A compulsion to apologise even when it isn’t your fault.
A child has just pushed your child over. It’s totally unprovoked. You are fuming! You dust your child down and look for the parent of the offending child. It’s in no way your fault but before confronting the Mum, you have the overwhelming compulsion to start with ‘I’m very sorry but…”
The disappointment of no snow at Christmas
Even though the possibility of snow at Christmas in the UK is meagre, you still have a deep sadness that there is zero chance of real snow at Christmas now you are in Dubai. The rest of the year the weather is a highlight, but at Christmas, it just doesn’t feel right.
Too much information
When you greet someone with ‘hello, how are you?’ and they actually give you an answer other than ‘fine thanks’, it totally throws you – every time!
You have an unrivalled knowledge of all the supermarkets that stock British products
You embrace the culture here in Dubai, but at the same time, you want to introduce your kids to some of the little pleasures you had as a child (and you’re missing them, let’s be honest). You know exactly where they are stocked, can sniff out a Cadbury’s chocolate bar from the entrance to the shopping centre and you dream of beans on toast like its gourmet food.
Not wishing to disturb anyone
Your toddler needs a wee and you need to manoeuvre your way through a crowd. Instead of saying ‘excuse me’, you try and shape shift yourself and your child through a gap big enough only for a small dog, rather than interrupt someone by asking them to move out of the way.
Patriotic and not so patriotic at the same time
You may not have really felt particularly patriotic back in the UK, but here you find yourself excitedly befriending fellow Brits with nothing more in common than your nationality, who you probably would have had nothing to do with back home. At the same time, you find yourself identifying with your new expat community and feeling distanced from British people who are not enriched by living abroad and open to new cultural experiences.
The need to queue
Your kids know how to queue properly and you will insist on waiting your turn even if it takes all day and the odds of anyone else taking any notice is slim to none.
You identify fellow Brits at the drop of a hat
You’re living in a community of expats that full of people from all over the world. Unless you are an amazing accent detective, it’s not always obvious where people are originally from. When you’re British though, there are some subtle signs that mean it’s possible for other parents from good ol’ blighty to detect you as ‘one of their own.’
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