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Postby adam917 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:37 am

What a pleasant surprise to see a thread by someone who seems pretty knowledgeable about the UK & what I should expect upon going there. I extend a very warm welcome to you, BellaRuth! I hope you stay around. No need to apologise about the long posts as far as I'm concerned, as I hope to someday spend some time in the UK and see the 2012 (I pronounce that as 'two thousand and twelve' BTW - like any other number which the year simply is a number/quantity ;-) ) Olympics in person. Maybe it's me being from right smack dab in the middle of the northeastern US combined with my love for dance music that has me so 'into' the UK, or at least what I have experienced of it on-line. I'm a fan of electronic music, especially trance, and regularly listen to the Essential Mix as well as the Essential Selection at times, so I have some sense of familiarity with the BBC. I also watch Horizon when I can. As a technologist, I really like the competition the UK seems to have with their mobile phone environment. Since 2003 I have been using 'UK' spellings as much as possible and even some pronunciation (I think it's RP mixed with some 'Estuary'), depending on where I am and how I am doing.

I do feel I need a reality check from someone who lives there and knows it well though. I bet that considering that many Britons want out of their country, there has to be plenty of negative points besides just finances. Sure the negatives may be different than the US but I bet there are just as many and if I am unaware of them, I may be in for a very rude awakening if I go there for longer than a typical holiday with expectations. That being said, I would like to know how different are the UK's largest cities from equivalents in the northeast US like Boston, NYC, Philly, and DC. Heck if you feel inclined, you can leave NYC out of the equation as it's very likely in a class by itself for obvious reasons (it's basically 5 full-sized cities combined together!).

Again, warm welcome to you, BellaRuth!
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Postby Shokkers » Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:11 pm

Hi again...yeah, I've been to the northern parts of Spain...(something like 25 years ago) but I didn't think it was all that...it wasn't bad, just mountainous and kind of cold.
I would really like to go back to Amsterdam, if it wasn't freezing for a lot of the year.
Maybe you'd like Sicily or Southern France?

Heh. Brits don't just get drunk in Southern Spain, they get drunk everywhere. I work in Las Vegas and Orlando and we get all kinds of Brits.
But most are really cool, I find.
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Postby BellaRuth » Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:05 pm

Shokkers wrote:Hi again...yeah, I've been to the northern parts of Spain...(something like 25 years ago) but I didn't think it was all that...it wasn't bad, just mountainous and kind of cold.
I would really like to go back to Amsterdam, if it wasn't freezing for a lot of the year.
Maybe you'd like Sicily or Southern France?

Heh. Brits don't just get drunk in Southern Spain, they get drunk everywhere. I work in Las Vegas and Orlando and we get all kinds of Brits.
But most are really cool, I find.


I'm going to try Southern France for sure.

About Brits getting drunk anywhere- true, true! But it was EMBARRASSING for me in the Costa Del Sol. I contemplated faking a Swedish accent or something. I also want to experience some sort of Spanish culture- not just see fish 'n' chips and mock pubs everywhere I go. And that's coming from someone who hates paella.
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Postby BellaRuth » Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:19 pm

adam917 wrote:I do feel I need a reality check from someone who lives there and knows it well though. I bet that considering that many Britons want out of their country, there has to be plenty of negative points besides just finances. Sure the negatives may be different than the US but I bet there are just as many and if I am unaware of them, I may be in for a very rude awakening if I go there for longer than a typical holiday with expectations. That being said, I would like to know how different are the UK's largest cities from equivalents in the northeast US like Boston, NYC, Philly, and DC. Heck if you feel inclined, you can leave NYC out of the equation as it's very likely in a class by itself for obvious reasons (it's basically 5 full-sized cities combined together!).


Hi Adam and thanks for the welcome.

I didn't realise dance music wasn't popular in America, but now I think of it, the only music imports we get from the US are pop/rap. I think dance music is a big thing right across Europe.

I can't compare British cities to American ones unfortunately as I haven't been there, but I can try to give you my overview of the negatives of the UK, as someone who also wants out. Hmmm...

- Bad weather. We can get gorgeous hot sunny days, but we never know when they are coming, and then it can turn round and rain for three weeks straight. There's never any guarantee of a summer but you can guarantee the winter will be long and horrible. The worst thing is the clouds. If we had proper seasons it would be more tolerable, but we get a lot of cloud coverage and it makes everything look dismal and makes you feel dismal. It's awful getting out of a long winter and waiting for the summer to arrive... then you realise it's October again and it's just not going to come this year. It also restricts your social life. People in Finland go out in the snow and have saunas and ski and whatever they do up there, but what are you going to do on a cloudy grey rainy day? Stay in and watch TV and eat comfort food, which isn't a good way to live your life. The upside is, on a sunny day we go absolutely nuts, you'd think you was in the Bahamas. You get teenage boys walking down the streets of middle England with their tops off and everyone has a big barbecue in their gardens inviting round all their friends, and it's only 20 degrees. I'm just as bad. I see a glimpse of sunshine and I put a flower in my hair, blast out some Bob Marley and find a dress that would be more appropriate in a beach party just to go round the corner and get a loaf of bread.

- Financial issues. Taxes are high, jobs are almost unbelievably hard to find and, basically, you need to sell yourself into lifelong slavery to the bank to be able to get a cupboard to live in and an old car. I can't imagine EVER being able to afford the most modest house. I passed my driving license years ago and have never been able to afford a car and all the taxes that go with it, let alone petrol (gas). Take my sister for example. She didn't go to college, she went straight into work, as she wanted to get into sales and a degree isn't necessary for that. She has been working full-time since she was 16. Now she is 33 with a husband and two young children, and a very decent-paying sales job, yet is always crying scared she will be made homeless, what with the mortgage repayments, the upkeep of the cars, childcare costs (she desperately wants to look after them herself but can't afford to give up work) and basic food costs. She has a very tiny house that isn't really big enough for them at all and no garden to speak of but she'll have to be struggling to pay for it for years. I'm not going down that road.

- Alcohol issues. If you don't drink, it can be difficult to socialise (I know, I don't drink)! Friday and Saturday nights can be really bad in some areas. You're pretty much expected, in a lot of social groups, to spend all your wages on 'getting wasted' at the weekend, sleep in all Sunday, back to the office on Monday and do it all again next weekend. Obviously there can be violence as well, over nothing.

- 'Chav' culture. Not entirely sure how to describe a 'chav', I suppose it is a type of 'underclass' person (although the class system here is not dependent on money, so you can be a millionaire and still a chav, but this will get complicated). They rarely work and survive off benefits, spending their day watching TV, drinking, swearing and, presumably, avoiding mirrors and soaps. Often overweight and loud and just... intimidating. Fond of sports gear although it's obvious they've never had an interest in fitness. The worst kind have a pram with them, which is often, as they have kids in order to get more money from the government. Really, really depressing sight on the street. It's not snobbery, it's just revolting. I'm going to show you photo evidence:

Image

This is actually a character from a comedy show, but in some parts of the UK, you might not be able to tell if this was a real pic!

Think that sums it up for me!

EDIT: I'm painting a horrid picture of the UK here. I actually like my country and we have a lot of positives here. There are loads of lovely people do who take care of themselves and raise their children well, we have lots of beautiful places etc... my main problem is to get a decent quality of life here, I'd have be be a billionaire. And I'm not asking for much, I think most of what I want will come automatically if I go somewhere else in Europe.
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Postby adam917 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:44 pm

BellaRuth wrote:
adam917 wrote:I do feel I need a reality check from someone who lives there and knows it well though. I bet that considering that many Britons want out of their country, there has to be plenty of negative points besides just finances. Sure the negatives may be different than the US but I bet there are just as many and if I am unaware of them, I may be in for a very rude awakening if I go there for longer than a typical holiday with expectations. That being said, I would like to know how different are the UK's largest cities from equivalents in the northeast US like Boston, NYC, Philly, and DC. Heck if you feel inclined, you can leave NYC out of the equation as it's very likely in a class by itself for obvious reasons (it's basically 5 full-sized cities combined together!).


Hi Adam and thanks for the welcome.

I didn't realise dance music wasn't popular in America, but now I think of it, the only music imports we get from the US are pop/rap. I think dance music is a big thing right across Europe.

I can't compare British cities to American ones unfortunately as I haven't been there, but I can try to give you my overview of the negatives of the UK, as someone who also wants out. Hmmm...

- Bad weather. We can get gorgeous hot sunny days, but we never know when they are coming, and then it can turn round and rain for three weeks straight. There's never any guarantee of a summer but you can guarantee the winter will be long and horrible. The worst thing is the clouds. If we had proper seasons it would be more tolerable, but we get a lot of cloud coverage and it makes everything look dismal and makes you feel dismal. It's awful getting out of a long winter and waiting for the summer to arrive... then you realise it's October again and it's just not going to come this year. It also restricts your social life. People in Finland go out in the snow and have saunas and ski and whatever they do up there, but what are you going to do on a cloudy grey rainy day? Stay in and watch TV and eat comfort food, which isn't a good way to live your life. The upside is, on a sunny day we go absolutely nuts, you'd think you was in the Bahamas. You get teenage boys walking down the streets of middle England with their tops off and everyone has a big barbecue in their gardens inviting round all their friends, and it's only 20 degrees. I'm just as bad. I see a glimpse of sunshine and I put a flower in my hair, blast out some Bob Marley and find a dress that would be more appropriate in a beach party just to go round the corner and get a loaf of bread.

- Financial issues. Taxes are high, jobs are almost unbelievably hard to find and, basically, you need to sell yourself into lifelong slavery to the bank to be able to get a cupboard to live in and an old car. I can't imagine EVER being able to afford the most modest house. I passed my driving license years ago and have never been able to afford a car and all the taxes that go with it, let alone petrol (gas). Take my sister for example. She didn't go to college, she went straight into work, as she wanted to get into sales and a degree isn't necessary for that. She has been working full-time since she was 16. Now she is 33 with a husband and two young children, and a very decent-paying sales job, yet is always crying scared she will be made homeless, what with the mortgage repayments, the upkeep of the cars, childcare costs (she desperately wants to look after them herself but can't afford to give up work) and basic food costs. She has a very tiny house that isn't really big enough for them at all and no garden to speak of but she'll have to be struggling to pay for it for years. I'm not going down that road.

- Alcohol issues. If you don't drink, it can be difficult to socialise (I know, I don't drink)! Friday and Saturday nights can be really bad in some areas. You're pretty much expected, in a lot of social groups, to spend all your wages on 'getting wasted' at the weekend, sleep in all Sunday, back to the office on Monday and do it all again next weekend. Obviously there can be violence as well, over nothing.

- 'Chav' culture. Not entirely sure how to describe a 'chav', I suppose it is a type of 'underclass' person (although the class system here is not dependent on money, so you can be a millionaire and still a chav, but this will get complicated). They rarely work and survive off benefits, spending their day watching TV, drinking, swearing and, presumably, avoiding mirrors and soaps. Often overweight and loud and just... intimidating. Fond of sports gear although it's obvious they've never had an interest in fitness. The worst kind have a pram with them, which is often, as they have kids in order to get more money from the government. Really, really depressing sight on the street. It's not snobbery, it's just revolting. I'm going to show you photo evidence:

Image

This is actually a character from a comedy show, but in some parts of the UK, you might not be able to tell if this was a real pic!

Think that sums it up for me!

EDIT: I'm painting a horrid picture of the UK here. I actually like my country and we have a lot of positives here. There are loads of lovely people do who take care of themselves and raise their children well, we have lots of beautiful places etc... my main problem is to get a decent quality of life here, I'd have be be a billionaire. And I'm not asking for much, I think most of what I want will come automatically if I go somewhere else in Europe.


OK so the non-weather negatives sound like how it is here. Chav would be similar to a welfare queen (the folks who live off government benefits and have kids just for more money) here, I guess.

Weather-wise, I for one am unusual in that I hate anything above 25 °C which excludes most of my own country during the summer and don't mind cold weather much as it's easy to just throw on more clothes. This year, we here in Philly are already getting 30s every day (and 20s since mid-March) and summer doesn't even start till 21 June. I am not looking forward to it one bit. I would like rain more if I weren't such a techy person who walks around with so many electronics that water obviously can damage. Read my PM and you'll see a bit more about that.

Other stuff, I do not drive and don't intend on doing so unless the total cost of owning a vehicle comes way down. Even here in the US, with cheap petrol, insurance premiums are very high and you need a job just to pay for a car if you own one. I use public transport exclusively for local travel and the bus or train for any longer trips I do, which I have few of and have gone only as far (north) as Quebec City.

I see no point in owning a house if after you pay it off, the government still ultimately owns it anyway via taxes, so why not just rent forever or even get a mobile home/caravan/RV if you can drive one unless one is filthy rich & can afford to pay those taxes every year forever?

I'm interested in hearing more about reality over there in this day and age. Keep it coming if you can. :-)
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Postby momopi » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:14 pm

I'm a big fan of Little Briton! Highly recommended show!

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Postby Winston » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:26 pm

Hi BellaRuth,
More questions about dating in the UK.

Do British girls require that a man be at least 5ft 9 to be considered "dating material" like most US girls do?

And is it true that they tend to like to go Dutch?

What is the best way to meet girls in the UK? At pubs? By joining certain events? Online? Is it easy to chat them up on the street or in public places and invite them to coffee or exchange emails/phone numbers? Or is that considered kinda creepish in your society?

Thanks.
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Postby BellaRuth » Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:07 pm

Winston wrote:Hi BellaRuth,
More questions about dating in the UK.

Do British girls require that a man be at least 5ft 9 to be considered "dating material" like most US girls do?

And is it true that they tend to like to go Dutch?

What is the best way to meet girls in the UK? At pubs? By joining certain events? Online? Is it easy to chat them up on the street or in public places and invite them to coffee or exchange emails/phone numbers? Or is that considered kinda creepish in your society?

Thanks.


Hi Winston.

Nah, its fine to date a shorter man. For example, my boyfriend is about 5 foot 8, my sister's husband is about the same (maybe shorter)! It's not a big deal. I think it's nature that makes a taller man look more imposing and protective, but it's not that important. We do have lots of tall men here, though- 5 foot 9 is very average, and most girls are about 5ft 5 or 6.

As for going Dutch (I hope it means same here as there, paying equally for a meal, right?) yes I'd say most feel more comfortable doing that. I'd certainly want to pay half, I'd feel cheeky expecting the man to pay full price- but if you insist, she will probably think it's sweet and that you are being a gentleman and will agree to it.

Well as for me/the girls I know, we met our partners on the same course as us (i.e. university or something) or in a pub. I think those are the best places to meet girls. I've had a couple of guys come up to me in the street but it's not recommended as a tactic. I don't think it's necessarily 'creepish' but it just feels like it's not the right venue for that kind of thing, I think it's more etiquette- people are busy doing their shopping, going to places, you're not 'meant' to disturb their personal space. Another thing is, in the UK we don't really have 'dating' which you do in the US, although we are adopting it slowly. Here you meet a guy, get to know him as a friend, then comes this big decision where you say 'we're boyfriend and girlfriend'. So the idea of going straight out with a guy you don't know seems too... I dunno. Too formal, too fast! It's as if you are almost his girlfriend and you don't even know his favourite colour yet. And the thought of 'dating' more than one man is unthinkable, so you need to just choose one to get serious with. That makes it quite a big decision, going out with a man in the street, you need more evidence to take that step. Hope this makes sense. It CAN be done, but it is quite rare to hear of a couple that met together over the frozen pea section.

So your best bet would be to meet girls as friends FIRST then try to upgrade. Go to some societies/do some activities or something, whatever floats your boat. A study course would be great if you want to learn a new skill/language as you get to meet a lot of new people. And take advantage of the pub and club culture, they pretty much have the purpose of bringing men and women together. In a pub or club you can usually just walk straight up to a stranger, it's like a 'designated area' for that kind of thing. Don't be nervous, she'll probably be expecting some attention anyway, all girls get chatted up in clubs- some go out especially in the hope a man will come up to them. Even if you don't hit it off she'll be really flattered, unless she's a total *****, which you can tell from a mile off.

Hope this helps!
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Postby Winston » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:37 am

Dear Bella,

I was wondering.

First, how come you don't use the word "bloody" in your speech like a lot of people from the UK do? Do only certain types of people use that term?

Second, do you mind if I quote some of your comments about America in the first page of this thread, in my "foreigner/immigrant views of America" page here http://www.happierabroad.com/ebook/Page32.htm ?

Third, a lot of guys here, and a lot of expats too, assume that if you are a good looking or cute girl and you go to the US and get hit on by lots of guys and showered with attention, that you will consider it a very friendly place and love it. Is that true from a female perspective?

I mean, if you went to America, and really did get a lot of attention there from lonely guys who want to know you and date you if possible, would you consider it a "paradise" where you have lots of options and are desired and therefore treated well? Some guys assume that you would, because they would if they were in a culture where lots of women wanted them.

Is that a fallacy? I assume that women do not consider a country to be a "paradise" just cause they get a lot of attention and dates from men, and that they don't evaluate it that way.

What is your take on that? And would most of your girl friends like a place just cause they got a lot of attention from men?
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Postby BellaRuth » Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:19 pm

Winston wrote:First, how come you don't use the word "bloody" in your speech like a lot of people from the UK do? Do only certain types of people use that term?


I'm a big fan of the word 'bloody'. I use it a lot in real life. It's a very popular, useful word here and used by all different types of people. It emphasises something without making you sound too angry or coarse. It's quite a jokey word, usually. I'm just more thoughtful and formal, I guess, when I write.

Second, do you mind if I quote some of your comments about America in the first page of this thread, in my "foreigner/immigrant views of America" page here http://www.happierabroad.com/ebook/Page32.htm ?


Sure!

Third, a lot of guys here, and a lot of expats too, assume that if you are a good looking or cute girl and you go to the US and get hit on by lots of guys and showered with attention, that you will consider it a very friendly place and love it. Is that true from a female perspective?

What is your take on that? And would most of your girl friends like a place just cause they got a lot of attention from men?


Hmmm. Personally I wouldn't see it as a big deal. I imagine I was single- and would go to America and have lots of attention- yeah, it would be great. More options for me. But it would be short-lived. I'd choose the best guy and I'd be happy, and the extra attention would be flattering but wouldn't lead to anything. I'd care more about other things.

If I was more into casual relationships, perhaps I'd like it more. I can't see any girls I know being bothered about whether a place has lots of interested men or not. I don't think it's hard to find a good man, really, and once you've got one you're sorted. It's great to know that men like you and think you are pretty, but it's just a bonus. General quality of life is more important, I think.
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Postby jamesbond » Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:16 pm

BellaRuth wrote:
Winston wrote:First, how come you don't use the word "bloody" in your speech like a lot of people from the UK do? Do only certain types of people use that term?


I'm a big fan of the word 'bloody'. I use it a lot in real life. It's a very popular, useful word here and used by all different types of people. It emphasises something without making you sound too angry or coarse. It's quite a jokey word, usually. I'm just more thoughtful and formal, I guess, when I write.


Bloody hell! I am glad you like the word "bloody" it's not used here in the US even though I think it's an interesting word to use sometimes. Other British words that I think are interesting are; cheers, smashing (as in "that is just smashing") and fancy (as in "fancy that"). :D
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Postby BellaRuth » Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:23 pm

jamesbond wrote: Other British words that I think are interesting are; cheers, smashing (as in "that is just smashing") and fancy (as in "fancy that"). :D


Haha. We don't really say 'smashing', but all the others are used regularly.

My personal favourite is 'bollocks'. It's a very good word if something goes wrong.
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Postby jamesbond » Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:55 pm

BellaRuth wrote:
jamesbond wrote: Other British words that I think are interesting are; cheers, smashing (as in "that is just smashing") and fancy (as in "fancy that"). :D


Haha. We don't really say 'smashing', but all the others are used regularly.

My personal favourite is 'bollocks'. It's a very good word if something goes wrong.


What about the term "clap trap" is that ever used anymore in Britain? Or how about "keep a stiff upper lip" is that ever used anymore? :D
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Postby BellaRuth » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:13 pm

jamesbond wrote:What about the term "clap trap" is that ever used anymore in Britain? Or how about "keep a stiff upper lip" is that ever used anymore? :D


Hmmm. They're not regularly used, but they are still current. If someone said 'clap trap' it wouldn't sound strange to me. The latter is only used as a joke.
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Postby gsjackson » Sat Jun 12, 2010 2:38 pm

Given your criteria, Bella, you really should take a look at Croatia. Much cheaper than the UK and western Europe. For example, I spent three weeks in a quite satisfactory hotel room with a balcony overlooking a spectacular view of the Adriatic for 75 euro a day (about 97 USD right now). Probably would have paid four times as much on the Mediterranean, which has nothing on the Adriatic for beautiful scenery and weather. Croatia isn't part of the EU system yet, and the exchange rate of the pound and krona is very favorable.

The climate is excellent. Mild winters, and while it can get hot in the summer, it's a relatively dry heat and not uncomfortable.

The coastline might be the most beautiful country I have ever seen, especially from Split to Dubrovnik.

The people are terrific -- friendly, hard-working, competent, attractive. Most of them aren't particularly happy about what they regard as wage-slave status in the current form of market capitalism, and mourn the passing of Tito-style communism and Balkan unification, but they plug along each day with a fair degree of contentment. No problem at all getting by in English, which most Croatians are very motivated to learn. Most of them speak a little, many are quite fluent. The country gets a lot of tourism, and the road signs are posted in English and German, as well as Croatian. Only downside I could see about the people -- a lot of them drive like maniacs.

And as an aside to most of the readers of this forum: the women are spectacular. It's hard to return to the U.S. after spending some time in Croatia.
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