There’s many different stories about England and English people. Land of milk and honey? Or maybe land of ignorant people? Arrogant and convinced of their superiority? Some stories are true, some of them are semi-true and some are just bullshit. After two years of living here, we’ve got our own observations. We would like to share our thoughts with you and tell about 7 things that we don’t like in England. And each day they are getting more and more annoying.
1. Ignorance and disliking everything what’s different
My work mate is convinced that the ignorance is a blessing. But you choose to be an ignorant. And you cannot choose your blessing, can you? And you cannot choose stupidity. It chooses you.
English people live and work with Polish, Spanish, Romanian, Indian and many more, but they don’t know anything about those nations. About those people. And very often they don’t want to know. I’ve heard so much about Poland. We are Norway’s neighbour. There is winter in Poland all year round. Poland is close to the equator. Some people said that they want to go to Germany to see Auschwitz. Once some guy asked me what kind of music do we listen in Poland. He thought that we don’t know “western hits” and we listen to Russian bards only. These are just some examples. I could go on and on…
What about disliking everything what’s different? Foods will be a good example. As I mentioned before – there are big foreign communities (Polish, Indian etc.), so there’s also many stores with foods from around the world. I love that you can buy basically anything here. Stuff I’ve never heard of, like some weird Jamaican or Indian fruits. But most of English people have never entered those stores. They have never tried those foods. They are not even curious. They just buy their usual things and often look at foreign, “weird” food with distaste. Of course it’s not about the food only. English like English things. Do they think that the English way = the only way?
If you can’t get somewhere by car – you can’t get there at all. Few mile walk? No way. I walk to work everyday (3 km), as well as Piotr (5 km). Everytime we say that we walk – people are puzzled. Why don’t you buy a car? It’s so convenient. And you don’t get tired! Avoiding any unnecessary effort is very common here.
Holiday? 2 weeks in good-class hotel, in the same place. Sightseeing? Rarely. One of Piotr’s colleagues spent two weeks in Mexico. Well, actually in a hotel in Mexico. She hasn’t seen much more than that. Mexico! Such huge and exciting country!
Don’t let me start about their working… Slow, lazy English worker – stereotype? Not really. But of course, we met some great and hardworking people too. But general image is rather hopeless.
Narrow streets are not that bad. But tiny flats are a real nightmare! Cramped rooms make your life difficult. It’s impossible to keep it tidy (a room, not life). Tidying is actually pointless, because in the next few hours your stuff is everywhere again. There’s no place to put it. The same with kitchen. Cooking requires a good strategy.
Another annoying thing is dampness. It makes your clothes smell very unpleasantly. It’s almost impossible to dry them good during winter. Mildew on the walls is also very common…
My boss pays 500 pounds a month for a company car. He says it’s cheap – he used to pay 700. But you have to pay if you want to drive a super cool car. Even if you want quite old, small, modest car (they are really cheap to be honest) – maintenance, insurance and taxes are much more expensive than the car itself! If you want to share the car with your wife/husband – you need double insurance. Stupid.
Prices of public transport (especially trains) are also too high. Comparing to the quality of service. And no night trains – that sometimes ruins our plans.
So far, we haven’t used services like plumbing, engineering or private healthcare. That’s also awfully expensive.
5. Life on credit
Life on credit is very common here. English people always complain that they don’t have money. No matter if they earn 800 or 3000 a month. But they need a new car, a huge tv screen and new leather sofa. They need a holiday in five star hotel. And they know menu of every restaurant in the city. They can’t afford a new house, but they buy it anyway. Because everyone does it. Lot of people spend more than they earn. And they think is absolutely normal. Well, of course other’s money it’s not our business. Let people do what they want. But… hey, do you remember how life on credit ends? Greece, anyone?
I think I should write separate post about that. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s scary. But I was surprised how poor are the standards. I visited GP and gynaecologist and Google would be more helpful.
7. Lack of awareness
One of my colleagues was proud of herself, because she stopped drinking regular energy drinks. She replaced it with sugar-free one. The other colleague was disappointed, because she hasn’t lost weight in her new job. But she walk upstairs EVERYDAY! Second floor, goddamit! And also, she goes to the printer very often!
Amount of food waste is terrifying, but almost everyone cares to segregate waste.
White bread is healthy if you’re making a sandwich, not buying a sandwich. And you even put some lettuce in there.
Spring water tastes awful.
It’s ok to give your little kids chips and coke.
Homemade deep-fried potatoes are healthy. Because they are homemade. And because potatoes are vegetables and vegetables are healthy, right?
These are the things that we don’t like in England. Well, most of them we don’t take seriously and we can live with them. But they are fairly annoying. At least we can have a laugh talking about it with our non-British friends. Fortunately, we met some English people that don’t fit to any of above points. So, hope is still alive.