5# Things that are surprisingly hard to do once you move to (or visit) England

1 – throwing out trash

This task is hard for two different reasons. Firstly in big cities like London it is really hard to find a trash bin throw out your trash. This is really annoying for people that live there but also for tourists. If you need to find a trash bin, your best chance is to go to a public park. Secondly, the residents in England can only put their domestic trash out once a week and the recycling bags once every other week. For me this is not really a problem because we are just two in our house, but I can image that for a family of four or five people this is a nightmare.

2 – saying “hey mate” and other colloquial expressions

I have been studying English since I was eight years old and I am even doing my masters in English back in Portugal, but it is still really hard for me to use colloquial expressions in a convincing way. Expressions like “Hey mate” or “Bless” are very often used by all of my friends and co-workers but it sound really strange when I try to use them.

 3 – crossing the street

It is no surprise that in England people drive in the left side of the road. So it is hard to cross the street if you are used to look out for cars driving in the right lane. But that was not what surprised me once I moved to England, the truly hard thing to do when you want to cross the street is finding a place to do it. In England is almost impossible to find a zebra crossing and even in places where you see a small ramp in the sidewalk for wheelchairs, those are not a sign that you can cross the street in there and expect the cars to stop and let you pass. The only rare places where you can cross safely are at traffic lights, or the even rarer places where there are two bright lamp posts on either side of the sidewalk indicate that you have priority and cars must stop to let you pass.

4 – to eat non-spicy food

I know that India was an English colony so there were a strong cultural influence in both countries, but I would never guess how hard it is to find non-spicy food to eat in restaurants. From many curries to mexican food, or even chinese or italian food, there are always many dishes in the restaurants menus that are spicy. I guess many people will think of this as a good thing, but if you don’t like any kind of spicy food like me, it is really frustrating to see entire meals that look delicious except for the detail that they will make your mouth burn for many hours if you try them.

5 – Being able to eat dinner out

Still in the “eating out” category, to be able to eat in a restaurant for dinner is a true odyssey. I am not even referring to the ridiculously high prices in restaurants (it is almost impossible to go out for a meal and pay less that 15 pounds, which is more or less 21 euros). I am referring to two other facts. Firstly, you always have to make a reservation with some time in advance (from one week in advance to some hours, depending on the restaurant – not mentioning the ones I don’t go to because I am not a billionaire). You can say goodbye to your spontaneity. Secondly, if you think you can go to have dinner at 10pm (or event 9pm) you will be truly disappointed. In England it is perfectly normal to have dinner at 6h30pm or 7pm. If the restaurant is full until 9pm, they may ask you if you don’t mind to go at 9pm but they always say that in a very apologetic way, almost as if they were committing a capital sin. This is really strange for me since I am used to have dinner at 9h30pm or going out for a dinner with friends at 10pm in Portugal.
If you have any cool explanation for these things I found to be really strange since I moved to England, or you have more “Things that are surprisingly hard to do once you moved to (or visit) England” please share them by writing a comment!



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