British expats – is this the single most annoying thing about life abroad?

Last week I was at the supermarket here in Chile. I chose an aisle because there was just one man in front with very few items. When asked to pay he took out a bag of coins and counted them out, one by one. ‘Oh, how much did you say?’ he asked. Then he started all over again. ‘Ah, wait……
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Did you know the meaning behind these Christmas traditions? Clue: look to …

Unlike most British tabloid newspapers would lead you to believe, I’m proudly British and I love Germany. Why? Because I also love Christmas. I studied German at university, mostly based on its year abroad programme. Some chose to learn French in Martinique, others Spanish in Colombia, but I yearned after a winter in Bavaria. If anyone knows how to do…
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The British are weird – customs and etiquette for surviving British culture

Carpets in bathrooms, apologising when we’re not really sorry, and endless talk about the weather. Yes, we Brits are weird. My husband is Spanish and despite being married to a Brit and having lived in the UK himself, there are a few traditions and customs he just can’t get his head round. For any expats in the UK, here’s a…
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Don’t cut your egg in Spain and other table manner rules

My Spanish husband and I agree to disagree on many things. One thing we cannot agree on however, is table manners. It seems that we attended different etiquette schools in our youth. The Spanish and English rules are not just different, but contradictory. I’ll stare at elbows of random Spanish people in cafés, swallowing the rage to the back of…
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Why is it bad luck to pass salt in Spain?

Last week I was getting a facial and the facialist shrieked ‘stop!’ as I went upstairs to the treatment room. Another beautician was rushing down and apparently it’s common knowledge that you never cross someone on the stairs for fear of bad luck. This got me thinking about all the superstitions I’ve learnt in all the places I’ve lived. In…
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