Wednesday, 7 October 2009

10 Things British I haven't succumbed to

I have nicked (OK borrowed with permission) this idea from a fellow lovely ex-pat blogger Expat Mum. She wrote about things she hasn't embraced in her host country,USA, whereas I (she takes a deep breath) am going to write about the goes:

1. Strong, milky tea. How can you drink that stuff? After 25 plus years in the UK I'm still a true Finn: it's got to be strong, black coffee.

2. Instant coffee. See above. When I came to the UK I was always offered something that I can only call teacoffee, weak, mud water-like stuff with a few grains of instant coffee floating on the surface. Then they'd pour fatty milk in it and expect me to drink it. Thank The Lord for Starbucks.

3. Damp, cold, drafty, old houses. In Finland we have to have warm houses, otherwise in the winter we would die. And OK, I admit, I have sort of succumbed to this. But, when we moved into our old house, I did insist on installing efficient central heating, and good showers. And I use them. I insist on not being cold in my own house.

4. Saying one thing and meaning something quite different. Here are some examples:

'We must get together soon' = 'Please let me go, I don't like you'.
'That's so interesting' = 'I am sooo bored.'
'No problem' = 'You're such a nuisance'
'Don't mention it' = 'You should be kissing my feet'

You get the picture. Finns may be considered a little uncouth and impolite, but they say what they mean.

5. Being obsessed with animals. I have dogs and cats but to me children are more important, sorry.

6. Calling complete strangers, 'Mate', 'Love', 'Dear', or 'Darling'. Its' so obviously insincere, and at worst patronising, so why do it?

7. Serving chips with everything, or eating everything in either a batter or pastry. We live on an island, why can't we have proper fish?

8. Bread sauce. Just think about it, what could be more wrong?

9. Not dressing for the weather. For example, wellies on a snowy day? They're cold and slippery...?

10. Chit-chat at business meetings. No-one's interested in the weather, no-one cares how long it took you to get to our offices. Let's just save time and get down to business.


Wildernesschic said...

OH GOD I didnt realise just how British I am, not guilty of all traits but quite a few .. that made me laugh from and Earl grey drinking dog lover who makes the best bread sauce .. but dresses for the weather, always dress accordingly, Darling :)))xxx
Lets do lunch its been so long !

Anonymous said...

I so agree.

How about driving too close to the the car in front of you in icy, snowy weather and being TOTALLY surprised that your brakes do not take normally?

Unfortunately my youngest now takes his tea with milk and is asking me to send what he calls proper builders' tea to him...

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Lawd, Helena, I'm British, and I probably didn't realise that we can be perceived as such - in terms of lack of interest in people - I use some of those expressions, admittedly, but I'm rarely not interested in those I'm speaking to... It's scary stuff - A great post, Helena! Thank you...x

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Bread sauce? I don't have a clue what that might be.

And I don't get the milk in tea either. I like my tea straight.

So Lovely said...

Brilliant. I'm an Australiasian who has lived in USA for almost 20 years. I find it hard around the holidays here as everything has to have crispy onions or marshmallows on the top. I like everything fresh and plain, preferably with no additives.

Sandy said...

Stopping by via Midlife Jobhunter. I see why she likes you! Another no-nonsense person like myself. Okay, what's bread sauce???

Helena Halme said...

This was just a light-hearted look at how alien some-one like me, after 25 plus years in another country, can feel. It wasn't meant to offend and I hope it didn't...

Midlife Jobhunter and Sandy - bread sauce is an accompaniment to roast chicken or turkey and made out of breadcrumbs, milk, cream onion and spices. I feel very foreign indeed when I am the only person around the table who doesn't have this at Christmas at my wonderful sister-in-law's!

Susan said...

Finland sounds lovely! Strong coffee, hot showers, and no bread sauce (whatever that may be).

Francoise Murat and Associates said...

I love this post - an honest observation of how we foreigners sometimes find things as they are in a foreign land. This definitely resonates with me - I don't think the English would or should take offence. After all a discussion about what makes us different is always enlightening, interesting, debatable and makes us learn about our quirks and others too. Great blog Helena.

Anna Maria said...

I love this post, esp the bit about houses and pets. The only point I disagree with is bread sauce, I do like it, providing it is homemade.

Anna Maria said...

I have recently made my own list (alas, not in English), and I included that truly awful invention that Brits so unreasonably cling to - separate taps. And horrible carpets and lino. Why do they resist mixer taps, lovely wooden or tiled floors?! when everyone else knows they are million times better?