“Be England what she will. With all her faults, she is my country still.”
Seeing as it is Saturday, and I probably will end up having a lazy day as I am still not feeling well, writing another blog post seemed the most productive thing to do!
So here it is, 5 very useful tips on how to stay feeling British while living in another country; all tried and tested in France.
1. Seek out a British food source. One of the most important things to do so that you feel at home while away, is to find somewhere that sells food items that are sold in Britain. Food is very important to me, so this was vital! I found a shop through word of mouth that sells several items such as heinz baked beans, bbq sauce, mint sauce, pataks curries and most importantly Cadbury’s drinking chocolate;much to my delight although at a slight cost! However, if this fails, make sure you mention to a family member or friend at home about how much you’re craving British junk food, and maybe your Dad will send you something like this:
2. Drink as much tea as you can. So before I came, one of things at the top of my list of ‘things to bring’ was teabags and a kettle. So along with my suitcase was an old kettle my parents had kept in the loft and a huge pack of 240 Tetley teabags. These have been an integral part of my stay here so far, as tea is a big part of British culture, or for my family at least. Whenever we’re round someone’s house, it’s “I’ll put the kettle on then.” And don’t forget your rich tea biscuits with that cuppa, you can’t have tea without some dunking action.
3. Get to know some fellow English speakers. This may seem silly because after all, I am supposed to be learning French here! However, it is surprising how relieving it can feel after a day full of French, to actually speak English and have people understand you, and be able to understand others completely too. It’s also nice to be able to share experiences with others who are in the same situation as you, and not have to worry about if you have said everything correctly, and did I get that conjugation of that tense right?!
4. Watch British TV programmes. I honestly don’t think I have ever watched so much TV in my entire lifetime. Seriously. Especially on days like today when my head is pounding and my nose is blocked and the only solution is to melt from the sight of puppies on Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs. Obviously, watching British catch up TV abroad isn’t as simple as it may seem, as it isn’t within licensing agreements to air British programmes to foreign countries, or something complicated like that… (damn us British for being so difficult!). But there is a simple solution! Get yourself a VPN blocker, and Voila! Catch up at your fingertips! Shhh though, we don’t want the BBC finding this out…
5. Annoy family and friends at home by calling and messaging them at all hours of the day (and night)! Okay, so this one might not necessarily make you feel ‘British’ per se. But it can make you feel more connected with your life at home and the people who you miss the most. Luckily, nowadays there are many means to do this including Skype and FaceTime, both of which are free when connected to WiFi, as everyone knows. But it also might be a good idea to get yourself set up with a mobile network provider that can give you great deals on international calls and texts. I went with Lycamobile’s ‘All in one’ tariff which means I get loads of international calls and also data to use when in France, so I can WhatsApp on the move too! But this also means that my boyfriend gets calls from me at 1 o’clock in the morning when he’s finishing work because I want someone to talk to. I would apologise but I know he likes it really.
There you are then! I hope these tips set you on your way to feeling more British than you ever have before, and failing that you could always just dress like the Queen herself, because you can’t get more British than that.