Expat Magazine

Why I'm Practicing for England

By Expatmum @tonihargis
So, I have my flights booked for my annual (except I missed last year) trip to the homeland. In preparation for the inevitable weight gain that comes with not working out for a month and eating and drinking my way around the UK, I plan to lose a few pounds, but that's just the start of my prep list.
Getting used to being hungry. Not that I don't get fed in the UK, - quite the reverse - but meals are so much later than they are here, my stomach sometimes thinks my throat's been cut. Here, we eat lunch at noon, on the dot; when we're in England it can sometimes be 2pm before a morsel is seen. Dinner here is never later than 7pm whereas in England sometimes it's 8pm before it's even mentioned.
Sleeping in the daylight. In the north of England, where I spend most of my time, it's still broad daylight at 10pm and the sun comes back out at a criminal 4am. I like it dark in my bedroom, which tends not to happen in the UK. Must remember to pack one of those sleeping masks and hope I don't wake up with elastic marks on the side of my face.
Recognizing coins. I shall have to go online and make sure I'm up to date with the UK coinage. A few years ago I handed over a 50p and the man behind the counter laughed, gave it back to me and told me it had been out of circulation for about five years. Very embarrassing. Even more embarrassing having to inspect each coin before paying for anything like someone who's just landed from a different planet (which in some respects I have). The fact that I have an English accent makes for some confusion and I can almost hear people wondering why on earth I don't recognize my own legal tender.
Teaching my kids how to eat. Well, sprucing up their table manners so that they don't show me up. Like many Americans, they treat as much food as they can as finger food, use a fork if pressed and rarely touch the knife that I always put out for them. (The triumph of hope over experience.) While I explain to Brits that it's not rude in the US to eat with the fork in the right hand, in reality, it makes for a much easier life if they just eat Brit-style while they're over there.
Why I'm Practicing for England
And while I'm on the subject of manners, I should also remind them to say "Please" about ten times more than they do, and not to say "he" or "she" when the person in question is standing right in front of them, unless they want to give grandma a heart attack!
Have I left anything out I wonder.

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