When you choose to live somewhere that is a tourist destination you have chosen to live a strange existence where you can, if you feel like it, make a new best friend every two weeks or less. This can be great if you like hanging out with people who are generally in a good mood and drunk a lot of the time but after a while it can become just as dreary as real life where you have a steady group of friends who you love and hate in equal measures throughout the years.
The thing about living in a tourist destination is that many Brits abroad end up working in some way that is connected to the tourist industry, either in a bar, as a rep, in a hotel or some other place where you have to keep a perma-smile in place for four months of the year.
When I am on holiday I love being a tourist and doing all the thing that tourists (not travellers) do – like eating ice creams by the beach, sampling some of the local cuisine in a back street restaurant and of course eating the compulsory English Breakfast. But when you are on the other side of the counter you find that many of the tourists you meet tend to merge into one, with each burnt nose starting to look pretty much like another.
Perhaps the most irksome part of being a Brit abroad and living or working in a tourist town are the questions that you get asked by people who have come on holiday and it is basically guaranteed that you will be asked these top 5 questions hundreds of times every year if you dare to venture out of the house during the summer months:
- How long have you lived here? – Would you ask a person in your local town in the UK how long they have lived there as your opening gambit – NO – of course you wouldn’t because who really cares!
- Where are you from in the UK? – Again, does this really matter? If I say London are you going to tell me that you know someone from London and then ask me if I know them – because I won’t.
- Do you think you will live here forever? – How should I know, do you know if you will be living where you are forever? The last time I looked forever was a long time and I generally only plan no more than 48 hours ahead at best.
- Do you like it here? – Dear God!! What do you think? Would you go off an live in a place that you hated and when was the last time that someone asked you to justify why you live where you do?
- Aren’t you lucky you live here? – No not really. You managed to get here on a plane, all I did differently was not get back on one and leave. It doesn’t take a lot of luck to dig out your passport, book a plane ticket and go anywhere you like (and if you haven’t noticed you are the one on holiday while I am working my arse off in the 40º heat – does that look lucky to you?)
I have found through experience that the only way to avoid these questions is to look vaguely into space when someone starts along the question route and to pretend that I don’t understand English, failing that I only leave the house under the cover of darkness and keep to the shadows to avoid detection.
If you come on holiday and find an expat then please do not ask them these questions – they will of course answer you but will instantly hate you.
If you are a Brit abroad then may I suggest you make an oversized name tag with all the relevant answers written clearly below and pin it to your chest.