Being an immigrant in our wonderfully diverse nation is not exactly a novelty. You could ask 10 strangers on the subway about their heritage and nine would identify themselves as Canadian-slash-something-or-other.
However, unlike all of those “My great grandmother was from Manchester and even though I’ve never been there I totally identify myself as part English and that’s why I pronounce it leisure not leeee-sure” individuals, I’m actually British. I was born and raised in England until the age of 12 when I moved to Canada for the superior orthodontic work.
As a Limey expat, it’s my duty to go back every couple of years to visit cousins and eat copious amounts of Cadburys chocolate. Last weekend I returned from a Christmas pilgrimage across the pond, and even though I had a jolly good time I am very (VERY) glad to be back.
There is something to be said for the comforts of home, specifically the modern North American luxuries we take for granted like central heating, efficient snow removal services and artisan salads.
The British have never been known for their outstanding cuisine, but thanks to globalization and Jamie Oliver, the food situation in England has improved significantly over the past 10 years. However, meat pies and breaded stuff with chips still seem to be menu staples at most U.K. eateries. Ten days straight of greasy Full English breakfasts washed down with lager has left me feeling bloated and on the brink of contracting scurvy.
But I can live with the vitamin deficient dietary options — what I really have trouble with is the plumbing.
Many of the country’s historic buildings date back to the 11th century and as such, bathrooms (ahem, I mean loos) across England are hundreds of years older than Canada.
Think about that for a minute.
Most of these medieval amenities have been designed with a four-foot tall peasant in mind. A standard issue sink comes up to your kneecaps, bathtubs only really fit one leg at a time and you are more likely to bump into a Spice Girl on the underground than find a shower with decent water pressure.
So, next time you’re complaining about the windchill factor just remember, it may be cold in the Great White North but you can always find restaurant that serves broccoli and go home to a nice hot shower.