Being borderline reserved

It is a well-known stereotype that English people are reserved and obsessed about their privacy. Therefore I was surprised to see that they don't close their curtains. Furthermore, most of them don't even have curtains. They let every passer-by see their life like they are fishes in an aquarium or reality show stars in a live TV program.

Angela Kiss

Angela Kiss


English people believe that the English weather is like a woman's mood: constantly changing and hard to predict, therefore there is always something to mention about it. My impression was (and still is) that the English weather is always the same (it only changes from grey to dark grey), therefore there is nothing really to mention about it. But it is advisable not to criticize the English weather. Especially if you are a foreigner. For an English woman, it's as though as if you were scolding her first born child. For an Englishman, it's as if you are criticising the size of his penis. Or even worse: his football team.


Finding a job in London is not easy. Especially if you don't speak English. You must be very determined and a serious CV producer with a respectable rate of at least 100 CVs per hour sent anywhere in the city. All foreign jobseekers must know that English people use understatement all the time except in their CV, which is total overstatement. Follow their habits, don't be ashamed to use hyperbole for your achievements. Also, your London CV must be flexible, easily adjustable to any possible job opportunities. If you can modify your CV from barista to barrister in less than one minute then you are a proper London jobseeker.


When I started to work as a waitress, I felt love every day and everywhere:

'Two Fosters, my love!'

'… of course with milk, my love!'

'No, I am not talking about down there, my love, I am ordering a dessert. Yes, spotted dick is a dessert.'

I realised very soon that love (correct pronunciation: 'luv') is a cheap, everyday (even more: every minute) object in London. English people are in love all the time and they are not ashamed to express their love every single opportunity they can.

English people only use the word 'love' economically when it is about their loved one.


English communication is extremely indirect. As a result, if you want to understand what someone means you must learn to read between the lines, from right to left and from bottom to top.

For example:

If English people say: ' Thanks for your CV' it means ' It's time for paper shredding'.

If they say ' It is quite an unusual suggestion' they mean ' Can someone please call the mental hospital?' Or if they say ' I am not sure I like it' it means ' To me, it sucks'.

How are you?

English people ask 'how are you?' more often than anything else. This question is just a compulsory politeness and kindness, not meant to be taken seriously. Like at the best philosophical debates, what matters is the question, never the answer. (So English people are not only polite but also deeply philosophical.) But if you want to answer, English people expect only two possible answers: ' not bad' and ' not too bad'. The former means ' I am doing great', the latter that you are about to commit suicide or have some terminal disease. With anything else, you risk being tarred and feathered. Also, if your answer is 'excellent' they take it as sarcasm.


Breaking rules is very un-English.

The only rule they break is crossing the road without pressing the button and then waiting for the green signal. Breaking that traffic rule (and risking their life) is still more English than making such a big fuss as pressing the button to stop the traffic and having all the cars' passengers looking at them while they walk on the zebra crossing. Only foreigners do such eccentric performances.

Public display of affection

There are countries where public affection is not tolerated, in certain countries it is even forbidden, considered a violation of law and punished with a fine or imprisonment. England doesn't belong to those countries. But seems like in the mind of the English it belongs to the category of soft porn. And according to them sane people don't do soft porn in public. (Only animals do.) (And foreigners.)


I was shocked to see more foxes in the streets of London than in the countryside of Hungary where I was born. My first thought was that something must go very wrong with the security of London Zoo that all foxes managed to escape. Later I realised that the foxes didn't escape from the London Zoo at all, thousands and thousands of foxes live in London. They don't look for their The Little Prince, they look for food.

Tap water mania

Asking for tap water in restaurants is normal in England. It is only embarrassing and a sign of poorness in Europe. (According to the English, England is not part of Europe. Never has been, never will be. England is England, not part of anything.)