and go descent. Anyone who knows me well knows I have TERRIBLE hand writing! After telling him I had descent hand writing he goes you are goona regret saying that! (The british have very sarcastic and dry humor which I like by the way! Well, so far anyways. And they enjoy it when you take the 'piss' out of them as well!) After writing the special the actual manager tells me good job and ended up talking to me for atleast 30 minutes straight. We talked about the pub and she proceeded to say that Americans are much better at customer service than the Brits! I have a feeling the lady only hired me because Im an American but im not complaining, it was a compliment! Further along the conversation she talks about South Kensington and how the people are very very rich. She said that the people living in the flats basically make the rules of when the pubs close and what time people cant take their drinks outside and how this has caused much controversy because the pubs have been around for 300-400 years and these people choose to move next to a pub and now they are trying to change the rules!!! Oh, and she also stated to offer tap water and not just sparkling water (water in a bottle) because people tend to get embarrased to ask for tap water! I was thinking in my head, not me! Haha! After finishing my shift my assistant manager goes, "Sit your ass down and have a pint!" When I was in orientation, the lady tells the group that brits are notorious for going out afterwards and/ or to have a few pints after work and this proved to be true. He even asked if Id like another one but I turned it down because I was extremly tired and I could barely drink the first one but I could not drink my first pint in England!
A main observation I made during my shift was how the people dressed. All the men had blazers on, business suits, polos, or buttoned down shirts. I felt like I was watching a movie! The girls had sweaters on and skirts! I only saw one person the whole night with a t-shirt on but he had a blazer over it! Also, the british drink tons and it is truly a way of life. Its not odd to have a drink before lunch and nothing is thought of it. I also noticed that people usually order beer or wine! I dont know if I saw anyone with a 'mixer' the entire night. I also work with another BUNAC participant and he said that when Americans drink, they drink to get drunk as for the brits thats not the case. Its not that they dont get drunk but they drink very casual and its very much a social event that occurs daily! The entire night I did not see one person falling over drunk!
I had orientation at 10:30 am at the BUNAC facility which is the program I am going through. There were several participants there! The lady speaking to us was extremely nice and went over everything from taxes, working, accomodations, and british/english culture. At one point she talked about how brits never tip and if they do its 10% and never higher then says we might buy you a drink but not tip you! haha. After orientation I scheduled an appointment to open up a bank account. For some reason we couldnt just show up at the bank, we had to have a scheduled meeting time. Anyways, what was suppose to be a 30 minute walk was a 45 minute walk. I started to get frustrated because it was taking me forever to find the bank and the workers at BUNAC stressed to not be late to the appointment. As I dont have a watch or a cell phone that said the time I had no idea if I was running late. I felt like I wanted to break down trying to find the bank but I finally found it and a sense of accomplish came over me. Even though I asked several people to help guide me, I was/am completely on my own here. I dont have a friend or even a fellow BUNACER participant to share the stress with. Anyways, I opened up my bank account! It took about an hour and the lady helping me was very very nice!
After opening up my bank account I went to get a cell phone. That took forever as well! You have to do so much walking here, no wonder I dont see a lot of large people here! After walking for another 30-40 plus minutes I buy a cell phone! Bad news though, I didnt even have it for 1/2 a day and I lost my phone. I have no idea how I did! It could of been stolen but surprisingly I didnt get too upset because there was nothing I could do about it and I didnt spend too much on my phone. So the next day I truck around for another 45 minutes finding another place to buy another cell phone. I get to the first place and they say they cant help me because there SIM cards dont work and to go to another branch! Ugh, so I did and finally got another phone!
P.S. my blog is out of order and I am unble to copy and paste on this computer! Ill fix it later! There is also no spell check!
P.S.S. I am also experiencing horrible jet lag! I feel sick all the time and can barely eat! A guy told me that I will fill this way for up to 7 days. Ugh! I hope it goes away! I feel terrible!!!!
(pictures to be posted at a later date).