You Don’t Miss Something Until It’s Gone, From UK to Canada Comments57 Comments

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You don’t miss something until it’s gone, it’s true. When you take things for granted, it’s easy to get comfortable with the fact that nothing will ever change. In this instance I’m talking about things I miss since leaving the UK and moving to Canada.

Fish and Chips….proper fish ‘n’ chips

I went to Detroit one day and on the journey home stopped at an Applebee’s for something to eat. Looking through the menu i saw what they said was “Fish and Chips” and instantly had a hankerin’ for it, though obviously not in the newspaper wrapping (dam you health and safety!).

When the plate arrived I was very disappointed, for starters the amount of chips was larger than the amount of fish and the fish consisted of two small battered fillets. Now where I come from (and other Brits on this site will agree) fish and chips are called such due mainly to the fact that you get a whopping big fish with a portion of chips. The order in which the two main ingredients are listed suggests the proportions. By the way, the best fish and chips I ever had was sitting on the seafront on the east coast of England. There are other Canadian approximations that are no substitute for the real thing such as Pork Pies, Cornish Pasties and Scotch eggs. Please feel free to tell me what you miss and where you’ve found a good version of it here in the colonies.

Paid and It Went

Mobile phones and I aren’t huge friends to begin with, but even if you want to be frugal and get a “pay as you go” you’re getting ripped off. Back in blighty I was the owner of a Tesco (supermarket) pay as you go mobile phone, it wasn’t used a great deal and I usually put 20 pounds (currently approx $32) on it which lasted me 6-8 months. The reason it last so long was I paid and it went as I used it up, hence pay as you go.

In the interest of keeping the wife sane during the winter months and me out driving here and there I re-activated my phone from the UK with a Rogers pay as you go SIM Card and placed $10 on the account. The first time I go to use it, no money? There’s a 30 day limit on the $10 or something to that effect, so where exactly is the pay as you go on that? I paid, I didn’t use and it went. Now she owns a phone and negotiates a deal with Rogers each year by calling the retentions department, as I can’t be bothered with any of it. In general the Canadian population gets the rough end of the stick when it comes to mobile phone charges.

Budget Travel

Hot summer get-a-ways spent in the Mediterranean were convenient and cheap and I travelled quite a bit in my twenties. Weekends or fortnight (2 weeks) holidays in Spain, Portugal, Canary Islands, Madeira, Greece, Turkey etc were easily available, it may have changed now.

Flights only from 35 pounds (currently $55) and 2-3 hours flight time would place you somewhere new and exciting. The problem here is mainly geographical but flights tend to be a bit pricey too. I’m not one for resorts and spend 2 weeks stuck on a beach…..I’ve got to get out there with the locals.
Unfortunately most of the Caribbean is resort based and most other places beyond that start to go up in price.

Not All Negative

The Canadian population is a lucky bunch; we live in a beautiful country and lead a very good life on the whole. Money goes a lot further on a house for starters; I used to own a small 2 bed town house (approx 600 sq ft) with no garage and no basement in the UK. You can purchase a house at twice the size with a basement and garage for about the same money.

Your Tax on purchases is 13% back in England it’s 20% and yet people moan like crazy. Gas prices are relatively cheap, ever wondered why Europe has a huge amount of small cars, it’s not because we all like driving round in roller-skates, and it’s the price of gas. Here it’s approximately $1.25 – $1.35 a litre but back in the UK it’s around 1.35 pounds which is $2.15 a litre!

Over the course of my life and experiences, I can honestly say there’s no way you’re ever going to get the best of everything all the time, there’s always pro’s and cons. So when we go back to visit the UK we will fill up on what we miss because you never know what you have until it’s gone so get it while you can.

Author Bio: Canadian Budget Binder is a blog about a Young Canadian Couple’s Journey to Debt Freedom written by Mr.CBB who moved to Canada from the UK. You can Follow Mr.CBB on Twitter and Facebook.

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This entry was posted in Financial Advice, and tagged , , , Comments57 Comments
By : Adam | 26 Nov 2012
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57 thoughts on “You Don’t Miss Something Until It’s Gone, From UK to Canada

  1. K.K. @ Living Debt Free Rocks!

    Mr. CBB I know your pain. As a Canuck who moved to the USA I sometimes miss the small things like a GOOD Ice Cap from Tim Horton’s…the ones in the US cannot even compare. I miss having a white hot chocolate from Second Cup. I miss speaking french on a daily basis…so whenever I get a chance to return to Canada I soak up the experiences to help tide me over until I hopefully can return again.

    Reply
  2. Vanessa

    I loooove Mr. CBB! Whenever I leave QC or Canada I always miss the things that I take for granted. Off the top of my head:
    Winnipeg: I missed Van Houtte coffee so badly that when I found the ONE restaurant that served it, I happily paid $2.50 for a tiny cup
    Europe: As much as I hate Tim Hortons, I have to say that when I came back to Canada, it was one of the first things that I had ;)

    Reply
  3. John S @ Frugal Rules

    Good post Mr. CBB! I can relate, somewhat, to the Fish & Chips experience. My wife and I spent nearly three weeks in Great Britian/Ireland for our honeymoon. We had Fish & Chips quite a number of times while there. Sadly, it’s not the same here in the States. I think that just means we’ll have to go back for another visit to get the real thing. :)

    Reply
    1. Canadian Budget Binder

      Oh I’ve lost a bit of money let me tell you, sad really but I’m not complaining. It’s all risk but we hope it will go back up. It was well over $2 when I moved here, I try not to think about it lol.. our mates moved here and paid cash for their house as they got a great deal on their exchange, and love it, even the snow lol. Cheers Mate… Mr.CBB

      Reply
  4. Jason @ WorkSaveLive

    This is so true! It’s difficult to realize what we take for granted in the moment, and often we don’t realize how great something is until we’re gone. This is definitely a timely post as Thanksgiving just passed and hopefully that was a good time for people to reflect on just how great things are for most of us. …I mean, if you’re reading this post then that means you have a computer, internet connection, and probably a few other “finer” things in life that many people in this world could never dream of having.

    Reply
  5. Christine Hicks

    Great Article MrCBB – as a frequent traveller from Canada to the UK, I agree – some things are just WAYYYYYY better there including fish n’ chips!

    Reply
  6. Mandy @ MoneyMasterMom

    When I was living in Ghana I was totally missing all the familiar food of home, and there is more variety in our diet here. Although when I got home I’d stand infront of the fridge overwhelmed by the choices and was wishing I was back in Ghana, where there were less choices, but someone cooked for you.

    Reply
  7. Nicola Don

    A proper chip shop. In Scotland anything and everything is deep fried from pies to mars bars now that was invented just down the road from Aberdeen in Stonehaven. You do get very little chips but we have a Joeys fish here in MB and he is great and u get mushy peas!!!! Yes miss that alot oh and my rowies they are salty and so good they are a bread come roll sooo goid hubby makes them but not quite the same! Thats a must for any Aberdonian!

    Reply
  8. Donna Williams

    I not only miss the fish and chips at the local chippy I miss the enormous sour onions the size of golf balls. Baps buns, the bacon, the meat pies…. the mince and tatties that taste so much better…. the sweeties and amazing biscuits!! Oh my god.. a damn good cuppa tea???

    The simpler way of life is best… sure I get it hear.. but other than the Timmies coffee.. which they don’t serve with brown sugar crystals… there isn’ much I’d miss here.

    Reply
    1. Canadian Budget Binder

      Yes a proper cup of tea I miss that because TH sure as heck can’t make a proper cuppa tea that’s for sure. I also noticed that they don’t have proper bacon here unless I’m looking in all the wrong spots. Funny I never thought about what I would miss if Mrs.CBB and I moved to the UK.

      Reply
  9. My Money Design

    It doesn’t matter what you order from Applebee’s = you’re going to be disappointed! :) Having been the UK, I’ve got to say you’ve got some superior fish and chips as well as Shepards pie!

    Reply
  10. Grayson @ Debt RoundUp

    Great post Mr. CBB. I know what you are talking about. While I didn’t move countries, I have moved between states in the US. I am a large BBQ fan and when I go places that say BBQ, is expect it to be vinegar based, but most of it is tomato based sauce, it makes me angry. In regards to the cell phone issue, I think everyone gets the shaft with cell phones. There are very few pay as you go phone plans anymore.

    Reply
    1. Canadian Budget Binder

      Funny how they make BBQ different from state to state, country to country. BBQ is something I’m not too familiar with although I’ve been learning since moving here. I’d never had a proper BBQ in me life but now have a huge one. Honestly I prefer BBQ on the coals rather than gas. One day I would like to taste proper BBQ in the USA as I see on The Food Network. Cheers mate.

      Reply
  11. Edward

    There is a place in town here called “Fish n Chips” that I’ve been meaning to try, but I’ve never been to England for the real thing so I wouldn’t be able to make the comparison.

    The US is big enough to have similar kinds of problems going from region to region. I grew up in NJ and now live at the foot the Colorado Rockies (the mountains, not the baseball team, but they are close too). I can’t tell you how much I miss real NY-style pizza.

    And don’t get me started on porkroll and scrapple. Sure, the local supermarket sells Taylor ham, that crude north Jersey approximation of Case’s porkroll, but even then it costs $11 for a 3 pounder, Back home, I could get a 10 pound porkroll for that price!

    Reply
    1. Canadian Budget Binder

      Hey Edward,
      I’ve never heard of porkroll and scrapple before what is that? I’ve yet to have a “proper” pizza in Canada Mrs.CBB says but when we go home for the holidays she promises to take me to the BEST place in town so I look forward to that. I remember when Mrs. CBB and I were downtown London and she wanted a drink of water and I had to calm her down when she did the price conversion. I can get 2 cases of 24 bla bla bla lol… I understand now. Cheers mate

      Reply
      1. Edward

        Where is Mrs. CBB from? A lot of places claim they have real pizza, but if it’s not the mid-Atlantic, they are lying. :)

        As far as what porkroll is, I’ve always had trouble describing it. Best I can explain, it’s like a dryer version of SPAM, but isn’t shelf-stable. Scrapple, well, scrapple is one of those foods better to not think of what it is. I am told it is somewhat similar to the white pudding you may be familiar with.

        Reply
  12. Jon

    Hey Mr. CBB I didn’t realize you were a fellow British Expat! Also have been very frustrated at the lack of ‘Fish and Chips’ – but in Toronto there have been a few places that have put up a valiant effort.
    I NEVER get upset when I fill up my car in Canada. I can fill up my SUV today for about the same price as it cost me to fill up my Citroen Saxo (1.1l) in the UK back in 2005!
    How do you feel about cinema popcorn? Haha – I am dying for just a bag of regular sweet popcorn!

    Reply
    1. Canadian Budget Binder

      Ya moved here in 2007 and you bet we have nothing to complain about when it comes to petrol over here. I remember how much richer I felt back then when I was travelling back and forth and not actually living here… gone are those days lol. I don’t fancy regular popcorn here and like you I miss the sweet popcorn. It’s what we grew up on although I’m not adverse to trying new foods. Mrs.CBB I remember shoved a cherry blossom chocolate in my mouth once and just sat there smiling watching me eat it. The bloody thing was dripping down my face, loaded with cherry and oozing sweetness… it was pretty good. If you know me I have a sweet tooth so some things I’ve gotten used to others not so much. I do miss proper Cadbury Choccies. Ok…now I’m really hankering for something sweet.

      Reply
      1. Jon

        Haha – and Christmas time is the worst – except my parents normally send me a chocolate orange to tie my over until the next year!

        Reply
  13. Veronica @ Pelican on Money

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one extremely disappointed with fish n’ chips portions in U.S. There are only a handful of restaurants I’ve ever ordered fish n’ chips at and each are on opposite costs in remote local eateries that most tourist won’t find or will walk right by.

    Reply
    1. Canadian Budget Binder

      When Mrs.CBB and I went in to get take away fish n chips in the UK you should have heard Mrs.CBB. She was going on about .. are we really getting a “whole fish”.. I was like yes, why? Keep in mind I’ve never experienced Canadian fish n chips. Now I get her reaction. Cheers

      Reply
    1. Canadian Budget Binder

      I’m well travelled so moving to Canada was not a culture shock for me. I know when me mum and dad came here my dad was pretty amazed. Me mum she’s like me and has travelled all over the world. My parents travel many many times per year now and love learning about different cultures. Likely where I got it from. Mr.CBB

      Reply
  14. Anne @ Unique Gifter

    Ahhh! I miss the cheap travel throughout Europe. I wish I could take an airline flight to somewhere awesome for $100/return. That made for fantastic weekends!
    There is a bakery where I live which is owned by a British couple and their original baker was also British, so I have access to several of those foods you mentioned :-)

    Reply
    1. Canadian Budget Binder

      Hi Anne,
      Yes we have quite a few British shops around which I’ve been to but the prices scare me. I still can’t wrap my head around paying almost $2.00 for a can of heinze beans when they cost pennies back home. I don’t miss them that much. I remember when I used to smoke it was cheaper for me to fly to Spain for a few days load up on smokes enjoy the holiday and come home. Mrs.CBB nearly fainted when she saw the price of fags in the UK compared to Canada. I’m glad we are almost one year smoke free, the money saved, health saved, all worth it!

      Reply
    1. Canadian Budget Binder

      Beth does mean you are opening your house and kitchen to this blokes tummy or do you mean you are sending me out into the wild of BC to find some good British grub. I’d take you’re cooking any day darlin. Cheers Beth Mr.CBB

      Reply
      1. Beth @ Aunt B's Kitchen

        Mr CBB, you’re welcome in my kitchen anytime. My grandma taught me to make pasties and I’ve been known to make a mean Scotch egg. (My grandpa liked them as part of his ploughman’s lunch.) I can even offer you a shandy to go with that lunch. I don’t usually make fish and chips though…We go to a little tiny hole-in-the-wall place near my work to pick them up. They come wrapped in paper, just as they should, and they sell an assortment of English sweets there too. Cadbury flake anyone?

        Reply
  15. TB at BlueCollarWorkman.com

    I hear ya. Just being here in the US with time passing gives the same result. I didn’t realize how great gas prices were, until they started going up. I didn’t realize how great it was that my parents got me TWO cars in my teens, both of which I destroyed, until I grew up and had to pay for a car of my own. We really never do realize how great we have it, do we?

    Reply
    1. Canadian Budget Binder

      That’s true especially when the money if coming out of our own pockets. I was a frugal child not sure where I got it from but I’m happy that I was able to learn how to save and have pleasure at the same time. Not sure if I will ever be able to travel around the world like I did when I was younger and for cheap. Cheers mate. Mr.CBB

      Reply
  16. John

    Your “Not all negative” reminded me of Tokyo. A litre of gas cost almost $4. Real estate was way higher and so was sales tax. California is the highest in the US at 8.75% (i think) but its nothing compared to what I’ve paid overseas. You’re absolutely right that we shouldn’t always expect the best of everything. Knowing when to be content and thankful is the better way to go.

    Reply
    1. Canadian Budget Binder

      Hi John,
      Yes there are always pros and cons wherever we go or live and we have to respect that life is different all over the world. When we travel to another country we don’t bring our culture with us we learn to live the locals and learn about their life and what it’s all about. Sometimes I think we are doing ourselves harm if we can’t let go of the negative and focus on the positive. Cheers mate. Mr.CBB

      Reply
  17. farcodev

    Since I moved from France to Canada 8 years ago, I don’t regret and miss anything from my ex-country.
    Of course that perhaps some practical features are better in France (it requires therefore an evaluation) but the cons of this country counter balance easily the pros IMHO.

    The life on the North American continent suit me better, ever ideological than practical.

    By the way great post! Sorry if my post is a bit too much negative :)

    Reply
    1. Canadian Budget Binder

      I don’t find your post negative at all, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I’m easy going :-) I hear you though as really nothing would entice me back except for the scenery, food and of course my family. There’s not much in the way of opportunity and many of my mates from University that are successful are living in New York, Toronto and other places in the world rather than the UK. I guess it’s all about who you know and setting out to reach your goals. Mine took me to Canada and I’m happy with that! Cheers Mr.CBB

      Reply
    1. Canadian Budget Binder

      If I’m ever in L.A I’d be shocked but would love to come some day. I bet there is many places that have British food. England is a popular tourist destination but it will cost you big bucks out of pocket. I know Mrs.CBB struggled alot the frugal wife that she is but like I told her don’t let money hold you back from enjoying a holiday. Yes after this post today we both want Fish and Chips.. Cheers

      Reply
  18. KIm@Eyesonthedollar

    This is a great post. I love Colorado, but I do miss good Southern cooking from time to time. Cornbread, southern green beans and homemade biscuits, fried chicken, etc.I also agree with Grayson about the BBQ. The sweet, tomato sauce isn’t real BBQ. You can get that stuff here, but it just isn’t quite the same. It’s not especially healthy, but pretty darn good.

    Reply
  19. Deacon

    Taxes on purchases in England are 20%? Yikes! We pay close to 10% in Arizona and I thought that was high. Well, I tell you what, I won’t miss the taxes if they ever start to disappear :)

    Reply
  20. ApplePi

    I’m going to be the devil’s advocate and say that although we miss things from our former home, it’s more a case of the grass being greener.

    Although I came to Canada when I was young from UK, I hear many complaints from family who have emigrated since. The biggest complaint I hear is that the chocolate is better in UK. In my experience, the chocolate there is sweeter, has more sugar and is creamier… but that doesn’t make it better. It’s just a matter of taste and adjustment.

    On the subject of tea, I’ve had Japanese friends were disillusioned to find that many (most?) in the UK have eschewed leaves in favor of the convenience of mass-produced teabags. Tea is an important part of British culture, so they were surprised to find that the end product was mediocre. In Japan, [green] tea quality is still cherished.

    Mind you, mediocre tea bags are better than the mediocre tea bags in Canada.

    Reply
  21. Wroots

    I’m from the UK. I’ve been in Canada for 30 years minus the three to six weeks I have managed to escape every year since I arrived. I am finally heading back home. Honestly, I cannot think of a single thing I will miss about Canada. There is nothing worth missing. 41% of new immigrants to Canada leave within the first year of their arrival. I regret very much that I did not do so myself.

    Reply

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