Sh*t people ask when you live in England

We are back and life is settling down.  I can happily report that it seems our bodies and minds are back in GMT (kind of, sort of).  The Duchess’ body and mind, anyway.  I, however, am not quite there after three nights of interrupted sleep characterized by sitting up with an infant who was squealing with delight about ‘nighttime play’ between the hours of 1am-3am.  And so today I gloried in the fact that I didn’t shower or get out of my pyjamas and that I joined my baby for a 2.5 hour nap.  For that reason, I’m pretty sure The Native gloried in my hotness when I welcomed him home form work.

While I was in the States I noticed that there is an emerging trend (or perhaps it has already emerged…I mean I have been living in Mommy land for 7.5 months) called “Sh*t people say…..” A couple of examples I’ve seen are: “Sh*t white girls say to black girls” and “Sh*t nobody says.”

A lot of them are pretty hilarious, but since I was back in the States it got me thinking about the things people say to me about living in England.  Actually, they are not so much statements people make, but more questions people ask and I find most of those questions pretty shockingly hilarious.  If you are reading this, you have potentially asked me one of these questions.  Know that I love you and that I publicly mock you with love in my heart.  Hopefully, you don’t have to be an expat to appreciate them.

Sh*t people ask when you live in England: 

Have you met the Queen?  (They are serious.)

 Do you  live in a castle?  (Again.  Serious.)

Don ’t you just love the Royals? 

So, everybody’s teeth are really jacked up there, right?

 Do they speak English there? 

 My friend Steve Sweatypants lives in London.  Do you know him?

 Do you have the internet? 

 Do you have graves? 

 Do you have concerts there?  (Nope.  I have only heard of this “music” people speak of.)

 Can I spend American money there? 

 Isn’t that where the Eiffel Tower is? 

 Is it crazy there?  (Yeah, crazy.  All of the time.  Can’t get away from the crazy.)

Any expats out there who can add any random off-the-wall questions you’ve been asked?


33 thoughts on “Sh*t people ask when you live in England

  1. mymumdom

    I’m a Kiwi living in London and my friends in NZ have now given up asking when we are coming ‘home’.
    Last time I went back I was asked if I didn’t think it was too dangerous to bring up children in London, did we have gardens, do we have trees and don’t I miss the sunshine?

    1. Lindsay Borland

      funny – i am an American living in Wellington {married to a kiwi} and i can picture kiwis asking those questions … even those who have done their OE to London and are back in NZ! there is a recent Twinings New Zealand Breakfast tea commercial that supports their perceptions 🙂

  2. christy

    How’s London? Heyyyyyyyyy howr’ things in LONDON?! You enjoying life in London? When are you headed back to London (when I am in the US)?? How is London? Heyyyyyy I am coming to London can we meet up?!!?

    In my 8 years in the UK I have never lived in London.

    London is not a country. It is our capital city. I have lived in two northern cities that are far from London. The current one.. as far from London whilst still living in England. (I mean, really you can just call me Scottish. I live in the North Pole I say often) Neither of my cities considers themselves close to London AT ALL. I don’t live in London. But every darn American can’t distinguish the difference and still tomorrow… I will be asked…

    Randon American: “Heyyyyyyyyyyyy how’s life in London?!!?!?!?!!?”

    Me: “Ummm.. London’s great.”

    1. rationingrevisited

      my hubbie was asked once where he was staying… at the time it was Manchester… to which he was asked oh thats just outside London right? Because every city is a london suburb (says the woman whos only been through london to use the airport). I was born in south africa… cape town actually, and i constantly gat asked (even though i left there as a child)… why my skin isnt black and did i have a lion as a pet…. oh and did we wear shoes…. amoung other insane Q’s

  3. applepiewithwensleydale

    Fantastic post!

    I well remember being accosted by some little old ladies in the ‘restrooms’ at Atlanta airport years ago and not being allowed to leave until I had confirmed that I didn’t know a John Smith from Kent, I wasn’t related to the Queen and we had milk in In-GER-land (I don’t get that one either).

    But my favourite was being asked by a stranger in NY if life is ‘for real’ in the UK. I replied ‘no, we’re all puppets in a play’ – he really didn’t know whether to take me seriously!

  4. MmeLindor

    My best question was from a young German girl. On being told that UK is actually made up of four countries, not just England, “You mean there are like FOUR ISLANDS?”

  5. Anna

    oh gosh, I can associate. I’m an australian living in scotland who moved here from the US. I haven’t been asked all of these, but i’ve been asked some strange questions. The worst were when i was living in the US – the image people seem to have of australia is that it is a primitive land – sure there’s plenty of things that crawl that’ll kill you, but 21 million of us seem to have survived alright…I think the funniest are when people try to guess where i’m from (screwed up accent) and come up with things like (i kid you not): Switzerland and Lapland. I wish I was kidding. I don’t mind being asked if I’m south african, Irish, a New Zealander or really anything if it remotely corresponds….but oy vey…

  6. charlieedmunds

    There’s probably a backwards version of this with “shit people ask you when you (an English person) are living in America” – I think I asked my friend far too often if he could get good tea, or beer that wasn’t cold and fizzy (the answers are yes and no)

    And no, English beer is not warm. It should be served at cellar temperature, not room temperature. It’s just not freezing cold because that way you can actually taste the flavour.

  7. lowimpactmama

    Very funny! My (American) husband gets these comments. I’m Irish and when I lived in the US in the 90s I was regularly asked things like “are you from a farm?” (no), “do you have denim jeans in Ireland?” (to which I answered, untruthfully, no we didn’t as we all wore wooly trousers and tweed, she took my answer seriously!) and (my personal favourite) “is that close to London?”.

  8. So Resourceful

    When I first moved back to England after spending ten years (of my childhood) in Saudi, I got asked by lots of people “did you ride a camel to school?” and “did you live in a tent?” as well as “do they have cars there?”. People honestly had no idea.

    1. Living Life as an Expat Parent Post author

      Yes! Whenever I’m back and run into someone I knew in high school, I get that shocked question. It always makes me feel a bit awkward. Funniest one was when I was trying to sort out an absentee ballot and upon hearing where I live the woman said, “Good for you for doing something different with your life.”

  9. Emma

    Brilliant post. I was in the US around six months after Princess Diana died. The amount of times I was given a hug, or had someone almost in tears about it, was quite surreal to say the least. I hadn’t even mentioned the woman, all I had done was open my mouth and they had heard my accent!

    1. Living Life as an Expat Parent Post author

      Ooooh, I can imagine. Americans love The Royals. I remember that I considered writing a condolence letter to Prince William, in the hopes that he would receive it, become my pen pal, fall in love with me, and I would become a princess….

      I mean,…..what? Did I just say that aloud?

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  13. expatlingo

    Ha! I’ve gotten asked several times: “is it like it is in Harry Potter?” Since I live in Cambridge, I can at least soften the blow by saying “well…kind of ….”

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  15. Tiffany

    Hahahahaha!!!! Oh, my, this is great. I’m an American in Singapore currently. I met an English fella last night and he was quite pleased I didn’t ask any of these. And that I referred to football as football and not soccer!


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