One of the biggest challenges of being in a new culture is reconciling the differences between that culture and your own. I suppose that any reasonable person is able to find good things in a new place, no matter how culturally different that new place might be from what the person is used to, but we all spend a lot of time adjusting, and learning to just take things as they come. Sometimes the differences are frustrating (getting cat-called constantly in Mexico), sometimes they’re downright confusing (trying to order sandwiches at the counter in a frenetic restaurant in Barcelona which appears to have no rhyme or reason to who goes next). Sometimes they cause amusing misunderstandings (saying “pissed” to a Brit when you mean you’re angry and they take it to mean you were drunk) and sometimes they’re adorable (being followed down the street by South Korean kids who shout “hello” and “I love you” then stare when you respond to them in Korean). Without a doubt, the UK most closely resembles the US compared to every other place I’ve been so far, but there are a few notable differences. Here are a couple things I won’t be missing when I leave:
Drunk men. All drunk Brits seem beligerant to me, even if they aren’t. I’ve yet to meet a “happy drunk” in the UK.
Vomit in the street. Again with the alcohol, if you go out on a Saturday or Sunday you will invariably see that someone has gotten sick on the sidewalk.
The exchange rate. Things are very, very expensive here, though thankfully the rate has improved greatly since we first arrived (thanks, Global Crisis).
Trash. Especially bottles and cans, everywhere, I assume because there’s no deposit refund program here. Such a shame to be walking in the woods and come across a pile of beer cans.
Tiny appliances. I look forward to being able to fit more than a single casserole dish in the oven at a time.
But now, some things that I will definitely miss, for which I’ve become quite nostalgic.
People kicking soccer balls around in the park; everyone seems to be good at this, too. Not so good with frisbees.
Seeing the train go by in the distance as I walk down our hill.
Walking down the street with a beer in your hand.
Funny phrases like “are you queueing for pudding?” (waiting in line for dessert)
An ATM is called a “hole in the wall,” even signs refer to them this way.
English children all look like little rascals and everything they say sounds so cute with their accents.
“Cheers” which can mean many things including: thanks, have a nice day, I agree, etc.
Popcicles and lollipops are both called “lollies.”
Curry-flavored potato chips. They are incredible why do we not have these in the US? (other awesome flavors: bacon, balsamic vinegar and sea salt, sweet chili sauce)
Being able to see into the back gardens of houses as you round a corner. I love peeking at other peoples’ stuff.
I’m not allergic to England.
Cream tea and scones, the only delicious English thing I’ve eaten here so far.
Catching a glimpse of the Channel when I look down a side street.