It's nice to visit, but don't try to live here...

This is a room for the discussion of travel plans or experiences and the culture of places you have visited or plan to visit.
White Belt
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:07 pm
Languages: English (N) & French (A2)
x 9

Re: It's nice to visit, but don't try to live here...

Postby ed_phelan » Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:28 pm

In all honesty, I feel this way about the UK...I have never been able to understand why it is viewed in such a positive light by those from outside the country.

We have miserable weather, a distinct lack of public spending- which has led to a year on year decrease in living standards. The class system also helps to ensure that those born outside of wealth will mostly have a lifetime of struggle and strife.
2 x

Blue Belt
Posts: 952
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:49 pm
Location: UK
Languages: English (native). French (studying).
Language Log: ... =15&t=7466
x 1376

Re: It's nice to visit, but don't try to live here...

Postby DaveBee » Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:41 pm

ed_phelan wrote: a distinct lack of public spending- which has led to a year on year decrease in living standards.
Using public spending figures from The Guardian.

1995-1996: GBP 311.4 billion, 42% of UK GDP.
2005-2006: GBP 523.7 billion, 41% of UK GDP.
2015-2016: GBP 744.7 billion. 42% of UK GDP.
0 x

Brown Belt
Posts: 1259
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:41 pm
x 984

Re: It's nice to visit, but don't try to live here...

Postby Bluepaint » Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:06 pm

Wading in with a no-politics reminder. We might not be quite there yet but we are teetering on the brink!
1 x

User avatar
Blue Belt
Posts: 840
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2016 1:24 pm
Location: Spain
Languages: German (N), English (C2), Spanish (B2-C1), French (B2+ passive), Italian (A2), Russian (Beginner)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=3235
x 2212

Re: It's nice to visit, but don't try to live here...

Postby blaurebell » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:22 pm

ed_phelan wrote:In all honesty, I feel this way about the UK...I have never been able to understand why it is viewed in such a positive light by those from outside the country.

It's because everyone seems to have BBC induced misconceptions about life in the UK. They usually dissipate rather quickly after spending some time in the country. I studied in England and I never felt so poor in my life! Unemployed bums in Germany live better than some of my friends who have stable jobs in the UK. In the UK I've seen people who couldn't divorce because they wouldn't know how to feed their children if they had two homes. Most people have to share their house, even though they have stable jobs. One Italian friend who had a relatively high paying job lived in one of the worst neighbourhoods of London just so that he could live alone. He was robbed on the street about once a week and only carried very little cash, because it was a regular occurrence. Granted, this was down south, Brighton, London, both very expensive, but from a "summer" up north in York (coldest summer of my life) I got the impression that things are even worse up there - the weather is worse and people don't seem to be able to afford heating their homes much. One of my friends grew up without heating altogether, 19th century style with a fireplace in one room of the house only. He was one of those people who always had to open the window because he was too hot. Living with him was torture for someone like me who always feels too cold. At some point I lived with a university lecturer who was 35 years old and who was just as poor as I was as a grad student. We didn't have any furniture. I could at least afford a proper mattress on the floor, but my flatmate slept on a blow-up mattress and I could always hear him turning on that thing through the wall. He had a desk and we had a couch downstairs, apart from that it was just boxes covered with bits of fabric to make it look less drab. Once someone from the charity shop came over and asked if we had any spare furniture. I opened the door a little wider and said: "No, do you?!" :lol: My flatmate worked 12h a day 7 days a week and they fired him at the end of every academic year to rehire him elsewhere the next year. My mantra during that time was "This is not my future ...". Another one of my flatmates was regularly cutting up a whole bag of onions to freeze them, because she wouldn't have been able to afford onions otherwise. Onions cost nothing!

After 4 years of living in poverty and perpetual cold with deteriorating health I had enough of it and left. I was just so sick of the mould in every house, arguing with my flatmates about the damn heating, the stolen food, not even being able to afford furniture and all the other stupid things that all added up to a few pretty miserable years. Frankly, living in the UK is wonderful if you have money, but who in the UK actually has any money?! I got a good education out of it, but frankly, I don't actually think it was worth it. I should have left much earlier than I did.

The funny thing is: People born in the UK normally don't even realise that they live in horrific living conditions. Everything is always "Not too bad!" You go to a pub with a bunch of friends. They serve you piss warm beer, the music is shit, the place stinks of toilets, there are drunk idiots harassing girls right at the next table + a few more annoyances. You can bet that one of your English friends will say: "This place is not too bad!" Mould in the house, heating always broken, neighbours keeping you up every night with their incessant fighting, flatmates stealing your food, seagulls nesting on the next roof screaming at 4am: "Oh this place is great, it has such a nice garden!" :roll: True story by the way ...!

Interestingly there is a phenomenon among foreigners living in the UK after having their BBC misconceptions shattered by real life: We called it "England bashing". We all complained about England every single day, because well, we lived in some rather horrific conditions. We didn't normally do it in front of the locals though, because that's not very polite ...!

You know what's extremely strange though? I miss England anyway, although I was really miserable there. I miss certain things, certain places, certain attitudes, having good English language bookshops. I miss my English university whenever I have to do paperwork at my German one. The down to earth solidarity I miss most! My German bank card once stopped working during a really rough winter and I was super broke. My friends loaned me money for 3 weeks without any complaint, evasion or questions! And when they ran out of money because of some unexpected situation, I gave them money and food too. But well, solidarity and poverty go hand in hand I guess, because everyone knows that they could be in the same situation tomorrow.

So, my ultimate nice place to visit is the UK. I have always loved it there and have been visiting England regularly since I was 12. I love the culture, their museums, their literature, their sense of humour, I love the landscape, I love their politeness and a whole lot more. Living there is pretty damn awful on a regular UK salary though! I always told myself that if they offered me a salary with which I can live there like a human being, I'd be back there in a flash. But well, if it hasn't happened 6 years later I doubt it'll ever happen, especially now after Brexit.
6 x
: 20 / 100 Дэвид Эддингс - В поисках камня
: 14325 / 35000 LWT Known

: 17 / 55 FSI Spanish Basic
: 100 / 116 GdUdE B
: 8 / 72 Duolingo reverse Spanish -> German

User avatar
Brown Belt
Posts: 1047
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:33 pm
Location: Boston
Languages: English (N), Japanese (approx. N5), Nansha (constructing).
x 1936

Re: It's nice to visit, but don't try to live here...

Postby Xenops » Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:27 pm

I've heard from a New Zealander that America seems to have lots of spare money, but I didn't think the difference between the U.S. and the UK would be that great. :(

I wonder how the Republic of Ireland is doing?

I remember reading an article about how Japanese girls hoped meet dashing British gentlemen like in the Jane Austen books and movies, and how sorely disappointed they were with today's British boys. :lol: That, and seeing pictures or films of old cottages covered with ivy, or the Disney movie "Candleshoe " has very idealistic depictions of the English country side, or the BBC films as mentioned by blaurebell, like "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". In America at least, we have very Romanticized ideas of Britain: where homes and buildings last for centuries, a place and time that isn't contaminated wit technology and plastic waste, where fast-food has no hold, where people dress and act as they wish, etc. Now are these realistic expectations? Probably not. I can only describe the UK as I imagine it in my head, not as it actually is (because I haven't been there in person).

An American acquaintance of mine is engaged to a British young man: the problem being she wants to move to the UK, and he wants to move to the U.S. I hope the attraction is more for the person than the promise of moving to his or her country.
0 x

User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 5110
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 4:18 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Languages: English (N)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1836
x 12645

Re: It's nice to visit, but don't try to live here...

Postby rdearman » Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:22 pm

OK, number of reports about politicisation of this thread. So I'm going to lock it. I realise given the topic, it is very difficult not to stray into politics.
0 x

Return to “Travel and Culture”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests