More observations

Here are a few quick observations from people from around the world:

Pakistani man: we are quite selfish here in that in Pakistan, you would cook for everyone and make a pot of food for everyone, here we make tea for ourselves and just make sure that the fridge is stocked for our needs and not everyone we are sharing with.  I think this is because we are so busy, we have teabags now where as in my parents’ day, you would make a pot of tea for sharing.

Pakistani Christian: The English are less religious than she thought. She imagined we would all go to church on Sundays. She was astounded when she first came here how busy we are and now she feels just as busy as everyonelse.

African Christian: there is far more for children to do than in Africa, here women have more rights and we have freedom of speech.

Latvian: she loves the history.

Polish: we worry too much about other people’s feelings, sometimes this is good but sometimes its too much.

 

 

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Insights from Canada

Please find below the insight and advice from someone from Canada. There are couple of themes coming out from different people: the English lack of customer service and lots of people seem to have noticed the phrase, ‘keep calm and carry on’. I have added my own comments to the Canadian insights , ,mine are in bold

1. Remember when crossing the road to make sure you are looking in the right direction (there’s usually a sign that says look right or left on the road). Traffic usually comes from the opposite side we’re used to in North America so looking the wrong way and you’ll stick out and make it obvious you are a tourist, and you WILL get hit

2. The city never sleeps, people are always going somewhere, there are always airplanes and cars, dogs on the loose. So be ready for noise.

3. Don’t buy eggs from the “General store” what they call an “Off License” they don’t keep them refrigerated and they are often found next to the canned goods and their baking section is tiny. (our little stores make money by being the one you have to go to when the supermarkets are shut and if independent are often a bit more expensive)

4. They don’t call them Limey’s for nothing, the water here has a lot of lime build up in it. (I wish I could get my hands on some CLR!) I’ve been told distilled vinegar works but all you can find is malt vinegar and it doesn’t smell very nice…. still haven’t found distilled vinegar ( you need to make sure you buy limescale remover tablets for your washing machine and put them in every wash and also regularly descale your kettle. A friend has pointed out that this is a London issue,  Scotland sells its water because there is no lime in it)

5. Don’t ask for the restroom or washroom (they call them toilets…it sounds very specific if you say it out loud) So if you are in a proper restaurant remember to ask “where’s the toilet Monsieur?”(with a French accent) Alternatively you can as where’s “the Loo” but even that sounds silly. (the English find it very coy that North Americans refer to the loo or toilet as washroom or bathroom)

6 Its not garbage day, rather “rubbish” day and even the trucks are polite and have a British woman’s voice that says “This vehicle is reversing” and it wakes you up once a week in the early morning (note from the blog owner: (The English are particularly keen on saying sorry and thank you and if someone bumps into you, we think everyone should say sorry)

7. Avoid administrators at all cost as they often “wouldn’t even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without orders signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters.” – The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy description of the Vogons from Vogosphere. We’ve experienced this first hand, people call it “red tape” or “bureaucratic” we North American’s just see it as an excuse for being lazy and not getting things done efficiently on purpose just to piss off expats. Just be humble and admit you have no understanding of how they operate things and finally be very patient with them. (this isn’t just an issue for North Americans, the English also hate call centres and we don’t have that much more of a clue on what the procedures are but we know we need to know what they are. If you get yourself in trouble in the UK with your manager or whoever, your best defence is always that you followed the correct procedures)

As they say here…”keep calm and carry on!”