10 Things Experienced by all British Expats

One of the most British things about being British is our ability to complain: the grass is always greener.

When moving abroad, our sights are always set on better things… but in reality, there are some British-isms which you just can’t help but miss. No matter where in the world you’ve decided to settle, there’s nothing like the wholly British disappointment of realising nobody does a roast dinner better than your local pub.

1. The embarrassment of using ‘cheers’ as a thank you.

For peculiar looks or worse, mimicking, make sure to say ‘cheers’ when you’re in America. Perhaps the most casually aggressive British slang. Extra points if you can get in ‘tube’ instead of subway and/or ‘quid’ instead of dollar.

2. Realising that literally everyone else hates Marmite (except the Aussies)

There’s nothing like someone bringing up how awful Marmite is, to unite Brits against a cause in a way that hasn’t been seen since Brexit. Luckily, our friends down under are just as passionate about Vegemite, but have also had no luck in spreading the tar-like joy across borders. (Pun intended).

3. Knowing that British breakfasts are, unequivocally, the best.

And, however hard ‘British pubs’ overseas try, you just can’t get them anywhere else.

4. People will expect you to know their cousin

“Oh my goodness! You’ve lived in London!! Do you know the pub The Red Lion?? Do you know the barmaid Olivia??? Well, no, it’s not in London, it’s in Newcastle! But England is soooo small so…” If I had a pound for every time someone exclaimed when they heard my accent, I would be writing blog posts on a yacht.

5. The sudden appreciation for stepping outside without fearing the wildlife

In England, we live safe in the knowledge that no species is looking for their mid-morning snack when using a public toilet, or putting on shoes that have been outside. Frankly, it’s a life we all took for granted.

6. Discovering that nowhere has a sports atmosphere like the British

The chants, the singing, the spontaneous bursts. Whether you’re into rugby, football, cricket or tennis, sport is considered a religion in the UK, and the atmosphere is completely unique. Even at international sports matches, the noise made is incomparable to even a friendly sports match in Britain. We never said we were good at sports, but we sure know how to host.

7. The crushing realisation that meal deals don’t exist overseas

From a young age, we’re bought up knowing how to cheat the system. £2.99 for a sandwich, crisps and a drink? Well, obviously you choose the most expensive, extravagant filling, (bonus points if it’s a Christmas special). But none of that prior training applies when you move to a new country, because meal deals just aren’t a thing. And yes, it really is devastating.

8. We get the most excited about Christmas

The truth is, British winters are the most terrible time of year. It’s cold, it’s wet and the sun goes down at 3pm. So putting a celebration right in the centre of the season, gives us all a little bit of hope, which we cling to. We don’t have a national patriotic holiday, and we don’t have a Thanksgiving. Christmas is the British reason to drink and be merry. And with crackers, mince pies and brandy butter – why would you want to celebrate it anywhere else? Don’t even get us started on Love Actually.

9. Day drinking is an art form long perfected

Potentially due to the lack of sunny days, when it is sunny, we go hard. Day drinking in an English pub garden is practically a cultural experience. You can visit all of the rooftop bars in the world, but nothing beats sitting on a dodgy wooden bench with a cold pint in your hand.

10. Understanding that Britain isn’t so bad after all

We may complain about it whilst we’re here. And okay, we may not want to move back. But all of these things are what makes us British, and it’s all a part of the British experience abroad.

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