I guess the main thing I had to comply with when I decided to move to England permanently was that in this country rules are usually followed. In Brazil, we have a theory that if rules are getting in the way, we may just overlook them and that’s it. I’m not talking about big things like politics, etc, because we all know that in that sector Brazil fails miserably. I’m talking about the little rules of our everyday life. The rules that make us make sense of living within a community.
When I just moved here, I was in the car with my then husband and we were approaching some crossroads. I saw the lights turn to red and, even so, decided I was still able to cross it, based on the “you still have 5 seconds after the lights turn to red” rule created by myself when I used to drive in Brazil. Oh my God! I unleashed a beast in the car! Then husband nearly had a heart attack as I went through the lights and I got a massive telling off including “Do you want to kill us?” and “Are you going crazy” comment type of reaction. That day, it became clear that I better watch myself in this country.
Another one: drink and drive. Never ever would you think of doing this in England, even when in Brazil, despite all the rules, fines and points you can get for it, nobody really obeys. It’s absolutely wrong to do it, and I’m amazed that people here follow this rule with no questions asked. And when I say no questions asked, I mean that they don’t even consider it. It’s amazing and SO right! (and at the same time, I’m SO not used to it! – but still follow it, of course).
Another one: using your indicators. In Brazil, nah… no such bother. Here, all I can hear in my car when driving (unless I’m on a very long straight road like a motorway, which really never happens) is the tic tac, tic tac of the indicators. Good girl, me.
But it’s not just in traffic that the ‘following the rules rule’ is followed with no complaints. People form queues, people say please and thank you, people let other people go first, people don’t say rude things to other people in the street. Is this what they call civilization? I like it, I like it a lot. And I think I really got used to it, because when I go back to Brazil, certain things leave me gobsmacked!
I’m not trying to say that one country is better than the other, not at all. I’m talking about differences and how certain nationalities behave differently. If I was to give any advice to anyone wanting to make England their home, I’d say: follow the rules and you will be fine, you will fit right in.
Now, if you wanted to move to Brazil, my advice would be quite another. Get yourself some good sunglasses because there, my friend, you have to get used to what the Brits can’t have and crave so much: a glorious sunshine.