5 Things I Love…about living in England

Its a fact of life: I am a foreigner in the British Isles, and will never be a true Brit. I don’t understand the fascination with a cup of tea, think Jaffa Cakes are only moderately good and refer to ‘crisps’ as chips (and if I’m honest, pronounce it ‘chups’).

Having moved here five months ago, I’m still getting to grips with the place but there are several small, everyday elements of British life that bring me great joy and  make me very happy to call London my temporary home.

1. Cash machines

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Who would have thought? The British cash machine is a beauty to behold. Rather than NZ or Australian cash machines, where you have to strategically get $40 or $60 out to avoid the dreaded $50 note, and where the dream of getting anything smaller than twenty remains in the realm of fantasy, British cash machines are where it is at. Ten pound notes for everyone! I love getting cash out in Britain (something I have to do more than I would prefer, thanks to London prices).

2. Postcodes

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How amazing is the British postcode system? Once a naysayer, I have swiftly become a zealous convert. There is nothing more magical than inputting 7 mere figures and getting exact times and routes for any journey I could wish to take and auto-filling my address details for online forms. Truly one of the better inventions of our time.

3. Marks and Spencer

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Perhaps my love for Marks and Spencer is why I have to do so much of No. 1. Marks and Spencer is a glorious haven full of amazing food (at not so amazing prices). If I could live forever more on M&S food, I quite happily would. While my student budget means this is not quite a reality, I still enjoy the occasional M&S splurge.

4. Long distance train rides

east coast trains

There is nothing more pleasant than a long distance train ride, particularly when the seat next to you is empty and you can watch the countryside roll by. My corner of the world doesn’t have long distance trains but it is now a regular feature of my British life. While my daily Tube commute turns me more and more into a stereotypical Londoner, frightened by eye contact, the long distance train rides I take are a joyful experience.

5. The postive mindset that British weather encourages

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Yes the rumors are true. British weather is appalling. I now understand why there are British migrants in every corner of the earth, trying their best to escape pitch black afternoons and constant drizzle. And yet…

…British weather is good for soul. It took me awhile to grasp this, and to push through my constant inner monologue of “Why the f#*$ did I move to this godforsaken country?” when summer turned to autumn. What the average punter doesn’t realise though, is that after so many days of walking out of work at 4.30 into a pitch black and stormy nightmare, your basic framework of what good weather is changes.

Now that the shortest day of the year has been and gone and dusk is slowly inching its way back to a more normal time, every time I come out of work and its not a) pitch black b) raining, I’m excited at how ‘good’ the weather is. That’s right. British weather is so bad it has broken me down and made me think a gloomy, overcast and only slightly dark afternoon is something to celebrate.

Any other lifelong Brits or recently arrived newbies out there with similar new found or long held loves of British life?