Paul and I have been married for 13 1/2yrs. We've been through a lot together, many good moments and many trials, as you can imagine. I've heard once that when you get married, you should stick with someone from your country because otherwise it doesn't work. Obviously I don't agree with this statement, as I am married to a "bloke from the UK", and I also have met happy couples who aren't both from the same country, a few examples are: Germany/Ireland, USA/Ireland, USA/Brazil, China/Greece, Brazil/Argentina (now, that's a shocker :-) ), Korea/USA, GB/USA, Germany/Barbados, etc, etc, etc.
My opinion is that it doesn't matter where you come from, it's all about loving each other and on top of that, making an effort to understand each other. I've said this before on this blog, every country has its fair share of nice, honest, crooks, assholes, and so on. Yes, I believe that people's personalities are shaped by culture, religion, family, friends, etc, but your core is who you really are deep down inside your soul, and at the end of the day, that's what matters. Through the years of living together, you will come across cultural differences, but you'll learn to live with it and in my opinion it makes you a better person, because you weed out the stuff that doesn't interest you and add what improves your life.
The Iceberg Analogy
About a month or 2 ago, I watched a lecture by the American University professor Gary R. Weaver who was talking about cross country cultural differences. He has an analogy to explain different behaviors, as the tip of an iceberg. When 2 icebergs collide, is like the two cultures colliding. Funny, as he was talking about it, I was just thinking, this is my daily life! The two icebergs are Paul and I! 13 years later and sometimes we still have miscommunication, due to different points of view or due to my our individualistic vs. collectivist cultures.
The 17 Things I Learned After Marrying a Brit
So, in general, here are not all, but 17 of the things that I've learned being married to a Brit (particularly from London):
- Brits don't usually eat cold cuts for breakfast. They might eat bacon and sausages, even smoked fish (kippers - actually very nice) on the weekends, but on weekdays breakfast contains a cup of tea with toast and margarine or a bowl of cereal.
- They say they don't like soaps (as in soap operas), but they all watch it.
- Christmas is a big deal, bigger than it was for me growing up. Especially when it comes to giving presents. I had to get used to it at first.
- They're still hoping England will win another world cup... I just had to add that one
- Just because you've lived in London for a few years, it doesn't mean you are a Londoner. Even if you call yourself a Londoner, real Londoners do not recognize that at all. Let's be honest, it really just makes you feel good.
- London is the center of the world and other parts of England are just that, other parts of England.
- They think the Premiership is the best football league in the world.
- Londoners don't go to central London, unless they really have to, or unless their wife keeps dragging them there.
- They always see the glass half empty and also
- They are very realistic.
- They make fun of themselves, which brings me to my next point.
- Their sense of humor is brilliant.
- Brits are big into bathing, as in using the bathtub instead of the shower.
- "Alright" means good, delicious, bad, disgusting. Apparently it's all about the intonation, although it always sounds the same, unless they make a real effort to show the difference. In all those years, I've noticed that it's very handy when you don't want to tell the truth about how you feel about something. For example: "How was the chicken?" "Alright!" - what does that mean? Good, bad? You will never know... ha!
- According to the Brits, they still rule the world, hence some people not need passports to go anywhere because they don't need to.
- They love queuing up. Qs for everything, even the bus, or McDonald's an orderly single file line.
- Tea time is not at 4pm. It's an all day thing. You have tea with breakfast, lunch and dinner, in between meals, to warm up in the winter and to cool down in the summer. Every time is time to have a cup of tea.