19 July 2008

Good things British Life Taught Me

One: Eat more cream and cream-based products. Low fat is blech. And clotted cream, particularly of the Cornish variety (with the yellow crust on top...) is divine. As is double cream. As is single cream. Any of the creamy goodness varieties really. And yogurt is no good unless there's fat in it. This the British know. They may be the fattest country in Europe, but they are thinner than Americans, and frankly it's not the clotted cream that's getting 'em. It's the McDonalds and the chippies.

Dos: Take holidays. Multiple, often, get-away-from-home type holidays. Maybe even dip your toe in someone else's culture. Mind you, not far enough to be more than about a two minute walk from the nearest Irish/English/Welsh/Scottish pub. But this is easily done in most countries around the world. Sure, the Brits go to somewhat horrid resorts in Spain where you don't really leave the British isles. But they go. And in droves. And regularly. They also invented the 'mini-break' in which you go somewhere for four days. Often last-minute. Americans should do more of this.

Due prime: Work less. On purpose. Fewer hours. Maybe even part time. On purpose. It helps to have your healthcare covered. And more than 2 weeks a year off. But let's just settle for this: take weekends off. By this I mean: don't check the email, hang out with the family, go down the pub with the friends, stay up til 2 am talking, go see a local castle (okay, not as easy in the US, but substitute 'castle' with 'large ball of twine' and you're good to go. My point is: work less.

These are some of the things in the mini capsule of Britishness I'm trying to keep as we move across the Atlantic. We'll see how it goes.

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