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Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson HalfDork
4/6/10 9:14 a.m.

So, I know there are a number of people who have or do live in the UK and over here at differet times in your lives. What are your views of the US and UK in comparison to each other? What made you move from one continent to another? What do you see as the pro's and con's of each? What made you decide to live or stay in your current choice and would you swap back again if you could? I'll post my reasons/preferances in the next post.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson HalfDork
4/6/10 9:16 a.m.

I'm a ex-pat Brit. Born in Surrey, grew up in Yorkshire, Uni in Sunderland and lived/worked in Worthing until I was 25.

At 25 I was pissed off with my Job, getting divorced and looking to move. I took a 6 month Contract in South East Michigan (auto industry) intending to come to America, earn some cash, have some fun, reinforce my prejudices about what a crappy place America was and how bad the people were then move 'home' and get a real job….

Once I got here I found my income doubled, tax went way down, cost of living went way way way way down so my standard of living went up beyond my wildest dreams. Fifteen years later I'm now a US Citizen, married with family and (almost) can't conceive ever moving back. That's not to say I don't miss the UK and pine for it in many ways. I still live in SE Michigan in the NW suburbs of Detroit. Michigan is one of my favorite states, yes really. I've visited all but 9 of the states and put 40k miles on the family car just in 09 traveling so I have a good sense of what the country is like. When we travel on vacation it's always with an eye to retirement and most places come up with 'it's great but…' The Northern part of Michigan has no 'buts'. Oh and I also spent 9 months living in Mexico back in the late 90's, no thanks.

UK - the good.
1. Scenery, having grown up in Yorkshire and spent lot's of time in Cornwall as well it's simply stunning.
2. Architecture, the 'average' British town or City is just a much more pleasant place to be.
3. No urban sprawl, although Labor is trying to 'fix' that by getting rid of the green belts.
4. Roads, corners are fun and the pot holes are no worse than many places in the US. I so miss the roads in the Pennines where I grew up.
5. Club races and hillclimbs, so much more common than here.
6. NHS, having lived and used both systems (UK government and US private payer) as well as seen both my parents and my in-laws experiences trust me, nothing will ever convince me that anything other than a government system is the right way to go.
7. Walking - you can!
8. The countryside is more accessible.
9. Pension protection, I'm about to loose a chuck of my pension as a company I worked for in a previous job is shedding it's pension obligations through bankruptcy and I'll get $0
10. TV. Top Gear, nuff said. I don't even bother with cable over here, it's just crap.
11. Green top milk not E36 M3 that's been processed and pasteurized.
12. A good Chicken Vindaloo, available but hard to find at a decent price over here.

UK - the bad
1. Taxes, no matter what arguments people make to the contrary the UK taxes are higher for most income levels. Then add in VAT, petrol tax this tax that tax the other tax and the overall tax burden is crippling. And I am taking into account paying for health care in taxes rather than through insurance.
2. Wages, lower for many comparable professions
3. Costs, holy cow this is a big one. For so many things if it's $1 here it's 1GBP there. Factor in the lower wages and higher taxes and the impact to my wallet makes me honestly question how I survived when I lived there.
4. Petty crime and violence really does seem higher there. I live near Detroit and have spent many many nights down in Detroit and never had any trouble. I was beaten up in broad daylight for using a payphone in Sunderland, had my house broken into both in Sunderland and Worthing, had a car stolen, had stuff stolen out of my car etc etc. I've never had any trouble in the US other than a house cleaner steeling $6,000 cash I stupidly left 'hidden' in the bathroom cabinet once. This trend goes for several close friends who are also ex-pat Brits as well.
5. Gas prices, road camera's, average speed cameras, road works etc etc
6. Congestion!!! We made the mistake of trying to drive from the Lake district to Swansea a few years ago on vacation to see a friend. Never made it and had to stop in a hotel for the night. Ditto with trying to get to Cornwall at anytime of day/year.
7. Being out in public. Not something you notice until you've been away, but people on the streets are just generally more hostile and rude.
8. Customer service, it's an oxymoron over there.

U.S. - The good
1. I earn more
2. I get taxed less
3. Every thing costs less
4. Food. Despite the hype Organic and local produce is far easier to find here than in the UK and magnitudes cheaper too. Eating out is much much cheaper too.
5, Freedom to do what I want, when I want, where I want with who I want.
6. The roads, despite the lack of corners getting from anywhere to anywhere is much easier. Heck last year my 70 year old mother came to visit and she managed to put away 180 miles in less than 2 hours on the way to Yellowstone.
7. Motorsport. You can still get a weekends club racing, wheel to wheel for $150 in some places. Heck I paid that to Hillclimb back in 94 in the UK. I don't race anymore, but I still do the odd track day. The last track day I did was $110 for a full day. I nearly die when I see the prices in EVO for 1/2 days. Even Autocross I can do for $15 for 5 runs.
8. Skiing, you can! I can ski locally in the winter for $15 through he kids school ski club, and 3 hours drive get me up north to better areas.
9. Our National and State park system. We have so much incredible stunning scenery and places it's amazing.
10. The Michigan weather. I love four real seasons over cool and damp to cooler and wetter.
11. Customer service. Yes people like to make fun of the 'have a nice day' mentality, but shops and restaurants are polite. You can return things with zero hassle even if there's nothing wrong with it. No questions beyond 'would you like cash or the money back on your credit card'

U.S. - The Bad
1. The health system is a joke. We spend more than any other country for worse service and lower life expectancy. Even with 'great' coverage through my employer I'm out over $1k for a hospital visit last year. It sucks and unfortunate the current reforms barely cover the tip of a very very big iceberg. This is the only thing that would ever have the potential to drive me back the UK in the future.
2. The countryside. I grew up in Yorkshire. To me going for a walking the country meant just that, I went for a walk, rights of way mean I could go where I wanted. That gives a tremendous sense of freedom. Over here I have friends who live in the country. Going for a walk means walking along side a dirt road with people going past at 60+ as you leap for cover. You just can't get out and walk unless your in a park. There is better walking in my suburban setting than many places in the country.
4. The Bible belt. Each man to his own, but freedom of religion shouldn't mean you can't teach evolution, come on!
5. The Abortion issue.
6. Urban sprawl, once you get out of a town centers you tend to have miles and miles and miles of god awful shops, houses etc, just ugly horrible depressing places. Land is so plentiful and cheap it's always easier to build new not rebuild what's there. For Gods sake reinstate the green belts before it's too late for the UK too.

So good and bad for both places, some issues more tongue in cheek than others and many cancel each other out. But as someone with duel Citizenship who can live where they want with no issue the scales for me at least are tipped strongly to this side of the pond. There are a couple of caveats though.

DukeOfUndersteer
DukeOfUndersteer SuperDork
4/6/10 9:23 a.m.

well, hope i can play in this thread...

My dad is British, born in Mortlake, moved here in the mid 70s...

I am going to try to apply for a dual citizenship so i can move there and work since the company i work for is based out of Daventry...

nderwater
nderwater Reader
4/6/10 9:28 a.m.

My family hails from Cornwall a few generations back, and my wife's father moved to the states from Warwickshire. Growing up, my wife frequently vacationed in Britain and she's eligible for British citizenship, and for the past several years we've toyed with taking a year off to try out life in the UK. Are we out of our minds?

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson HalfDork
4/6/10 9:52 a.m.
nderwater wrote: My family hails from Cornwall a few generations back, and my wife's father moved to the states from Warwickshire. Growing up, my wife frequently vacationed in Britain and she's eligible for British citizenship, and for the past several years we've toyed with taking a year off to try out life in the UK. Are we out of our minds?

Try it, it might suit you and you could love it. It is a great place to live all things being equal. The problem is all things are rarely equal. Take a look at what you could earn; what housing would cost you, what transportation would cost you etc. As I said many times if something is $1 here, you'd think it should cost £0.66 in the UK, but it ends up costing you £1. Now that's slightly skewed as VAT (sales tax) is included in the sticker price and that accounts for 17.5% – 19%, but it's still way higher than Most states Sales Tax. Also don't forget gas prices are $7-8 a US Gallon too.

I've know dozens of Families who have moved over here from the UK, most have stayed, some have gone back. Of those that have gone back to the UK I'd say 50% return to the US within 12 months due to sticker shock.

Now, I've also met many Americans who have moved to the UK and love it and plan to stay there.

Oh, one thing, it's much easier to legally come to the US and work than to go to most European countries and work.

I don't mean to sound too negative about the UK; I do still dearly love England, and get desperately 'home' sick every couple of years and need to go back for a week or two. But at the end of the day, for me (not necessarily you or any one else) the U.S. is my home and the better place to be.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/6/10 10:56 a.m.
Adrian_Thompson wrote: Try it, it might suit you and you could love it. It is a great place to live all things being equal. The problem is all things are rarely equal. Take a look at what you could earn; what housing would cost you, what transportation would cost you etc. As I said many times if something is $1 here, you'd think it should cost £0.66 in the UK, but it ends up costing you £1. Now that's slightly skewed as VAT (sales tax) is included in the sticker price and that accounts for 17.5% – 19%, but it's still way higher than Most states Sales Tax. Also don't forget gas prices are $7-8 a US Gallon too.

Regular (95 RON) is GBP 1.23/litre at the station down the road at the moment. Tescos around the corner has it at 1.19/litre but that's still roughly GBP4.75 per US gallon. However the pound isn't worth that much anymore so it's still at around $7/gallon (US). Housing is rather expensive (one of the reasons that I moved out of London, I was on a good salary and couldn't afford to buy a decent place). Houses are also very small by European (let alone US) standards. Now that the exchange rate has tanked, the rest of Europe has become quite expensive to travel to, too.

VAT is 17.5% btw, with a few discounted items at 7% IIRC.

As my posting name implies, I only live in the UK, I wasn't born here. Moved to the UK from Germany for various reasons, mainly job related as I'd hit my head on a career-type glass ceiling in Germany a couple times too often. I've done reasonably well career-wise, caught the motorsport bug here but I'm married to a US citizen. Worked out that it's easier for me to get a job in the US than her getting one here, so we went through a somewhat protracted visa process and I'm flying out in 2 weeks' time.

Don't get me wrong, I do like the UK but the feeling of it being 'home' is getting harder to maintain every time I go near a border. I like the people in general, the scenery, the fact that you can ride motorbikes almost all year around if you've got waterproof clothing and the motorsport heritage.

But Health & Safety has been getting into the way everywhere (we all need protecting from ourselves), the government seems to be hell-bent on curtailing civil liberties as it suits them (sorry, that's to prevent "terrorism", obviously) and they seem to encourage a rat-thy-neighbour policy that reminds me too much of the GDR. CCTV checks by the local council as to who puts their rubbish out early? That's worse than many HOAs. And there's more.

I'm still keeping a foothold here for the time being, but I'll see how I fare in the US - some of the politics there scare me somewhat, but the bible throwers have been gaining ground over here as well, so it's not that unusual to me.

Of course in classic immigrant "steal our women and our jobs" I've got the woman, now i need a job .

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
4/6/10 11:05 a.m.

My family arrived here in 1632, took care of the Indian problem and enjoyed a few years of peace and quiet until the rest of you showed up.

jrw1621
jrw1621 Dork
4/6/10 11:20 a.m.

Adrian et al,
Thanks for sharing this. I know it must have taken a long time to write but I really enjoyed your insights. I do not want you to think that your writting was for naught.
I am the typical American. I still live within an hours drive of where I was born. I commend your spirit of adventure and risk-taking.
I am not completely boxed in. I travel the US quite a bit. Some for personal but mostly business. Like yourself I am keenly attracted to Northern MI. My grandparents were born and retired back to the Boyne City, Charlevoix, Petoskey area. To me, that is an incredible area!

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson HalfDork
4/6/10 11:22 a.m.
Woody wrote: My family arrived here in 1632, took care of the Indian problem and enjoyed a few years of peace and quiet until the rest of you showed up.

Although I'm fresh meat of the boat, my wife's family (Tourtellotte) has been here a similar time.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson HalfDork
4/6/10 11:36 a.m.

Tim, I'm really glad you chimed in as you're the most frequent UK based poster here. I didn't know your story though.

BoxheadTim wrote: Regular (95 RON) is GBP 1.23/litre at the station down the road at the moment. Tescos around the corner has it at 1.19/litre but that's still roughly GBP4.75 per US gallon. However the pound isn't worth that much anymore so it's still at around $7/gallon (US).
So I was close!
BoxheadTim wrote: Housing is rather expensive (one of the reasons that I moved out of London, I was on a good salary and couldn't afford to buy a decent place). Houses are also very small by European (let alone US) standards. Now that the exchange rate has tanked, the rest of Europe has become quite expensive to travel to, too.
Yup, I wish I hadn't sold my apartment in Worthing about 8-9 years ago, I'd never be able to afford anything now. Housing varies massively by region in both countries, but as a swag for a similar size OR socioeconomic area I'd say it's 3-4 times as expensive to buy in the UK as the US
BoxheadTim wrote:

VAT is 17.5% btw, with a few discounted items at 7% IIRC.

OK, that's changed. Didn't some luxury good go up to 19% about 4-5 years ago? I've been gone nearly 16 years now.
BoxheadTim wrote: caught the motorsport bug here
Easy to do :) There are just so many more races/sprints/hillclimbs etc and Motorsport is just part of the culture. F1 is recognized as life and death over there :)
BoxheadTim wrote: but I'm married to a US citizen. Worked out that it's easier for me to get a job in the US than her getting one here,
Ditto, although I moved here first, then got the job and found the wife last.
BoxheadTim wrote: Don't get me wrong, I do like the UK but the feeling of it being 'home' is getting harder to maintain every time I go near a border. I like the people in general, the scenery, the fact that you can ride motorbikes almost all year around if you've got waterproof clothing and the motorsport heritage.
Bingo!
BoxheadTim wrote:

But Health & Safety has been getting into the way everywhere (we all need protecting from ourselves), the government seems to be hell-bent on curtailing civil liberties as it suits them (sorry, that's to prevent "terrorism", obviously) and they seem to encourage a rat-thy-neighbour policy that reminds me too much of the GDR. CCTV checks by the local council as to who puts their rubbish out early? That's worse than many HOAs. And there's more.

Yup, scares the hell out of me whenever I'm back there.
BoxheadTim wrote: I'm still keeping a foothold here for the time being, but I'll see how I fare in the US - some of the politics there scare me somewhat, but the bible throwers have been gaining ground over here as well, so it's not that unusual to me.
I have no problem with religion and do on occasions attend church, but I don't believe is a gray haired old man sitting on a throne in the sky creating/destroying and passing out judgment. I do have a problem with religious extremism. I never saw that at all when I was still in the UK, although I understand it's changing now. Over here it's regional. It only get's scary when the extremists start dictating policy and education.
BoxheadTim wrote: Of course in classic immigrant "steal our women and our jobs" I've got the woman, now I need a job .
I've got both :)

Now, taking my own thread off topic, your personal career situation apart, what do you think of the UK Vs Germany as a place to live and work these days?
I really liked what I saw in Cologne when I was there for work, and loved the Eiffel mountain area when I went to the Ring.

nutherjrfan
nutherjrfan Reader
4/6/10 11:46 a.m.

U.S. for me. Sod Ireland. Beautiful? Yes. Horribly expensive, OMG! Women are prettier here, more plentiful - more singles, and much easier to relax with and talk to. Other than my relatives I could care less for most Irish lasses - 'cept to share a beer with. Weather in Ireland is god-awful all year round. The politics here is all hot air, Congress is full blowhards, and the President legally is quite hamstrung in how he can mess up the country. Politics under british occupation in Ireland was horrible, and I sure don't miss uniformed soldiers pointing armalites a few feet from me at my head whilst in Catholic school uniform. In the District I am a little worried the liberty given to MPD to wear paramilitary uniforms - bad memories of the RUC. Otherwise, America berkeley Yeah! This place is just too much fun, too laid back, too free, not to love the life you can have here - so the rest of the world can clear off when they criticize the U.S.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson HalfDork
4/6/10 12:35 p.m.
nutherjrfan wrote: U.S. for me. Sod Ireland. Beautiful? Yes. Horribly expensive, OMG! Women are prettier here, more plentiful - more singles, and much easier to relax with and talk to. Other than my relatives I could care less for most Irish lasses - 'cept to share a beer with. Weather in Ireland is god-awful all year round. The politics here is all hot air, Congress is full blowhards, and the President legally is quite hamstrung in how he can mess up the country. Politics under british occupation in Ireland was horrible, and I sure don't miss uniformed soldiers pointing armalites a few feet from me at my head whilst in Catholic school uniform. In the District I am a little worried the liberty given to MPD to wear paramilitary uniforms - bad memories of the RUC. Otherwise, America berkeley Yeah! This place is just too much fun, too laid back, too free, not to love the life you can have here - so the rest of the world can clear off when they criticize the U.S.

How long have you been here and what brought you over in the first place?

mtn
mtn SuperDork
4/6/10 12:53 p.m.

Not much to add--my family has been here since pre WWI on dads side, and since the Mayflower and Lord Baltimore on moms side--but it is nice to hear people say nice things about the US. Even if I don't agree with all of your "what is wrong" with the US, its a nice change of pace.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson HalfDork
4/6/10 1:12 p.m.
mtn wrote: but it is nice to hear people say nice things about the US.

I think by definition those of us who are here by choice like the place!!!

As a side note, my wife has just got back from a girls trip to Paris, while the French are frequently portrayed as not liking America, she said everyone was really nice and interested in her and here, not of the anti US sentiment she expected. Also it was interesting that she heard a lot of American accents, but virtually no English ones.

cwh
cwh SuperDork
4/6/10 1:23 p.m.

I talk to quite a few Brit ex-pats in the islands. None have any interest in returning, even though they know the local governments are crazy, rampant crime, corrupt, and cost of living is higher than US, but much better than home. Same with Scots, Canadians as well. I wouldn't expect that from the Canadians, but maybe the Arctic winters decided for them.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/6/10 1:58 p.m.
Adrian_Thompson wrote: Tim, I'm really glad you chimed in as you're the most frequent UK based poster here. I didn't know your story though.
BoxheadTim wrote: Housing is rather expensive (one of the reasons that I moved out of London, I was on a good salary and couldn't afford to buy a decent place). Houses are also very small by European (let alone US) standards. Now that the exchange rate has tanked, the rest of Europe has become quite expensive to travel to, too.
Yup, I wish I hadn't sold my apartment in Worthing about 8-9 years ago, I'd never be able to afford anything now. Housing varies massively by region in both countries, but as a swag for a similar size OR socioeconomic area I'd say it's 3-4 times as expensive to buy in the UK as the US

Prices are falling again, though. Or have fallen and are on the rebound, depending on who you ask. The 3-4 times factor is certainly true if you compare square footage, if you go by category (ie, look at what a family of four buys in the US or the UK) it's probably about 2x.

Adrian_Thompson wrote:
BoxheadTim wrote: VAT is 17.5% btw, with a few discounted items at 7% IIRC.
OK, that's changed. Didn't some luxury good go up to 19% about 4-5 years ago? I've been gone nearly 16 years now.

Doesn't ring a bell, but pretty much the only luxury goods that I buy seem to be Porsche spares...

They're upping the taxes on alcoholic drinks seemingly every five minutes, might be that they bumped the tax on champagne or somesuch. Alcohol is getting stupidly expensive here (for our own good, obviously) but strangely enough that doesn't stop people from falling out the pub completely hammered.

Adrian_Thompson wrote:
BoxheadTim wrote: caught the motorsport bug here
Easy to do :) There are just so many more races/sprints/hillclimbs etc and Motorsport is just part of the culture. F1 is recognized as life and death over there :)

But motorsport another thing that's getting more and more restricted, the NIMBYs moving into cheap houses next to a race track and then complaining about the noise. My local track (Lydden Hill) is only allowed to hold a certain number of events per year for that reason, others like Bedford have extremely restrictive noise rules.

Open road racing is pretty much dead in England/Wales/Scotland (Northern Ireland still has them, as has the Isle of Man), the French have no problem closing half a town for road racing (check out Pau) but try that here...

Adrian_Thompson wrote:
BoxheadTim wrote: I'm still keeping a foothold here for the time being, but I'll see how I fare in the US - some of the politics there scare me somewhat, but the bible throwers have been gaining ground over here as well, so it's not that unusual to me.
I have no problem with religion and do on occasions attend church, but I don't believe is a gray haired old man sitting on a throne in the sky creating/destroying and passing out judgment. I do have a problem with religious extremism. I never saw that at all when I was still in the UK, although I understand it's changing now. Over here it's regional. It only get's scary when the extremists start dictating policy and education.

I don't have a problem with religion either, even though I've become an atheist over time. My mum still plays the organ in church and has worked for the protestant church in Switzerland for years...

It's the extremists as you say, the ones that want to save you (or is it your wallet?) if you want to or not. And I'm seeing a surge of that here, most definitely. I also notice that it's happening in Germany, but on a smaller scale.

Adrian_Thompson wrote:
BoxheadTim wrote: Of course in classic immigrant "steal our women and our jobs" I've got the woman, now I need a job .
I've got both :)

I hope I've got the job soon, too. Out there somewhere is a Corvette or an NSX with my name on it, I just have to figure out how to pay for it .

Adrian_Thompson wrote: Now, taking my own thread off topic, your personal career situation apart, what do you think of the UK Vs Germany as a place to live and work these days? I really liked what I saw in Cologne when I was there for work, and loved the Eiffel mountain area when I went to the Ring.

OK, keep in mind that my view of Germany is somewhat coloured by my experience. I've run several businesses, one in Germany, several here - the one in Germany triggered the aforementioned glass ceiling because being an entrepreneur is already considered a little iffy and you're only respected if you succeed. Fail and you're, well, slightly restricted in your further career choice. The major stumbling block for me has always been that the definition of 'career' in Germany is go to University or technical college and get a good job, stay there until they can't fire you (usually 5-10 years).

Of course the joke is that I ended up working for German companies in the UK that wouldn't touch me with a bargepole back in Germany .

That aside, I think that I'd have problems going back to Germany and living there. People in the UK do have a certain flexibility to deal with life's lemons whereas in Germany, it's more by the rulebook. That's really getting on my nerves, especially if you're in a situation that almost mimics "computer says no, only because rulebook says no. However, the joke that the most used German word is "Verboten" can now be applied to the UK at least in equal measure.

OTOH, if you hire a tradesperson in Germany, the work they do tends to be of slightly, shall we say, superior quality to what you get in the UK (says the guy who's just had to retile part of his bathroom and the kitchen to undo some of the damage the previous owner, who is in the building trade, has done). And I find it a lot easier to deal with people from Germany when it comes to selling cars as I tend to describe mine honestly, which is viewed as 'too negative' here in the UK...

There are plenty of beautiful areas in Germany, you've got everything from the seaside to proper mountains; I grew up on the Swiss border (Lake Constance, if that means anything to you) and it's really nice down there but it's not a place that I'd chose to go back to. I think I've seen too much of the rest of the world to go back - well, you can never go back anyway, but "go back there". Not to mention that going back wouldn't be easy with Ann in tow as she doesn't speak German, which makes getting a residency permit (let alone a work permit) hard to get.

All that said, the one thing I always liked about Germany - actually, about most of continental Europe - is the different balance between work and life, and the bigger emphasis on quality of life. Work a little less, but spend a bit more time enjoying yourself. Oh, and the feeling of space. The UK is very crowded, at least down here in the Southeast.

Germany seems to keep borrowing ideas from the UK though (like privatising the railways, with similar 'wonderful' results) and I'm not convinced that they're good ones. The social security system has been eroded somewhat, same goes for health care (pay more for less coverage, sounds familiar?) so it's not the "employee's paradise" it used to be.

Would I move to the UK again? Maybe. But plan B if the emigration to the US failed was either to go try find work in France (good food, much more motorbike friendly than UK or Germany, plenty of beautiful women to ogle, wife loves it there) or go out to the Far East. Maybe it's because I haven't found the place I want to be buried at yet.

nutherjrfan
nutherjrfan Reader
4/6/10 1:59 p.m.

since 94 off and on until 2000 in Louisiana, been in the District since 2000 permanently. Maybe if I win the Powerball I'll go back a few times, oh but that onerous exchange rate!

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/6/10 2:06 p.m.
Adrian_Thompson wrote:
mtn wrote: but it is nice to hear people say nice things about the US.
I think by definition those of us who are here by choice like the place!!!

Very true. I wouldn't move there if I hadn't spent at least a little time over there and found that I liked it.

Adrian_Thompson wrote: As a side note, my wife has just got back from a girls trip to Paris, while the French are frequently portrayed as not liking America, she said everyone was really nice and interested in her and here, not of the anti US sentiment she expected. Also it was interesting that she heard a lot of American accents, but virtually no English ones.

Never had a problem with anti-US sentiment. Ann is very obviously American if you hear her talk (I don't mean that in a bad way, it's just obvious) and we've always had very nice experiences. The one thing they always appreciate is if you try to converse with them in their language and as I speak a little French, that tends to help, plus we tended to stay away from the obvious tourist traps. It's all about how you approach people too.

BTW, the French might be portrayed as not liking America, but they do love McDonalds, have probably the biggest concentration of Harley-Davidsons outside of the Nordic countries and do love American cars.

A lot of the Brits either stay home at the moment due to the weak pound, or the ones you notice are off to the tourist traps to get drunk and laid, usually in that order.

Chris_V
Chris_V SuperDork
4/6/10 2:07 p.m.

Interesting thread, and the insight is welcomed. Sometimes you get so insulated in your own location that everything looks better elsewhere. Spent a week in Scotland this past month and loved everything about it. Friendly people, wide open spaces, fun roads, lots of Scotch... ;) Spent time at the clan castle in the highlands, and thought that the region north of Perth might be nice to relocate to.

But having been all over teh US, I can see a lot of what I liked about there, with the added benefits of what I like about here. Twisty backroads? check. Wide open spaces? Check. Countryside you can hike and explore? Check. While not the same cars, there are a plethora of fun cars to choose from and car events of all sorts for us gearheads.

Maybe I just need to get out of the particular area I'm in and head back west where I grew up.

But, Scotland was quite tempting...

Marty!
Marty! HalfDork
4/6/10 9:11 p.m.

This may come off as a dumb question but since all all the Brits are chiming in I'll ask....

Is there trucks in the UK (or Europe for that matter). I don't mean the lorry type of trucks, but pick-up trucks. Every TV show I've watched from the UK I can't recall ever seeing one.

It seems that everybody drives small econo-boxes as everything tends to be close to where they live.

What do you do when you need to pick up some drywall, plywood, or a new washing machine?

procainestart
procainestart Dork
4/6/10 10:26 p.m.
Marty! wrote: This may come off as a dumb question but since all all the Brits are chiming in I'll ask.... Is there trucks in the UK (or Europe for that matter). I don't mean the lorry type of trucks, but pick-up trucks. Every TV show I've watched from the UK I can't recall ever seeing one. It seems that everybody drives small econo-boxes as everything tends to be close to where they live. What do you do when you need to pick up some drywall, plywood, or a new washing machine?

I was in England last week (mostly in/around Weymouth on the south coast). The only pick-up trucks I saw were Ford Rangers and a few Land Rovers. Oh, and a few Mitsubishis, too.

Yes, there are a ton of teeny tiny cars, but I was surprised at how many "normal" sized cars there were as well, e.g., BMW 5 series, Mercedes, Saab 9-5s, Toyota 4-Runners (they're called Hi-Lux there), and minivans (they call them "people movers"). I was told that people there have been going bigger over the past several years. I even saw a couple Chrysler 300s, a Hummer 3, and a new Mustang, all of which looked completely out of place to me.

The other thing I saw a ton of were those little delivery trucks like the Ford Transit Connect -- not just Fords, though: VW, Peugeot, Citroen, etc. all have these.

friedgreencorrado
friedgreencorrado Dork
4/6/10 10:29 p.m.

I had a quite serious relationship with a woman from England about 5 years ago (we actually discussed marriage for awhile). She was a vendor for the company that makes our automation software, and resided in London (although she was originally from the "White Rose Country".. ). She was in the US for months at a time, due to the job.

She eventually decided not to emigrate due to the health care, the religion, and the educational system (she once remarked that the thing that first attracted her to me was that in regards to religion and world events, I was the only American she'd ever met "..without his head up his ass.."-her exact words), . She had a 4-yr old daughter, and was absolutely astounded by the degree of ignorance (especially about the rest of the world) displayed by Americans her own age (23 at the time). Can't disagree with her on that point, since what first attracted me to her was that she was much more mature and "worldly" than US women her age.

Oh, and that fine, round English arse. What on earth are you in the UK feeding them to produce lovely figures like that?

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/7/10 2:01 a.m.
Marty! wrote: This may come off as a dumb question but since all all the Brits are chiming in I'll ask.... Is there trucks in the UK (or Europe for that matter). I don't mean the lorry type of trucks, but pick-up trucks. Every TV show I've watched from the UK I can't recall ever seeing one. It seems that everybody drives small econo-boxes as everything tends to be close to where they live. What do you do when you need to pick up some drywall, plywood, or a new washing machine?

You see more pick-up trucks than you saw about 10 years ago, but most of them are driven by tradespeople who either drive a pick-up truck or a small to medium size van (aka "white van man"). If you live in any of the big cities and don't have a house with a driveway (a lot of garages have been converted to 3rd bedrooms), you'll want a small car to improve your chance of finding a parking space.

White goods like washing machines - you often get these delivered by the store, and they take away and dispose of your old one. Not that many people are into serious DIY (the kind where you need drywall or large sheets of plywood) and a lot of the smaller sheets fit into the back of a hatchback. Or you drive a slightly larger station wagon...

Also, keep in mind that cars like Mercedes E-class, BMW series and similar are considered big cars, almost a step up from a regular family car. A lot of people drive SUVs, too - the typical soccer mom Range Rover that stops in the middle of the road outside school[1], all the doors fly open and the sprogs fall out, with no regard for traffic whatsoever.

[1] Note to self: The next house is not going to be down the road from a school. I should've learned that lesson the first time around.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/7/10 2:07 a.m.
friedgreencorrado wrote: Oh, and that fine, round English arse. What on earth are you in the UK feeding them to produce lovely figures like that?

Hamburgers and beer.

Wally
Wally SuperDork
4/7/10 2:16 a.m.
BoxheadTim wrote:
friedgreencorrado wrote: Oh, and that fine, round English arse. What on earth are you in the UK feeding them to produce lovely figures like that?
Hamburgers and beer.

Thats how I got mine too.

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