Expat Learnings

Things I’ve learned as an American expat in the UKoGBaNI #10


There are assholes and really nice people everywhere.

I’ve met some super great people in England and I’ve met some super giant assholes too. This is also true in the US but the lesson I’ve learned is that sometimes it is the cultural upbringing of a person which makes the person appear to be an asshole when really, their culture is just maybe a bit less friendly than the culture I was raised in and they aren’t an asshole at all, they’re just culturally unfriendly!

As a generality, Americans are friendly people. We say “sorry” if we bump into someone in an aisle at the grocery store. We move out of the way on the sidewalk so people can pass by. These two examples do not occur in England or in Europe. No one says sorry when they bump into you because if we all said sorry every time we bumped into another person, we would do nothing but spin around in circles all day long saying sorry.

People never move to the side on the sidewalk and this, I confess, I still cannot tolerate. So many times I’ve been walking down the sidewalk and three people walking side-by-side will be coming from the other direction and not one of them will step to the side to allow me to pass – they just keep walking side-by-side and, until recently, I would step to the side to allow them to pass. Now I just stop walking and stand there like a linebacker and they just plow right into me.

I’ve had kids’ heads plow into the grocery bags I’ve been carrying all because their mother refused to step aside with her gaggle of children to allow people from the other direction to pass on the sidewalk.

For the next learning in my Expat Learnings mini series, go here. Alternatively, go here to read this mini-series from the beginning.

3 comments on “Things I’ve learned as an American expat in the UKoGBaNI #10

  1. It seriously blows my mind that’s acceptable behavior anywhere.

  2. Ohhhhh! This one would really piss me off! They would have to get ready for some downright dirty potty mouth!!!

  3. This happened to me in Cub this weekend! When said ‘European’ wouldn’t move, I stood there and then laughed…Mostly because it was awkward to be face to face w/someone trying to win the war on the walking path, but after I started laughing, she sure moved on over!

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