After spending a stressful first day trying to figure out how to work the ATMs abroad, I finally managed to get some pounds through the machine on Regent’s campus (after a quick phone call to Wells Fargo’s international customer service).
It was a huge relief to know I had the right money in my purse, and for the rest of Sunday I was satisfied in knowing I wasn’t “poor” in London. The next step, though, was actually paying with my newfound pounds.
Pounds are shorter, wider and more colorful than U.S. dollars. This is meant to help people tell the difference among the bills, but I am so accustomed to looking in the corners for numerical value that the color coding is lost on me. I suspect it will take me a little while to determine what color equals what value.
The coins are another story, though. One and two pounds are minted as coins rather than bills, so sometimes they get mixed up with my pence coinage. Much like the bills with color, pounds in coins differ in thickness, which will also take some time for me to adjust.
For the meantime, I will continue to play “squint and guess” to try to figure out what value I’m handing to the cashier.
Also, everything has the Queen on it. They do a good job though of representing other famous Brits on the bills, like Charles Darwin, to keep things interesting.