From the “Letters to the Editor” in the Christmas issue of the Economist, a quote from a letter from Carolyn Gibson of Birmingham:
My experience as an immigrant in Britain is that you have to sit quietly and patiently in the company of the locals for years-in health clubs, bars, at the school gates, and at work- before you are welcomed into simple conversation about the weather, let alone “the inner sanctum of Britishness”. The reward for patience is long, deep and meaningful friendships, plus a newly acquired sense of guarded scepticism and fear that the comfort finally achieved will be disturbed by someone new. Most of the time this is fine, but sometimes a warm, friendly and open conversation with a stranger would be welcome, even if it did end with “Have a nice day!”
I could not agree more up to the last part; I don’t yet have any reward for my patience in the form of deep, meaningful friendships with Brits, and so I’m more keen on the last phrase of the last sentence and how nice it would be to have a more casual friendly exchange once in a while.