We are incredibly excited about going to live and work in a new country, but we will also be leaving a lot of good things behind. Everyone knows I have fallen in love with England over the years (that still doesn’t mean I am supporting England in the worldcup though!). But reflecting on the seven years here I found that even with all the good stuff, there are many curiosities I still haven’t got used to even after all these years:
Big Ben

1. Transport:

After 6.5 years of commuting there is nothing I haven’t experienced with the British transport system. Daily delays are somewhat normal, but there have also been bomb scares, cancelled trains because of leaves on the tracks and of course the tube. My worst nightmare. Squeezed like sardines, no airconditioning in the summer and being exposed to sweaty armpits even makes the English lose their British humour. So imagine a grumpy German!

2. Food:
Pies, fried Marsbars, white bread and chips with vinegar. Thank god for ALDI & Lidl who I can rely on providing me with my German sausages.

3. Weather:
Ok, it rains a lot here. Everybody knows that. But spending a winter in England is something different. A little bit of snow and everything comes to a standstill. No transport, no work and supermarkets even running out of food.

4. Health system:
Don’t get me wrong, the concept of the NHS is brilliant. But waiting for three months to get a root-canal treatment or doctors having to check their books to find out which illness I may have – come on!

5. Manners:

stock photo

German and British manners are very different and it took me a while to get used to the British manners. An article on the BBC website summed this up nicely: There are Britons in Germany who get taken aback by the directness of Germans. And there are Germans who get really annoyed when Britons, in an effort to appear friendly, say things they don’t really mean. Some Germans call this “lying”. Saying things like “It’s nice to meet you” are rarely meant the way they are said. It’s just words. It’s simulating interest in the other person. For Britons the German directness most often gives rise to bafflement or even fury.
As you see getting the balance right is tricky, but I think I didn’t do too badly and have hopefully not offended too many Brits.

But even with all of these curiousities I have still developed some British characteristics over the years. I am drinking tea instead of coffee, queue patiently and don’t push in anymore, I am driving on the left (mostly), I don’t say what I think immediately and am able to slip into a conversation about the weather like a true Brit. But does that make me British? Probably not, but at least I tried.

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About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

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