1. lustrousonion
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    lustrousonion Contributing Member

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    Holidays & expats

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by lustrousonion, Dec 21, 2014.

    Wondering how many of you are expats away from home this holiday season. What do you miss?

    Of course there's family. But I also find myself missing other things, like the smells of certain foods, TV programs, and even the cold.
     
  2. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am due to move to New Zealand in January. When I was last travelling for a significant period of time there were only two things (besides friends and family) that I missed. The first was the BBC; quality programming without adverts. The second was English pubs.
     
  3. lustrousonion
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    lustrousonion Contributing Member

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    Where did you travel that didn't have any English pubs? I would have thought they'd be impossible to avoid.
     
  4. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Far East: Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China. South America: Mexico, Brazil, Peru. Edit: and India thinking about it. None of these places had English pubs.

    You find a lot more Irish pubs than you do English. When you do see an English pub abroad they always feel like a caricature or a themepark version that are treated as a curiosity by the local population. Even Australian pubs are not a patch on English pubs and we come from the same stock.
     
  5. lustrousonion
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    lustrousonion Contributing Member

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    Ah, yes. I tend to lump Irish pubs and English pubs together. The American apologizes. :oops:

    Anything American abroad usually has the letters XXL attached to it. (Not that we don't deserve it.)
     
  6. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    The difference is that in Irish pubs there is always someone playing the fiddle and some twat with his arms stuck to his sides kicking his legs about like a maniac.
     
  7. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    God is this ever true. I've never been in an 'English pub' abroad that hasn't had either the St. George's flag or the Union Flag on the walls. I've never been in a pub in the UK that has either one anywhere to be seen. It's a reason why I stay away from 'English' anything while on holiday, aside from the fact I don't go to Greece to have fish and chips, I go to Greece to enjoy Greece, I find both the St George and Union flags nauseating.
     
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  8. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have always found it slightly strange that when visiting another country, rather than immerse themselves in the local culture and food, some people immediately go in search of a Sunday Roast and a pint.
     
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  9. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    You and I are of like minds then.
     
  10. Wyr
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    Wyr Active Member

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    Aside from family?

    I hate to admit it, but the cold and especially the snow. They tend to go all out on Christmas decorations here and have some really beautiful displays, but there is just something about the glow of Christmas lights reflecting off the snow that can't be captured. My mom's holiday cooking in general and my grandma's homemade cinnamon rolls in particular. Going to midnight mass with my family. The sense of ultimate satisfaction from watching my nieces pull my gifts out of their pile of presents and play with them first. ;)
     
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  11. lustrousonion
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    lustrousonion Contributing Member

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    I totally agree. And that biting cold as you step outside is wonderful. Rain just doesn't feel very Christmas-y to me.
     
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  12. GingerCoffee
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    Can't say I 'missed' anything but New Year and Christmas in Australia felt odd.

    First, the Queen's message, everyone stopped to listen to it, watching her on the TV. That was weird.

    Then there was the fact it was hot and in the middle of summer. And not peculiar to Christmas, but it's noticeable the Moon is upside down.

    Then there were the Christmas Crackers. I'd never seen them before. Everyone made a big deal of them but whatever was inside was so not memorable, I only recall expecting a Cracker Jacks toy and getting something less.

    Finally, New Year was silent. Everyone kissed but there was no noise, no fireworks, (that has since changed). Someone flicked the lights off and on for our benefit.
     
  13. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Honestly, it's one of those things where if you didn't grow up under a monarchy it'll be very difficult to understand. Especially when you find out most of us 'subjects' also never expect her to actually do anything important.
     
  14. outsider
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    Never watched the Queen's speech. The parasitic woman and her brood of outdated relics mean nothing to me.
     
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  15. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Better than Americans who come visit Prague and then would eat nothing but McDonald's and only reluctantly, after much encouragement, might try a piece of fried breaded chicken steak and steamed potatoes (hardly adventurous). In any case, being British Chinese, I can testify to the average British person's lack of interest or willingness to try anything new food-wise. My English friend refused to try a coffee-flavoured boiled sweet cus it's "weird". Coffee-flavoured. If it was matcha, I kinda get it. Mochi, marinated chicken talons, takoyaki (octopus balls - not literally. I just mean they're ball-shaped) - all right, I get it. But coffee!? In any case, I find it extremely frustrating.

    Although, why would you miss English pubs? The kind where people get drunk is horrid. And family pubs are nothing special with a very limited menu and food is generally a little bland... I never knew it was bland till I moved out to Prague. I don't like Czech pubs much either - Czech family pubs are fine though - but while not a fan of Czech food, they - the more modern family pubs, that is - do have a much larger and interesting menu in general compared to the average British pub. The normal traditional Czech pubs have food even blander than the Brits.

    As for BBC - you should try the site "film on TV" - I don't quite remember the URL but it's likely those same words without the spaces and then add .com at the end :) It lets you watch live British TV for free.
     
  16. outsider
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    People getting drunk in pubs? :eek: Wonders will never cease. I much prefer the type that practice temperance, if not abstinence.
    :agreed:
     
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  17. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    You and me both.
     
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  18. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    :D

    Well, I don't drink and find getting drunk off your face, esp as a regular habit, rather distasteful. It's not a part of British acceptable behaviour that I'm proud of. In fact, Englishmen have an immensely bad reputation in Prague precisely because of their drinking culture - rowdy men already drunk even on the flights coming into the Czech Republic for stag parties and prostitutes. (I've seen a few such parties. There was once two Brits made the news because they were so drunk, they went and started dismantling the flood barriers at a time of rising water levels - remember last year when most of Europe got flooded?) There was one Czech lady I met who's thinking of emigration and said she'd never consider the UK because her impression of British men (that she's seen in Spain when she lived there) is that they're all drunkards.

    Of course it's not true - there're English people aplenty who are perfectly fine and who enjoy a pint or two without embarrassing themselves and harrassing the people around them. But this is the reputation they take with them when they travel, unfortunately.

    Anyway, I'm not against enjoying a good drink. I just don't see the need to get drunk.
     
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  19. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've noticed too that Irish pubs are full of mirrors...
     
  20. jannert
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    Ah. As somebody who grew up in a Canadian border state (wrong side) I totally miss the 2-3 feet of crisp snow, and the REAL Christmas trees that you cut yourself and smelled wonderful and lasted a month without dropping needles. Temperatures above freezing, lashing rain, and artificial trees and ornaments that 'match colour' like a shop store window display just do NOT do it for me.

    However ...I have real holly and ivy growing outside in my garden. And it's dark outside from around 3.3opm to around 9 am, so that 'hunker down for winter' feeling is about right for a festival of light—and in keeping with my innate pagan nature. But I do miss winter itself being fun. Here in Scotland it's not fun. In northern Michigan it was a lot of fun, most of the time. At least until March, when you begin thinking okay, okay, enough already....

    Here in Scotland, in March, you're getting daffodils in bloom. In northern Michigan? You're still getting blizzards that keep schools closed for days on end. I must say, although I miss it, sometimes it's nice not to have to shovel winter.
     
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  21. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with @jannert! I'm a Canadian, now living in the hell of southern California. Back home, Christmas was wonderful partly because we had to work for it. It was cold outside. We needed firewood - that was one of my jobs as a kid. I kinda grew up with a chainsaw in one hand, an axe in another, and a snow shovel in the third (I had three hands back then, if I remember correctly). Christmas felt like Christmas because we all worked to make it so.

    Here in SoCal, the weather's pretty much the same year round, and nothing ever happens. Someone says, "Merry Christmas!" to you and you check your watch, thinking, "Really? I thought this was August." People make a bigger deal about Halloween than Christmas around here. I hate this.

    I swear, before I die, I'm moving home to Canada. Things make sense there.
     
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  22. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I've always maintained that if you're not a Christian, "Christmas" doesn't make sense in hot climates. It's the encroaching dark and cold that has always made a feast celebration necessary for folks living in northern communities—long before Christianity horned in. Us Northerners NEED a festival of light to cheer us up, and take our minds off the long winter to come. In someplace tropical, that need isn't there. The difference in daylight hours between summer and winter is negligible. Christmas is just another day on the calendar, if you live in southern California, Florida, and other sunny, equatorial climes. And decorated evergreen trees need the backdrop of snow and/or dark to look like they belong.
     
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  23. Gawler
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    Gawler Contributing Member

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    I lived in Hawaii for 14 years, a few of them on the Big Island. Every year there we could sit on the lanai (verandah) and look at a snow covered Mauna Kea. I have to admit it surprised me first time I saw snow virtually right on the equator.
     
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  24. lustrousonion
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    lustrousonion Contributing Member

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    Yes, exactly. The smell of Christmas trees. My dad would always go out to cut down a Christmas tree, and every year he'd forget how big our living room was. He'd come home with a monster that would have to bend at the top just to fit. I also miss lefse -- can you guess which state I'm from? :)

    Christmas in Germany is actually very nice, with the Christmas markets being a definite highlight. But this year we still have leaves on the trees.
     
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  25. Chinspinner
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    I mean the nice English pub where you come in out of the cold after work and stand around with some mates having a few pints and a laugh. Not Gastropubs or poncy bars or some hideous chain designed for tramps and pensioners like Wetherspoons- I mean a good old fashioned English pub.

    In terms of the BBC- when I am living in NZ I will find a way to get it- or at least iPlayer- but when I was travelling it wasn't worth the bother. I just found it tedious that if I wanted to watch something before falling asleep it would invariably be some utter shit like CSI with that ginger freak and his sunglasses (which- little known fact- actually get a separate mention in the credits, which is fair enough since they do more acting than he does).
     
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