You could say I’ve been an immigrant/expat for quite a bit. Twenty-nine years to be exact. Let’s rewind back to 1989 when my family arrived in England. I was 10 years old. The whole cultural shock was difficult to adjust to. I had to learn a new language. Make some new friends. Basically fit into something that is so completely different from what I was used to.
Having lived in the UK for the majority of my life, I would consider myself more British than Filipino. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not disregarding my heritage. But over the years I have adapted to the British attitude and way of life. So, when we moved to Valencia I missed things that most Brits would. From the traditional Sunday roast to having a good cup of tea.
Friends and family often wonder why we get so excited when visiting the UK. I have to remind them that it’s something different for us. Similar to people who seek the sun and relaxation when they come to Spain. We love the feel of familiarity when we visit England.
So with this in mind, I thought I’d write a few things. Starting with what I miss the most about living in England, and what I definitely do not miss. Nope, not even one bit!
What I Miss
Every time I visit the UK, I’m always in awe of the beautiful green patchwork that makes up the countryside. The winding roads, and, of course, the Yorkshire Dales. It brings back many fond memories when we use to have days out to visit historic centres with the kids.
On some weekends I would rather settle for a nice roast dinner with all the trimmings than a paella. Sometimes even having full English breakfast takes a little more effort. Semi-decent fish and chips are non-existent, unless of course, we travel to Benidorm. But it’s a long way to go just to have something that doesn’t really compare to the real thing.
Whether having lunch in the beer garden on a beautiful summers day. Sitting in front of a fireplace while having a drink or two in the winter. Where else would you find an authentic beef and ale pie? British pubs are charming, and it’s something I look forward to and appreciate every time I take a trip back home.
As beautiful as they are, Spanish tiles, and stone floors doesn’t exactly fill me with a cosy feeling of home. They might be practical during the summer months but not so homely during the winter time.
High-street or online shopping, I love them both! I particularly miss the brands that I can’t get here in Valencia. Including River Island, Next, Dorothy Perkins, Tesco, Boots, M&S, oh the list can go on!
Chocolates here in Spain doesn’t compare to the vast amount choice in the UK . Every time I visit I make sure that I come back with enough stock to last for at least 3 months. M&Ms, Kinder, no thanks! Give me Cadburys anytime!
Some parts of Spain are so behind that it takes around 2-3 days to receive a post that comes from the next town! Or sometimes (in our case) it doesn’t come at all! I love how ‘Same Day Delivery’ or better yet ‘1 Hour Delivery’ is now available in the UK. I’m so jealous!!!
Oh to be able to speak my own language with ease! I’ve mentioned my struggles with learning Spanish, so it’s lovely to hear a familiar language, and that unmistakable British sarcasm and humour.
What I Don’t Miss
The greyness, the drizzle, and the gloominess that comes with it all. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind rain and I love winter but in moderation. But the unpredictability of the British weather made it difficult to plan things to do outdoors. There were times when I felt like I was literally living in my coat all year round.
It’s hot, moan about it. It’s raining, moan about it. Queuing for more than two minutes, moan about it. It’s known that British people like a good old moan, myself included. But sometimes being around cynical people and situations can literally suck the happiness and what ever bit of positivity I have left!
Before I even leave the airport, I’ve already spent over £10 on things that my son wanted for snacks! I’m amazed at how expensive normal things can be, such as a cup of coffee. I paid over £13 for 3 cups. Three cups that usually cost around €4.50 in my hometown!
The unmistakable smell of Eau-de-weed/pee/vomit. The impromptu fights over who’s looking at who the wrong way. I don’t miss that at all!
My last experience of British traffic; what should have taken 15 minutes, took an hour an a half to get to.
Valentines Day, Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Shops start months before the actual event. The constant brainwashing of ‘things you need’ is overwhelming.
Drinking & Drug Culture
Last year I was surprised to see the how many ambulances and police were on standby to handle drunken revellers out in Birmingham. Not to mention a couple of people that my 10-year-old and I witnessed sprawled out on the floor then being carried off by the police. Lovely!
BREXIT. The less said about it the better.
As much as I miss things back in England, it’s also nice live the lifestyle we wanted here in Valencia. I love the culture, the sunshine, the choices of beaches, the people, and the relaxed way of life. Would I give this all up to go back to England? Maybe not. But of course I never say never.
At this moment we are enjoying it. As with many good things in life, sometimes you have to make a few sacrifices. For us, Valencia is a great place to live for a better quality of life and a perfect place to raise a family. Are you an expat? What do you miss about your home country? Please let me know on the comments below. 😊