About two months ago I moved into this household from Thailand. I don’t know which country baffles me more. On the one hand, Thailand was so different it constantly had me on my toes trying to sort through the social rules, in-house food and structural arrangements. The two landlords, Yingluck and Suthep, were constantly creating a ruckus trying to kick each other out and sometimes I had problems with flooding, but once I got past that the central heating is great and the housemates are nice. Not to mention the neighbours are close unlike my isolated childhood home.
England on the other hand is super similar to Canada… and yet definitely not…
So I thought I’d list out the reasons why I find your household silly. Please continue below.
1) Most house doors here don’t have a doorknob.
Instead they have this small stiff handle and a keyhole. If the door shuts behind you it automatically locks so you’re out of luck if you left your key inside while going for a breather.
I have to kept an eye on the door when dumping household garbage into the bin outside for collection. Just in case a frisky wind comes along to slam it shut.
And can you imagine trying to escape a monster with no doorknob!!! What kind of horror movie would that be? No fun doorknob rattling and slow turning. Monsters don’t have key pins.
Not that I’ve seen any monsters…BUT IT COULD HAPPEN.
I haven’t seen any fairies for that matter. Where are the fairies I was promised?
2) Still on the topic of doors… for some odd reason most house doors here do not have an overhang above the door—in a country famous for its incessant rain.
Basically EVERY TIME I come home I’m getting soaked trying to balance my umbrella while digging out my keys as my groceries fall into a puddle at my doorstep.
You should really do something about that.
3) Plus everyone drives on the wrong side of the road.
Only about 35 per cent of the world drives on the left and these are the old British colonies for the most part so they were probably coerced into it.
Apparently this driving on the left thing originates from medieval times, with right-handed knights moving to the left so their sword arm was between them and any passing possibly-murderous folk (they had serious trust issues back then I’m assuming?).
Oh, but I also heard it probably made dismounting their horses easier. With a knight’s scabbard on his left he’d find it easiest to dismount on the left. If he had his horse on the right side of the road he’d drop down right into buggy traffic. Parking on the left meant he was safe from being mowed down.
Course, this means that today I’m always in danger of being mowed down instead.
4) Some of the people’s gushiness over Prince George of Cambridge, the one-year-old child of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William.
I’m assuming you know there is a term “Georgeous” out there. Enough said.
5) You seriously don’t have proper Chinese food.
This would be because you don’t have ginger beef, a proper Chinese take-out dish that is super delicious!
Ok, so it’s an Albertan construct, but still… It’s damn delicious I tell you!!!
And I miss it *twiddles fingers *.
* Denote actions in my world
6) You don’t have chocolate wine in their general liquor stores.
Why is it that I can get Dutch chocolate wine in Canada but can’t get it in England which is what, just over 4,000 miles CLOSER????
7) Your town names are… very literal.
Ely, I found out for example, gets its name from its original name, which was District or Town of Eels, because it was in a fen with marshes full of eels.
Wells-next-the-sea gets its name from the fresh water wells next to the sea.
It was once known as Grantabrycge or “Bridge Over The River Granta”. Then the name evolved into Cambridge and the elegant paring was lost. So, to set things right in the universe they changed the name of the river to match the town name.
Now it’s rightfully Cambridge or, the Bridge Over The River Cam.
But I’m assuming you know all this already.
8) People’s use of “all right” is super confusing.
So right now I’m working in a newsroom (Yay! And boo because my blog is suffering!) and every time my fellow reporters come up they say, “you all right?”. Well, it’s more like “y’all right?”
I’m used to the term being used when someone appears to be in distress. Kind of an “oh you poor dear are you all right?” said the woman to the kid crying over the dropped ice-cream scoop.
So when these reporters marched up with this greeting my first day I was wondering if I should maybe have put more effort into my appearance that morning.
But over time—and with some extensive spying on my fellow employees over the computer screen—I’ve came to the realization that they actually use it as a casual, “how’s it going?” inquiry.
So an Albertan greeting typically goes something like:
Jesse: “How’s it goin’?”
Jacolyne: “It’s goin’ good, n’ you?”
While the Cambridgeshire version goes:
Jean: “Y’all right?”
John: “Yeah I’m all right, how ‘bout you?”
I cannot stress how odd I find the practices listed above. I really don’t know how this house functions with all these silly actions sometimes.
However, I must add that it has certainly been amusing watching this all unfold. I’m sure you’d find Canadian practices just as alien and upside down too. We do love our toques, four-wheel drive and steaks. So come visit and we can discuss our cultural differences over hot chocolate/tea.
Regards, or I suppose more fittingly,
For all you folks visiting or living in England what do you think? Am I right? What are some other things you find silly in this country or even in Canada? Please share before I stumble into into something new and really embarrass myself.