The best/worst article gives me, having been quite the lazy blog-writer lately, a springboard for putting in my two cents on the things she discusses!
"Just because people speak English, do not be deceived. It is an utterly alien place from America culturally"
"One of the biggest realities is the drop in the material standard of living. British wages are not as high as in the US and things are more expensive."Mostly true. In my job search the biggest shock was seeing the salaries. They are seriously low. (My first thought was "How on earth can these people afford to make the pub their second home? How?!?") I wrote off some job postings at first, sure that the low salaries they were offering meant I was overqualified given my earlier salaries. Nope. You just have to take a pay cut if you want to live here. The pay cut is not matched by a comparable reduction in the cost of living. Compared to Germany, where we also spent some time on just one full-time salary, doing so feels more difficult here. I haven't entirely pieced together if those are just cost of living differences or if there's been a change in our behavior and expectations since moving, but in any case it's a little less comfortable now, even though D had a slight pay raise in the new position here. However, I'm not sure about the truth of the statement that things are more expensive than in the US, since it's been so long since I lived there. I do know that there is no way in hell we could have survived for two seconds on just one salary in Boston, though...and we've made it a few months here on just one. I guess it depends a lot on where in the US/UK you're living. I don't think we'd be doing so hot in London.
"Houses are very expensive and you will live in a house half the size you'd expect in the US, often attached to your neighbour and with a one car garage (if you are lucky). There are no basements, so you feel cramped and everything is cluttered -- I've never seen a walk-in closet to date. You will cram everything into a 'wardrobe' the size of your coat closet."True. Houses are expensive. Whether they're more expensive than the US depends on where you're coming from. Our neighborhood here is pretty comparable to or cheaper than our Boston neighborhood (which was on the very low end for Boston). Compared to rural Iowa the prices here are terrifying. The houses are indeed small and utterly lack good storage space, and this is something that you just start to deal with. You have fewer things. You don't feel as much pressure to have so many things. It doesn't bother me so much when I'm here, but I do feel a bit wistful about it when I go to Iowa and see that my dad's house has three full-sized fridges and a chest freezer and he could have even more if he wanted - there's plenty of space. I'll never be able to throw parties as awesome as his in my little British house! But there's less to clean, the houses are adorable, and maybe it's better to have less material crap in your life. Plus, not everyone in the US has a giant house. It really depends on where you end up living/working, and we weren't going to have a lot of say in that anyway, revolving around the difficult academic world as we do.
I've seen houses with basements here, so it's possible to end up with one. You do often share a wall with at least one neighbor. I guess I don't mind high density like that. It actually makes me feel at ease, safer, to know that there are plenty of people nearby. I do wish my neighbor's smoke would drift in a bit less often, though.
"You will eat sandwiches in your office, not go out for lunch as is done daily in the US."False. Everyone at my workplace in the US ate in the office. Same in Germany. I think D's current coworkers actually eat out for lunch more than any place I've worked! Is this really a thing? Even if it is, I'd rather eat in the office, it's much cheaper and usually healthier.
"You will not have a garbage disposal"True. I didn't have one in Germany either. I grew up without one, my dad still doesn't have one, so I guess I don't really expect to have one, so this hasn't bothered me. They can be handy but I don't really think about it.
"You . . . will be expected to hang your laundry out to dry"
Huh? I find my clothes come out more wrinkly if they've been through the dryer than if they've hung to dry (even if hung indoors). I don't iron any more here than I did in the US. I'll have to ask around about this one! I actually prefer to do my laundry here. Every time I do laundry in the US while visiting now, I remember that top-loading washers and American tumble dryers are really hard on your clothes, shrinking, fading, and aging them more quickly.
"Our groceries are ordered on the internet and delivered to our front door -- as is typical for all supermarkets."