Monday, November 11, 2013

Blighty, I love you

The last few weeks I've been a massive Debbie downer and it's about time I snap out of moping about my first world problems and start thinking about things a bit more positively. A lot of this negativity has been due to simply not wanting to be at university. I've never particularly enjoyed university, I'm not really academic and to be honest, languages degrees are very different to what I expected them to be.

But I will save getting on my soapbox for another day.

You see, I think my incessant complaining about Britain has been a tad uncalled for. I adopt the 'grass is greener on the other side' mentality way too much which leads to wishing time away whilst I'm not in the worst place in the world. Although there are certain aspects that aren't the most palatable(funnily enough, the weather is one of them) there are also many lovable, quirky and unique traits that are part and parcel of life in good ol' Blighty. Many of which I found myself missing when I was overseas. Hopefully, I won't go too much rainbows and unicorns about Britain but I think especially on this wet and miserable Monday, there's no better time than now to adopt the (*cliche alert*) glass half full thinking.

To start off, let's talk about British etiquette. Even in London, people will wait for others to leave before getting on the tube. Zebra crossings are generally respected and if someone does a favour on the road, we wave to say thank-you. This etiquette extends off the road with people holding doors for the next person which often leads to the awkward half-jog, half-walk to not keep the kind person waiting. At meals, everyone waits until the last person has their meal before starting. I also love how our very distinct etiquette has spawned the Very British Problems Twitter account. It's also nice to be in full knowledge of what is polite and rude for once and not having to worry about offending anyone!

Another quirk is our sense of humour. I really missed it when I was away as not only did the language barrier hinder my comedic qualities (seriously, I'm a hoot) but I learnt that senses of humour really differed in both France, Colombia and obviously, worldwide. I especially missed not being able to use sarcasm. Sarcasm may be the lowest form of wit but it is definitely one of the funniest!

I also love the variety in Britain. Being able to get hold of all sorts of cuisines from all over the world in most cities is amazing and I love seeing Chinatown when it's Chinese New Year. Nottingham even had a Diwali showcase in the Market Square. I loved having access to French and Colombian food but I really missed a good curry when I was away.

I love learning languages and I do really miss being able to practise it everyday. However, it is also nice to understand everything, especially when I can snoop in on people's conversations on the bus because I am a nosy so-and-so. I also missed being able to recognise accents as I just about never came across fellow Northumbrians or even Geordies on my travels. I love how around certain people I can say dinner instead of lunch and tea instead of dinner and it's perfectly understood. The regionalism in Britain is something I really miss as I'm not only British and English, but I'm also Northern and Northumbrian.

Whilst I may always be yearning to be elsewhere and I may eventually end up abroad permanently, there are certain qualities such as a slight social awkwardness and a dark, sarcastic sense of humour that I won't be able to shake off soon. I still however can't sing past the first line of the national anthem however...

What do you miss about your home country when you're away?

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