Everything I realised when I moved back to the UK from the Middle East

Turns out everyone doesn’t have a maid

You can’t live in another culture for so long and not pick up a few quirks along the way.  Despite being as English as they come and spending my childhood here, I spent the last eight years of my life living in the Middle East. That’s quite a while to be away from ‘home’ for, so it’s safe to say that in the year that I have been back I have noticed a few differences between myself and some of the people here.

Not everyone wears two coats to cope with 15 degrees

It takes time to adjust when your normal temp is 30-40 degrees –  15 seems practically Antarctic. Your warm and my warm may never be the same. Just because the sun is out does not mean that it is warm, as a rule of thumb I tend to wear an extra layer.

It is acceptable to wear a skirt above my knees

Same applies to shorts, you get used to people staring at you when you wear a strappy top, as a result clubbing clothes make you feel practically naked.


There are a few joys in life greater than going to your local supermarket and being able to buy a packet of bacon and a bottle of wine and not needing ID. Need I say more? Wine and bacon should be basic human rights.

Extra services abroad

Not everyone had a maid, driver or pool man growing up and you will feel very pretentious every time the words “my maid” come out of your mouth. It’s even worse when you say it in Lidl. Discussing the fact that your pool man hasn’t been in the past two weeks is not a conversation to have over 20 pence tomatoes.

Same applies for where you went on holiday and school trips

My DofE in the desert in 30 degree heat was slightly different to your third expedition to Snowdonia. But we both suffered – it was hot, dusty, supplies were short and tempers were high, one girl got sent to the hospital. It was only bronze award.

Rain in the UK is a daily occurrence and not a reason for class to stop and social media to go into melt down.

This actually happens. Also not to be forgotten the social media activity complaining about all of the people freaking out about the rain.  Apparently it’s just rain, who knew?

When your friends group you with the international students you find yourself suddenly proving how British you are

Tea I drink tea. Sooo much tea. All the tea. London. The Queen. Pimms.