Saturday, 8 June 2013

What I miss about the UK as an expat

I miss the long summer evenings.

Well I did during the first week, but now I'm not sleeping.
It's dark in South Africa by 7pm in the summer and 6pm in the winter. 3 hours after sun down I'm usually tucked up in bed. 3 hours past sun down in the UK is 11pm onwards, then the sun wakes me early in the mornings. I can't seem to adjust.

I miss the supermarket offers.

Well I thought I did, but the price of everything in the UK has gone up.
In South Africa prices are pretty much the same wherever you shop, occasional offers but no BOGOF deals. Shelf life is shorter and vegetables are funny shaped (natural).

I miss the variety of foods.

The supermarkets in the UK offer a wider variety of brands.
In South Africa the freezer sections are smaller, the range is not so wide. I've been back in the UK 2 weeks, I'm eating more processed food. I've gained 3 kilos since I've been back.

I miss the freedom.

I love being able to walk around the town, catch the bus.
In South Africa it's drive to the mall, shop, drive home. No just dropping into someone's house to say hi as you pass as you have to phone in advance, get access codes or be booked in at the gate. The bus costs a fortune in the UK, car parking is extortionate, the towns are too busy.

The weather.

It's boring the weather staying the same in South Africa, hot with occasional thunder storms in the winter, making it impossible to breathe some days without aircon in the house, the winters are cold, temps dropping to zero, but the days are hot.
The UK summer is cooler than a South African winter. Last week I sat on the beach with a coat on and wearing gloves, while people around me sat in shorts and bikinis. I wear the gloves as the chilblains are back since I arrived in the UK.

What I miss about South Africa.

The sky, the open space, the horizon.
In the UK everything feels like it's on top of me, closing in, dark and the sky isn't blue like it is back home.


  1. I can very much relate to long summer evenings, weather in general and food choices after living almost 10 years in the Middle East. I love the trees and the changing seasons since returning to Canada. They mark the passing of time and although I didn't pine for them, I realize now how important they are for me.

    1. the longer I stay in the UK the more I miss about South Africa and desperately want to return

  2. I missed walking and public transport, when I was away from the UK. I wish they would subsidise buses though. In the city I live in, the buses are really good, but it's £1.50 a flat fare, no matter how long your journey. So if I go anywhere, that's £3.00. (I don't use the buses enough to get a season ticket.) I rarely pay that much to park, so I usually take the car.

    1. Most of my money has gone on transport, buses, diesel and trains and food, far more than I'd spend in South Africa

  3. You should have your husband transfer to Canada, you could drop by my house anytime without a phone call. :-)