5 Courtesies I learnt from the Brits

This is my third year in the United Kingdom but I still do not know the names of the cereals Brits consume on a daily basis. Not like it’s important but it once was when not knowing them embarrassed me at work. I literally left a lady with a pack of cereal unopened and without milk, thinking it was a biscuit. I was totally embarrassed when I was cautioned about it, as the lady in question was really old and knew less about the breakfasts that were served to her.

Anyways, I would be giving you 5 courtesies I admire about British people which is not so common to the place and people I belong to.

Watercolor Uk Flag, Watercolor British Flag Art Print

Picture gotten from-Watercolor

“Yes please”-Unlike now, I’d say to anyone behind the counter wherever I shop ” I’d like a bag” if asked “would you like a bag?”. It’s been 3 years, I’m still trying to get a hang on saying ” yes please” right after I’m asked what I want. Yes! I used the word “still trying to get a hang on” as I seldom forget. It takes me approximately 30 seconds to add “please”  just after saying “yes” which probably says a lot about me to the sales person ( she’s an anti-Brit) lol.

Queuing in turns– 17 years of my life was spent in Aba, Abia state, Nigeria and the least you should ever expect from people living there is order. We hustle for anything and everything including space, lol, as it is a business-minded city, but more like a ghetto. You can imagine going from grass to grace, I found it fascinating to find people who even unknowingly queue up. Although, it took a while to get used to the word “queue” talk more of standing in one, I find it easy to reciprocate when a typical Brit paves way for one. Here in the UK, people are well- mannered when it comes to waiting for a bus, waiting at the bank counter or even in a supermarket. It’s something admirable.

“Smiling back”– “Onye kele sunny, sunny ekele ya”, a proverb in my native dialect (Igbo) which depicts the reciprocation of a greeting when greeted. An elderly person regardless of their relation to you expects you to at least greet them with an “Aunty or uncle or sir” or even some sort of title attached, whenever you see them in Nigeria.That to some extent shows respect and good upbringing to them. However, here in the UK, most people quietly give you a broad smile, which is either plain πŸ™‚ or with their teeth all out :D.

Nigerian Flag Art Print

Picture gotten from- Allposters

Visiting Friends– You don’t bugger off to someone’s place in the name of being friends without informing them of your coming. It’s more like intruding someone’s privacy or even disregarding it in some way. I have a childhood friend that lives in the next street back home and whenever it used to be their turn to have light ( NEPA: former power supply in Nigeria) supplied to them, I would always run to her place and she never complained about my uninvited visits. Back then in our area, electricity supply used to be in turns as there were less transformers to step down the main current. Whenever I had light supplied, she never did and vice versa. I’ve now gotten so used to calling or texting before even going to see a neighbor here in the UK.

“Cheers”– It took me probably less than a month to get used to this one :). I found it fancy and less stressful than saying “thank you”. The Brits mostly say it to either show appreciation or just before having a drink and also after toasting to something.  I call it a Brit courtesy because I heard and learnt how to use it here first. I’m not 100% sure of the originators but I like the word.

Although, there are loads of courtesies to adapt from British people, I find these 5 more admirable. I believe if they travel to any country in  Africa and not just Nigeria, they would also have a lot to learn from and adapt to too. What’s the essence of life if not growth? and what waters growth are the little things we learn and do.

Are there any courtesies you found fascinated by as a foreigner in countries you’ve been to? I would love to hear about them. Cheers! πŸ™‚

Dyna Ekwueme Copyright, 2016.


34 Comments Add yours

  1. tilitarian says:

    Hi. Another nice one from the girl who writes in abstracts.

    Sent u a Facebook message (follow u there) regarding Chidinma.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. bellelafriq says:

    Good post!!! I berra start learning these ‘simple’ things, you never know where you’ll end up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jfwknifton says:

    Yes, it’s a wonderful country. We’ve fought for it. Died for it. And still we are relatively free and envied by at least a couple of hundred benighted countries in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ipeniwrite says:

    Thank you🌸..would check my inbox now dear


  5. ipeniwrite says:

    Yees..no one knowsπŸ˜„..thank you for your time 🌸


  6. ipeniwrite says:

    I admire your patriotism and your peoples’, I believe it’s contagious as I’ve learnt to appreciate and embrace my roots since I came here. Thank you for reading 🌸


  7. shimmy440 says:

    Thank you for reminding me about some of the things I like about my home and take for granted πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ipeniwrite says:

    I’m glad you’re reminded. Thank you for your time 🌸

    Liked by 1 person

  9. chrisdavies09 says:

    Enjoyed reading your post, thanks. Although I think that sometimes some of us Brits are just a bit too polite!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ipeniwrite says:

    Thank you too..Yees! It’s a cultural thing I guess


  11. Joana Salazar says:

    I’ve been wanting to travel to England, I’ll keep those in mind πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  12. ipeniwrite says:

    It would come handy when you get hereπŸ˜„..thank you for reading my post


  13. Fijay says:

    Oh Dyna this post made me laugh so much …..I read a book called ‘Tales from a small island’ written by an American called Bill Bryson who lived here for a while.
    Maybe if you get time you could read it and maybe write a similar book from an African perspective ….it would be FABULOUS
    I guess another thing Brits are usually good at is laughing at ourselves and our quirks:D:D:D:D

    Liked by 1 person

  14. ipeniwrite says:

    Oh dear!..when I get the chance I’ll cop it and have a read..πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ really? Haven’t realised that one yet..is it weird to you? Laughing at yourself?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Fijay says:

    Yes …go girl …and no …don’t think it’s weird ….well I’m a Brit so I wouldn’t would I:D:D:D:D ……think the Brits are known for their sense of irony and humour …the Irish even more so ….I lived in the states for a while …there was very weird stuff I had to get used to there …India too ..all good tho ..I enjoyed the experience ….I LOVE to experience different cultures,customs etc….I think it’s WELL worth baring in mind the sometimes unintentional faux pas we can ALL make when abroad:D:D:D

    Liked by 1 person

  16. ipeniwrite says:

    πŸ˜„πŸ˜„ that’s fascinating tho..yea I guess that’s why I’m stuck up watching British History series 😩..really?? Would love to have an American experience too..oh well, there isn’t any country exactly the same as another and that’s why traveling changes your thoughts so much on things and cultures you knew nothing of..Thank you Fijay for always being here to read my Posts🌸..you make me feel appreciated πŸ’™

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Fijay says:

    You ARE appreciated …love your posts:):):):)

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I studied in the south of the US and they took gritts everyday! I did not liked that cereal at all, today i take it to remember those days!

    Good luck and loved your article!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. ipeniwrite says:

    Aww bless..thank you for reading too🌸


  20. I’m studying abroad in London for the next 2 1/2 months so I’m super excited to experience all of this! Thanks for the tip!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. ipeniwrite says:

    That’s exciting Emily..you’re welcome..thank you for reading 🌸

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I am so, so pleased you gave me a follow or I might not have had the chance to discover your fantastic little page.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. ipeniwrite says:

    Awww thank you too for coming here🌸


  24. livelytwist says:

    The Dutch add “alsjeblieft” to almost everything πŸ™‚
    It means, please, it means here you go, it means whatever, it’s a courtesy, it’s polite.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. ipeniwrite says:

    Nearly bit my tongue trying to pronounce itπŸ˜‚..something new learnt..thank you for reading love🌸

    Liked by 1 person

  26. As a Brit..can I say thank you! Lovely post! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  27. ipeniwrite says:

    Thank you too Maison for reading 🌸


  28. Hi there πŸ™‚ I really enjoyed this post, I remember I went to New Zealand a couple.of years ago, and while we were strangers, the locals were more than happy to help in any way possible. One time I vividly remember we stopped in the city of Parauau and a local woman struck up conversation with us and invited us to stay in her home, she wasn’t there at the time, but she told us where the key was and to make ourselves at home, her only condition was that we feed her sucks hahahaha. Such awesome spirit and very friendly. My favourite person I had met there. It speaks volumes of her nature and was greatly appreciated πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Her ducks* sorry lol

    Liked by 1 person

  30. ipeniwrite says:

    Awww..she trusted you all at first sight and even gave her house key to you guys? You all must have some attracting aura πŸ˜„..that’s a cute story. At least she spoke for the New Zealanders with her attitude. I’m quite happy you shared your experience here..thank you. 🌸

    Liked by 1 person

  31. She did πŸ™‚ she was a bit of a hippy like me and she lived right on the estuary. Feel good vibes for sure, I loved it there πŸ™‚ certainly worth a visit of you wander over than way πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  32. ipeniwrite says:

    Aww..good good feeling I bet. Thank you🌸


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