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Topic: Welcome to the UK! (gift pack)  (Read 2760 times)
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witchybelle4u2
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« on: June 22, 2005 03:06:06 AM »

Hi all. I'm an American living in Wales. (I've been here two years.) Well, I just found out one of my friends from the States is going to be studying in England for a semester come Sept. I'm so excited!  What I want to do is make her a "Welcome to the UK!" gift pack. Now, she's going to be coming straight from America so she's not gonna be missing her fav foods and stuff right away. And I wouldn't be able to get them myself being in Wales! So what can I include??? I've gotten a couple of ideas from some of the other posts including things like:

a map
travel blog
slang dictionary
and vouchers

I also thought it would be an idea to make a sort of "guide to shopping in the uk" including which stores are which and where to find stuff. Does anyone have any ideas on how to improve these ideas and what else I can do? She'll be here for about four months and will be visiting Wales while she's here as well. What do you think? Help!
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witchybelle4u2
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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2005 03:10:05 AM »

*smacks head* I almost forgot. I was thinking of a sort of "Everything you need to know about Living in the UK" sort of book or something. What do you think about that and what could I include?
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TravelBel
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2005 07:53:05 AM »

What about a list of phone numbers she may need (pharmacy, food, etc.)?
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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2005 08:23:17 AM »

Anything that you had trouble with when you first moved there.  How to deal with public transportation, the health care system, if there's anything odd about shopping.
For example, I'm an American living in Canada, and the grocery stores here aren't nearly as comprenhensive in non-grocery items as they are in the States, so if I were putting something together, I'd mention that if you're looking for cleaning supplies, you'll find a better selection at store X than store Y.  And I'd definitely explain the whole milk-in-bags phenomenon.  Here in Ontario, there's a phone number you can call for health questions (dial a nurse or something) so if you have something like that, that would be great. 

And how about a list, or actual examples of, neat things you can get in UK that you can't in the States?  Your favorite Cadbury candy bars or McVities biscuits or something.  Sort of 'things you must try'. 
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Fee
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2005 08:30:23 AM »

A giant union jack, and some mystical initiation ceremony including english ale and a roast dinner  Grin

Yeah, perhaps a delia extract of cooking the perfact roast dinner

By the way, be careful of slang dictionarys. They're sometimes very wrong. I once read one that said 'to get knocked up' meant to be woken up lmao. I'd love to see someone use that with their english parents in law - 'yeah, so then next morning I knocked my daughter up' rofl
« Last Edit: June 22, 2005 08:47:54 AM by Fee » THIS ROCKS   Logged
Ruby Tuesday
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2005 08:42:51 AM »

Could do a mix-tape/ cd- best of British music? Maybe not just the old 'classics' like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, but some more modern stuff. Check out www.nme.com for modern British music. Could add some Welsh music too: Stereophonics, Super Furry Animals, Funeral for a friend, Manic Street Preachers... you may want to avoid Charlotte Church and Tom Jones though  Undecided

OH! If you're in the Uk over the summer, go to a music festival, bit late for Glasto now, maybe Reading/ Leeds.

Ooh, ale in the sunshine, good call. I think the initiation ceremony should also involve marmite and toast eating... ho ho. (I'm sure that only British people (occasionally Australians too) eat it)
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2005 08:55:47 AM »

Im English and living in Canada and the things I definitely miss most about England are Boost chocolate bars and nik naks and space invaders crisps. Canadians are always baffled when i tell them the different flavours of crisps they have in England so you should definitely include some strange ones in her gift like branstons lamb and mint or ham and mustard! and H& M is a must for shopping, I miss it so much, if only they had online shopping.
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Fee
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2005 08:59:57 AM »

Im English and living in Canada and the things I definitely miss most about England are Boost chocolate bars and nik naks and space invaders crisps. Canadians are always baffled when i tell them the different flavours of crisps they have in England so you should definitely include some strange ones in her gift like branstons lamb and mint or ham and mustard! and H& M is a must for shopping, I miss it so much, if only they had online shopping.

Yeah good point, and I've heard that even though we have the same brands, some things especially sweets are meant to taste very differently, like mars bars... And do they have nobby's nuts in america?  Grin
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corduroy cat
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2005 09:03:34 AM »

teehee nobby's nuts rock! nope they don't have em in the states. i'm american and been living in uk for about 2 years. definitely should tell her that places like john lewis have crafting/sewing stuff, cause i'd have never thought to look in a dept. store! also let her in on the squash phenomena, i can't get enough lemon squash!!
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terin
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2005 09:06:18 AM »

First of all... no marmite.  You want her to stay in England, right?  Maybe you wouldn't need a comprehensive slang dictionary, but at least the essentials.  (Example: saying 'p' for pence.)  The phrases that seem too obvious to include, such as 'cheers' (I was confused why people kept saying this to me when I clearly was not drinking.) and 'queue up' (sp?) may be the most helpful at first. Also, if you know what she's into (music, theater, etc.), it would be very cool of you to search the net or newspapers & magazines for a minute and find out what might be going on in her city while she's there and throw together a little travel pamphlet highlighting her 'can't miss' events.  Hmmm...also, include some advice (or your own experiences) on places to go for daytrips and weekend getaways.
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corduroy cat
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2005 09:31:52 AM »

ooh! just remembered an important greeting used here... you alright? it just means hello, but when i first got here i kept thinking i looked sick or somehing cause everyone kept asking if i was alright, lol!
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witchybelle4u2
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« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2005 02:55:42 AM »

OMG! So many great ideas! Thanks. I started making a list of things that she's gotta try already. I'm gonna start a shopping guide as well soon. I think I'll add how expensive each store is. Rate it with pound signs or something...hmmm. I'm toying with the idea of a "If you like _____, You'll love _____" thing. Like, "If you like Hershey's, You'll love Cadbury." Could be fun. (They didn't have Nobby's Nuts in America when I left!) Lion bars...Omg, I couldn't live without Lion bars...

Initiation ceremony? Oh, I can definitely get my husband and mates in on that one...

Lol at the slang dictionary as well. I would never get out of bed if I had to get "knocked up" every morning! Definately the essentials, at least. I'm hoping to incorporate everything into one major guide with different sections. Hopefully, it'll work out that way. *fingers crossed*

I'm thinking of making her a tee shirt that says, "Please speak slowly, I'm American!" because the biggest thing I had trouble with was understanding people when they spoke to me! (Of course, I am in Wales, Lol.) Of course, the tee shirt could also be a bit of a joke for the locals since they mostly seem to think that we're all a bit dim. Lol.

I'm not really up on British music, I have to admit so that one would be a bit difficult for me.  Undecided

John Lewis has craft stuff??? Why didn't I know that!?!? I thought the only option around me was Hobbycraft.  Shocked *smacks head*

I wonder if I could get her to bring REAL Smarties for me? Lol. (And Cap'n Crunch and concentrated grape juice. Funny the things you miss. Lol.)

Thanks so much everyone for the great ideas!! You've given me so much to work with!  Grin (I'm glad she's not gonna be here for a couple of months, this could take awhile!)
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« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2005 02:06:27 AM »

I wonder if I could get her to bring REAL Smarties for me? Lol. (And Cap'n Crunch and concentrated grape juice. Funny the things you miss. Lol.)

hahaha. i used to work in this british/scottish store, and people would come in asking for smarties. (i guess they were banned in the US, but i don't know) At first i was SOOOOO confused. I was thinking that nasty sugary candy you get for halloween every year. Then I saw what they were talking about.

You could include tips on the foods, drinks and restaurants that are good over there, too.
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radishdiva
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2005 07:19:06 AM »

you MUST include marmite it is the food of the gods!!! (well definiatly the veggie/vegan ones)i live on that stuff. were abouts is she going to be based?
i like the t-shirt idea im sure that would go down really well,and people will know shes not really that dense!
i would definatley do a top ten markets to visit in london you could even rate them like portobella = expensive but cool handmade stuff
camden = cheezey but fun
spittalfields good on the right day =lots of craft/art local stuff but dead animals on other days kind of thing.
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fero
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2005 10:42:39 AM »

A "this way out" sign pointing back home!

On the "knocked up" point round where I live (west midlands) it does mean to get someone up, was only when I went to uni that I thought about it more!
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sarahxcore
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2005 02:51:44 PM »

And I'd definitely explain the whole milk-in-bags phenomenon. 


we have milk in bags? is this new to anyone else?
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Shortie
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2005 04:59:28 PM »

milk in bags? whats that? do we have milk in bags??
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witchybelle4u2
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« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2005 01:18:18 AM »

i would definatley do a top ten markets to visit in london

I've never been to any of the markets in London so I wouldn't have a clue what to do! Sad

A "this way out" sign pointing back home!

Lol! I like that!

I don't remember ever seeing milk in bags but then I am sort of clueless sometimes.
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radishdiva
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2006 01:32:54 PM »

so how did it go??
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Toxicbex
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2006 08:38:13 PM »

If she's never lived in the UK before, she'll need a highway code book. Even if she doesn't plan on driving Tongue. Wouldn't want her to get run over Tongue
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slackferno
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2006 10:04:06 AM »


       Include a mug or teacup because we Yanks definitely don't understand the tea thing.  I live in Arizona, so all our tea is iced.  When a local friend recently visited London, she was greeted with blank stares every time she ordered iced tea. 

         The T-shirt idea may backfire.  They may treat her worse knowing that she's not slow but actually American.  Suddenly she's the living symbol of everything George W. Bush and Britney Spears ever did to make us look like lazy greedy backwater hicks.

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radishdiva
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2006 10:35:07 AM »

o dear! maybe you could get her a mayple leaf badge so people thing she's canadian!! and leave her alone.
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« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2006 12:09:47 AM »

i made a going away pack for a friend going to the UK to study for 6 months.
not all of this is relevant because you're giving her an ARRIVAL gift. but still:

gave him a leaher-bound journal and a nice pen;
a fancy luggage tag with big ben on it;
an adaptor for the power points (might be a nice welcome gift, if she doesn't already have one)
a copy of 'In Defence of English Cookery', by George Orwell.

Penguin published it as part of their Pen70 series (very cheap, slender works by their classic/ lead authors. in aus they retailed at $3.95 and were launched last year, but you can still get them around the place).
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radishdiva
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2006 12:43:34 AM »

he he i might have to read that! i think the adaptor plug is a fantastic idea
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« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2006 07:54:59 AM »

will she be living near you? if so, you could find copies of local bus/train/tram (if you have them) timetables, they'd be good. maps of the area. i agree with some sort of british slang translator, my poor chinese boyfriend gets very confused sometimes Tongue cheers, alright, ta, that sort of thing. ta (thanks) seems to confuse non-northerners though.

and to add to the debate, my grandad tells me he'll knock me up when i stay with him. some more naive people use it like that i guess, but i got a shock!
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« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2006 06:17:48 AM »

so how did it go??

Omg. Everything that could've gone wrong did! I got made redundant just before she arrived so I had zero money and then my printer died so everything I was going to do ended up going pretty much bust. I was seriously annoyed. But now I've got loads of ideas for the next time one of my friends comes to visit! (Which I hope is sooner rather than later. Sad )
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radishdiva
« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2006 01:31:00 PM »

oh no! what a shame Embarrassed i hope things are looking up for you now?
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« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2006 06:04:31 PM »

oh no! what a shame Embarrassed i hope things are looking up for you now?

Much, much better now. Smiley Just waiting for another friend to come visit so I can use all these great ideas!
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brokendove
« Reply #28 on: June 19, 2006 11:03:37 PM »

what about a knitted pork pie ?



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radishdiva
« Reply #29 on: June 20, 2006 11:32:58 AM »

ha ha cool but eeewww at the same time hmm at least there vegan friendly!...well depending on the fibre you knit with Wink
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« Reply #30 on: June 21, 2006 05:04:56 AM »

Lol. That's brilliant.
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« Reply #31 on: June 29, 2006 05:57:26 AM »

i was just reading this and had to comment - i live in the states and we had milk in bags when i was in middle school but that's the only time/place i have ever heard of it. they were little single serving clear bags that you just poked a straw into. MUCH MUCH MUCH less waste that way, which is why they were doing them. we had chocolate and white, lucky us...
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« Reply #32 on: July 05, 2006 05:16:40 AM »

That sounds like it could have been SO messy!
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