When you’re a Brit and you live in the USA, everyone back home thinks you are so lucky living in America. They think it’s all larger than life, “have a nice daaaayayyyyyyyy” cheap living , great weather, humongous food portions, V8 trucks and guns. Well basically they are right but having said that, there are some things that The Land of The Free doesn’t have and every Brit worth his salt would hopefully agree with me. Obviously there was some stuff back in Jolly old England that we wanted to move overseas from, so neither place is perfect, but I must say living in the USA is bloody brilliant but there are a few things that regardless of my V8, suntan, fat tummy and still no gun, that I miss.
Here is my list of things I miss from back home in England and they are not in any order.
1/ The Real BBC.
Not that pretend BBC America crap that shows replays of Kitchen Nightmares, Star Trek and Top Gear (not that there is anything wrong with Top Gear) The real deal with the news at 6, great British comedy shows, drama and documentaries that sometimes would warrant some naughty stuff after 9pm! (and since when is Star Trek considered an English thing?)
2/ Brit Food
Crisps, twiglets, Pimm’s, full English breakfast, pasties, sausage rolls, club biscuits, instant whip, scotch eggs, crunchies…and a few more food items I’m sure. Every Brit has their favorite food items that are missed and are smuggled back in suitcases after visits back home, all slightly different tastes we have but all variations on a theme!
3/ The British Pub
“Obviously”, you say, what would a post from a Brit be without the mention of pubs? Yes you can get a beer anywhere and there are many fine bars in the USA, that serve great beer and free poor cocktails but it’s just not the same. A bar is a place in which one goes to have a beer, maybe grab something to eat and watch some sports. A pub, on the other hand, is that almost sacred ground in which you can visit after work, after soccer, after chores, after shopping and after anything else for that matter, give a nod to other locals and the landlord (owner of said pub) and allow the stresses of the day to fall into oblivion, talk about the footie, racing or your mean boss or have a nice chat and a pint with the misses. Most pubs offer a sense of belonging and familiarity that a typical bar just doesn’t have. They also have Crisps. Ploughman’s and pork scratching’s.
4/ The Weather
Every Brit talks and moans about the weather and not without good reason! Actually I love drizzle, low cloud cover and wind, wrapping up warm and hearing the wonderful crunch of leaves underfoot from the frost in autumn.
Just kidding, how could anyone enjoy that when you could be sitting here typing this blog with blue skies and 85 degrees?
5/ English English
Having been here over 20 years my English English keeps getting accused of being Australian, Australian! It can get a bit rusty but my American wife makes sure I go back every year for a brush up. English, English is the way we say stuff and I don’t mean like “aluminium” I just mean the way we talk between ourselves, the speed, the banter, the slang, the humour, you know what I mean.
6/ Christmas Build Up
If your living in a cold damp climate what better way to celebrate that than have Christmas lights strung up in every village center, window displays, Christmas markets with carousels and mulled wine for sale that you can drink while walking around all the stands with Christmas goodies for sale while listening to Christmas carols. The whole festive atmosphere, the food, even the shopping is fun and I it’s all wonderful. I know most people here in the USA celebrate Christmas but for some reason it’s just not the same. Also as soon as Christmas day is over everything is put back in the box and next day everyone returns to work! No boxing day, no left over cold meat and piccalilli, volovants, cheese and Branston, sausage rolls, curry, bubble and squeak, I could go on. More importantly, no traditional visit to the pub on “Boxing Day” lunch time. The kids don’t even get a chance to show off their new toys and play with mum and dad for a day as its straight back to work! If you are in retail you might as well not even bother with Christmas with the Christmas Eve late openings and the sales beginning Christmas day at 6pm! Christmas dinner with everything loaded on your plate, wearing silly hats and telling silly jokes from your crackers just doesn’t happen here. I believe this is partly due to the Americans having eaten a huge thanksgiving meal the month before and are still recovering and partly because they don’t want to appear looking stupid on face book. Lastly all the English classics come out on the radio from when I was a lad. Classical hits from bands like Slade, Mud, Wizard, Chris Rea and The Pogues are just a few of that never seem to have made it across the pond.
7/ Harrods and Marks and Spencer. America just doesn’t have an equivalent. Yes they have Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Trader Joes and stuff but sorry it’s not Harrods! Yes you have some great sandwich shops here but there is something about the Scotch Beef and horseradish or English breakfast sandwich from M&S that can’t be beat!
8/ Sunday Roast. What a fantastic tradition to bring the family together. I used to regularly go home on a Sunday in my late teens to fill my tank up for a week on meat, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puds filled with gravy, veggies etc followed by trifle. Using my mums washing machine during the visit was an added bonus but I think that happens here too!
9/ The Pavement and walking. I do miss walking to the pub, even the shops sometimes. It’s a bit hard to walk anywhere here as there are very few pavements, meaning the thing you walk on next to the road as opposed to in the USA pavement meaning the thing you drive your V8 on and the curb that you might be lucky enough to find and walk on!
10/ The Indian Restaurant
Now this country does great BBQ, Italian, steaks, sea food and much more but sadly lacks a lot of good Indians, meaning Indian restaurants. Did you know the most popular dish in England now is Chicken Tikka Masala beating the old favorite of fish and chips. I personally think Chinese and Thai food is a lot better in the UK as well.
As the weather one was silly I would also like to give a quick mention to the also rans….. The NHS, English Plugs, (not pubs) the electric grid being all underground and more stable, The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Stonehenge, Bacon Sarnies, Cornwall, Prince Harry, The London Cab, The Underground, Guy Fawkes and lastly James Bond, ……..