Being a London tourist

Last week there was a great blog post doing the rounds on Facebook. It was written by a Scottish expat who had spent time living in NZ and she absolutely hit the nail on the head, exposing so many quirks of New Zealanders as people and the country in general. 

Seeing as the blonde kiwi and I are coming to the end of our visa and preparing to leave London (sob!), I thought I'd take a leaf out of her book and share some of the discoveries I've made living and working in the UK for the past two years. 

1. There are about a thousand different accents

It's no wonder they muddle up us kiwis with aussies, we generally sound the same and there's a huge bloody ocean between us. Over here you can hear the difference between people who live a stones throw away from each other. A friend of mine would be horrified to be mistaken for a scouser even though her home town is a matter of miles away from Liverpool. 

2. Biscuits are essential foods

I was so surprised to see that biscuits were free in my office. My colleagues are more surprised if the tin is empty on a Monday morning... and by surprised I mean pissed off. If you're an employer over here you better provide a stock of bikkies alongside the regular tea/coffee making facilities or prepare for a revolt. It's just a shame they don't know how to do proper chocolate biscuits.

3. Dairy Milk is waaaay better here

So the biscuits aren't quite up to scratch but goddamn, the chocolate here is SO much better than in NZ. I am going to have to be very nice to my mates over here before I leave so they keep me in constant supply of giant Dairy Milk buttons when I'm back home. Perhaps I can do a trade off with Whittakers. 

God bless Dairy Milk Buttons

4. Pretty much everyone hates Paul McCartney

Still don't know why. No one really has a decent answer. It's just the way it is. 

5. Confrontation is avoided like the plague... except on public transport 

The stereotype of British people as polite is 100% accurate. Unless they're trying to board a packed train in the morning. Then all bets are off. I've been called an effing bitch at 8am for accidentally standing on a man's toe. It's like they are so frustrated from being polite all the time that the hour before work is where all the pent up rage comes out. It's scary. 

6. Weather is the number one topic of conversation

It is quite astounding really how much people talk about weather here, particularly considering it's crap most of the time. The weirdest part is that you find yourself naturally interested and contributing enthusiastically within a few months of being here and now I check the forecast every day in anticipation of the banter.   

7. They really do drink a lot of tea

Oh the perils of making a round of cuppas for the workmates. Everyone has a particular colour that their brew needs to be and it basically defines you as a person. Don't whatever you do over milk a Northerner's tea. 

British tea chart
8. Flat whites are trendy as opposed to a standard cafe order

And only about 20% of barristas who have them on their menu can actually make one. This also applies to brunch. Brunch has recently become a 'thing' in London where the lack of the cafe culture in the city means that demand way exceeds supply and you end up queuing for an hour only to be served sub par coffee and some smashed avocado that cost you a week's wages. 

9. The local pub is the second office   

The after work pint should really be included on every job description here. It's pretty much mandatory and something that I'm totally ok with. However, the culture of 'rounds' is lethal... for the bank balance and the bod. 

10. Brits will literally find any excuse for cake 

I work for a radio station and they got a cake in to celebrate the birthday of the number you text when you want to reach the studio - it's 81215 so we celebrated on the 8th of December last year. True story. Also if it's your birthday then 9 times out of 10 this will be the office cake that you get... his face and butt are the best bits. 
Colin the caterpillar cake
11. We are very much the same

Coming from the other side of the world you might expect some barriers when it comes to getting along with people and sure, there are some cultural differences but on the whole I identify a lot with British people. I think what binds us together is a shared sense of humour as I spend most of my time with pals here laughing my ass off and they will always hold a special place in my heart for welcoming me into their lives... even if they can't keep a straight face when I say deck.   

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