So I have been living in the UK, England specifically, for 3 months now. Life, in general, is good and I am loving it here for the most part. But there are some odd things which just make my cancuckistani head shake. So here are some observations of life in the UK, from a Canadian perspective:
- Buying over the counter pain medication, like Advil or Aspirin, is quite the trial. In Canada we’re so used to just walking in and getting a bottle of 50-72 tablets of whatever and the cashier & pharmacist not batting an eyelash. Here you can packets of 6 or 12 and no more than 3 packets at a time, and the cashier cannot sell it to you without the pharmacist’s okay, even though there is no prescription required. The UK is very much a nanny-state when it comes to people trying to self-medicate themselves .. the premise being that they want to make sure that people do not have enough to overdose. I find this odd and rather patronizing. I mean, we are adults, if we are stupid enough to accidently overdose it’s our fault. And if we want to kill ourselves there’s nothing stopping is from going from shop to shop getting enough to do the dead. But oh well. I can cope.
- I have allergies so I take an antihistamine. The one I took in Canada was Allegra-D, it’s the only one that is lactose-free. In the UK it is sold under a different name – Telfast – and you need a doctor’s prescription to get it.
- You need to sign up with a GP, no biggie, except they all seem to function on the premise that people can easily come in before 5pm for an appointment. Many people work, so finding a GP that is open past 6pm is really hard. I found one. Now the trick is to find one that is also open on Saturday. I guess I was spoilt in this regard, when I lived in Toronto. If I had a UTI I could go to a walk-in clinic 7-days a week and get taken care of.
- It’s much easier to buy healthy food in the UK. In Canadian grocery stores if you are a single person buying most products in the stores is difficult. Chicken tends to be packed with 4 breasts or 4 legs minimum. Same with pork chops etc. Everything is usually packaged with the family in mind. I can easily walk into my ASDA and get enough minced meat for just me & Munkie for a single meal. There is less wastage this way. Same goes for other items. I can purchase small packs of eggs and not feel like I am being robbed.
- The UK, unlike Canada, seems to be obsessed with Genetically Modified Foods and most consumers will not purchase the stuff. There is a requirement for food to be labeled properly so that people can make informed decisions.
- There’s a big drive here to eat UK local produce. Especially now that there’s a scandal over multi-nationals such as Starbucks and Amazon and McDonald’s not paying their fair share of income tax.
- There’s booze in the grocery stores.
- Buses, especially in more rural areas (ie. Anything outside of London), are a pain to deal with. Does not matter if you are standing by the bus stop, unless you wave your hand to flag the bus driver he/she will not stop. This happened to me in Lyndhurst out there in Hampshire. I was told by friends that it didn’t matter that I was by the bus stop, because I didn’t wave it was my fault the bus driver didn’t stop. Thankfully Munkie was able to pick me up.
- Flapjacks are what we call granola bars in Canada.
- I’m trying to get used to the fact that most houses do not have a tree in their front yard, atleast on the south coast in Hampshire. All this barrenness is very unnerving for me.
- Some of the biggest talking points for people are the price of commuting by train, and heating costs. Those of you in Canada be thankful that your heating costs are heavily subsidized by the government.
- The Great British Bake Off is AMAZING!!!
- I’ve become addicted to a reality programme – 24 Hours in A&E – it’s a programme that looks at the ER department at King’s College Hospital in London, and each episode is a single day in the life of the ER department, speaking to patients, their loved ones, the staff.
So in general life here is pretty good. Would I move back to Canada? At this point I’d say no, there is a tone of stuff to explore here, and life can be interesting here. But I do miss my Momma Bean and my friends.