6 Things I Never Did Until I Started Living in UK

6 Things I Never Did Until I Started Living in UK

If you come from Africa at least Uganda, you know how much people covet moving to and living in UK. I can tell you I have received hundreds of facebook PMs from total strangers asking me to invite them or connect them to someone so they can move to UK… And yet…

The UK to most people from Uganda is NOT like any other country. Once you live here though, you realize that it is life as usual. Just with new customs and traditions.

Also, there are many things you’d probably never think of doing elsewhere. Here are some of my experience after 18 years living in UK.


6 Things I Never Did Until I Moved to the United Kingdom

  1. Wear Long Boots Aka Winter Boots

Before coming to England, I could never understand why anyone would6 Things I Never Did Until I Started Living in UK  choose to wear long boots. Remember I grew up in Uganda, where its sweltering hot most of the year. Walking around in long boots is a recipe for roasting your legs and having your thighs rub! 😉

English women walk around in these things esp. thigh high heeled winter boots everywhere, almost all year long. Well with the UK weather you can’t blame them can ya! You can get your pair here as well. 

In a grey country as rainy as the UK, high boots are also a fashion accessory, and I have come to find them pretty sexy too!   

Moreover, many women do not mind walking in high boots, short tight skirt, strutting their stuff…

So, when in Rome…and all that Jazz. I find I love high winter boots too!


  1. Learnt Patience i.e. Queuing/Waiting my turn

In Uganda like most African countries, if you know someone who knows someone, you literally can jump the queue in most places and be served.

maybe because I was young and insensitive, I usually didn’t think about the people who had been waiting or whatever. It just is what it is…

Then I come to UK and I knew nobody or so I thought. But, after a while I realised the KNOW WHO and Queue jumping, it’s very much compartmentalized, and institutionalized.

So most, 97% of the populace has learnt to wait patiently in a line aka queue for your turn to be served!

I remember when I found a line of people waiting at the Doctor’s and there was a lady behind an empty desk. I marched right to her and asked if I could see the doctor as I was feeling pretty ill. She looked at me over her glasses and asked me:

Did you walk or drive here? I said Yup, she then pulled her glasses below her nose and said… See that queue over there? That’s where you can wait your turn like everybody else. If you got yourself here, it cannot be that bad!

That was me told…I never ever tried to jump a queue again!

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#3. Ate raw fish and meat.

Living in UK - Some foods I didnt grow up eating - Fish roe

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Well, where I grew up, we cook everything apart from fruits. Vegetables, salads, you name it, its cooked to within an inch of itself and eaten as a main or sauce/stew.

Meat has to be dead, totally nuked. None of that rare or medium cooked stuff. Extra cooked please and then some… 😊 Of course today we do salads lol.

Yet I did try raw meat in an Ethiopian restaurant in Kabalagala in Kampala Uganda! I liked it…lolol red blooded carnivore that I am!

BUT fish definitely must be well cooked, or so I thought… Well until I started living in UK!

Fish definitely must be well cooked, or so I thought… Click to Tweet

I was introduced to sushi, caviar and raw fish eggs aka roe, muscles etc.

They are delicacies and can cost in thousands of pounds, depending on what type of fish you are being served. Definitely Salmon is way up there in price.

Then again, we don’t have salmon in Uganda, do we? What with Uganda being land locked you only get fresh water aka river and lake fish…

Aaad, yes, I did it! I tried these European dishes. You can have raw fish as:

  • Caviche,
  • Sashimi aka Sushi,
  • Poke, found this in Hawaii to be honest,
  • Carpaccio; paper-thin slices of raw fish, or meat… Better have a taste for this!

In my humble view, raw fish is very much an acquired taste and I tell you, I will stick to cooked fish. #TVM.

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  1. Ate chocolate spread on bread

If you grew up in the 70s in Africa esp. East Africa you had “Blue band” on bread!

5 Things I Never Did Until I Started Living in UK - Blue Band from Africa

So, imagine my surprise when I asked for “blue band” from our hosts when I moved to UK. They both looked at each other and burst out laughing!

The then passed me a tub of “Olive oil Spread” and also offered me a tub of brown stuff…and said my then 1-year old little girl would love it.

I was like; what is that? And they went…”Chocolate Blue band”! 😊

I thought the brits must be weird eating chocolate on bread. However I had no idea how popular it is.

I thought the brits must be weird eating chocolate on bread. Click to Tweet

Children love it, and there are varieties of brands so choice galore…With my sweet tooth I of course got addicted to a brand called Nutella. Well for a while, till I counted the spare tires on my tum…! Don’t judge… it’s actually quite tasty.

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#5. Didn’t pay for medical attention without Insurance

For the majority of other countries, the health system is; pay as you go. In other words, you gotta pay to get seen, before you are diagnosed…Its called consultation and it is normal. May not be loved, but its accepted as norm!

When I first felt sick living in UK on a visa, I wondered how much I had to pay as an unemployed dependent mom!

I was surprised when my Pauli told me all I had to do was walk into the GPs (A specific one mind you) tell them I was dependent on a student. Share my deets and I would be seen to…And Children do not pay for health care!

I was so excited you cannot believe it…

Imagine being excited to be ill!  – in United Kingdom, you can walk into any ER and expect to be treated first questions later. (At time of publishing)

This of course has caused what we call “Health tourism“, which the government is doing its best to plug.

Still, I so appreciate the UK health care system having lived in a country where you must pay for everything in cash including Consulting the GP. Tests, medicines everything. I love the UK NHS.

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#6. Eat Food in newspaper

I know you will say this is because I have lived a sheltered life lol. And I will say to you walk my path via Journey without Limits! See, nothing is further from that! 

But seriously walk into some local chippies aka fast food establishments in UK and you will be served in newspaper. Esp. if you buy fish and chips, sausage and chips, etc.

I always thought food is served on a plate even if it’s a plastic plate! 

Anyways, this post will be updated as I think about more and more of the things I find a wee bit weird about living in UK, despite over 10 years of life here! 

A Journey Without Limits by Julie Sylvia Kalungi

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Julie Syl

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