Things I’ve learned living in the UK – Is it really raining all the time? (part 1)

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I can’t believe that I’ve been living in England for over seven years now. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Well, some people would also say that time flies when you’re an adult. And apparently, the older you get, the faster it gets. Marking this ‘lucky’ number seven I’ve decided to put together a list of ‘Things I’ve learned living in the UK’ as a Slovakian expat.

Is it really piss*ng down all the time?

Things I've learned living in the UK for past seven years - Does it rain all the time?

Weeeeeell, yes and no. Especially over the past few years, I’ve noticed an improvement in the weather. This year we actually had a summer and thanks to lockdown I also got a better tan in our garden than I did during my three-weeks long trip to Bali. Winter in England is, however, another story. Winter in England sucks. It’s wet, boring, grey and seriously miserable. There is hardly any snow, there are no opportunities for skiing or another winter sports. Unless you consider jumping in paddles a winter sport?

And one more thing: When it’s raining in the UK, you often hear slang as pissing down, chucking down or spitting down. Get used to it.


There is a right and a wrong way how to make English tea!

Things I've learned living in the UK for past seven years - There is a right and a wrong way of making tea

Before coming to England, having tea with milk was a big no-no for me. I couldn’t get it, but I guess seven years is a long time to understand this weird British tradition. It’s odd, but I actually really like it! But did you know that you can easily mess it up? One thing I will never forget thanks to my friend and ex-manager June; I made her tea, and she hated it. She said that the teabag has to stay in hot water for at least three minutes. Then you put milk in it, and then you take the teabag out. So yeah, I guess you can mess up tea too, haha!

There is also one interesting fact I’ve noticed since living in the UK, that not every British person likes the tea!

Why is everybody asking if ‘You alright?’ 

You must have heard it like thousands of times. Catching a bus, alright mate? Paying for groceries, alright bud? Entering the office, you alright?

People are not actually asking if you are alright or if you’re okay. This is a British way of saying hello. They don’t want to know if you had a shitty morning, your blouse ripped on the way to bus, or you burnt your tongue on your too-hot coffee, ‘alright’ basically means ‘Hi’. So the best response to this is ‘Yeah, great, thanks, you?’


British people love football, rugby and cricket

Things I've learned living in the UK for past seven years - British people love football

If you’re coming from Europe like me and are used ice-hockey matches in a pub, simply forget about those. I’m not a big sports fan myself, so I will probably never understand their obsession with these sports, especially cricket. Is it some kind of type of baseball or what?

Plus, it seems like football never ends! Football starts in August and finishes in May, and that doesn’t include all those mini-leagues played during the summer months! And oh yeah, when football is on, they’re happy to block busy roads. I just don’t get it.


Xxx’s at the end of every sentence

When I first received a text message from my friend and she put lot’s of xxx at the end of the sentence, I didn’t get it. What does xxxx mean? I had to look it up on the Internet. Putting xxx’s at the end of Facebook messages, text messages, even emails is absolutely normal in England. It’s not flirting, it’s just the way they do things, sending a little bit of love. I picked up this habit as well, and now it’s become part of my daily life. Am I becoming more and more British or what?


If you’re an expat living in the UK and would love to share some of the things you’ve learned living in the UK, leave your comments below!


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