I’ve just returned from my first trip back to the UK in almost two years, where I was lucky enough to spend two weeks with friends and family. This marked the end of my longest stint outside of England, and it was definitely a weird experience going back. Everything was the same, but different. There were so many things that I’d just plain forgotten about having been away for so long, and had a lot of ‘classic England’ moments. Below are a few of my favourite sights and experiences, those moments where you just KNOW you’re in England…
The word ‘Mate’
I didn’t realize how British the word ‘mate’ is before I left. Canadians don’t say it, unless they’re ex-pats ironically greeting each other with ‘alright, mate?’. This was the first picture I took when I was back, of a vending machine at Heathrow. Coca-cola bottles over here say Dude on them. Yup.
30 miles an hour road sign
Looking at this picture almost made me put English villages as a category in themselves. There’s only one country in the world this photo could be taken in, and that’s before I saw the 30 mile an hour sign. I never thought of the white and red circle as particularly iconic while I was living in the UK, but now it’s a sure sign (geddit?) that I’m home.
Double-decker buses aren’t solely limited to England, but they definitely don’t exist as public transit options in Vancouver. I gave myself bonus points for this being a Park and Ride bus (another English classic) and definitely ran up the stairs to sit at the very front…
Every January since 2011 I’ve written a list of places I want to visit in Canada. For a couple of years, I made the mistake of publishing said lists on this blog. I can officially say that I’ve been to 0% of these places. This year I left BC for the first time for a week in Edmonton with work, but I didn’t see much and it wasn’t my plan or choice so I don’t really count it as a ‘seeing more of Canada’ success. The first half my 2014 has suggested that the second half will go in much the same direction, so I’ve decided to take a stand. No longer will I waste away long weekends ‘relaxing in the city’, looking at Tripadvisor reviews for places I don’t get around to booking, or complaining that nowhere is pet friendly (lies). Ladies and gentlemen, I have a plan for the summer. And it looks a bit like this:
June 13-15 – Bowen Island
Yes, that’s today. We’re heading to Bowen Island after work for a weekend with my brother and his girlfriend, and of course Dave is coming too. I’m very much not looking forward to the horrific Pet Area on the ferry, but am thankful that the journey is only 20 minutes and know that the outdoor hot tub on the deck of our beach-side guest suite will be more than worth it. I’ve been to Bowen Island before, but only for a day and it was a couple of years ago, so I’m looking forward to more exploring. It’s been an intense week for me as I completed a 5-day intensive personal development course in a basement with no shoes on, so I’m looking forward to some fresh air and relaxation.