The British drinking culture

That didn’t take long, did it? I’ve only been here in the UK for five months and already I’m cringing at another drinking event with colleagues or with friends. British drinking culture is truly something else.

I’m saying this because it’s December, and people all around are more festive than ever. There are more drinking events, more parties, more celebrations, etc. I’m slowly getting exhausted by all the social activities.

I feel like I’ve gone to at least five of these things in the past few weeks, where I’ve been drinking at least 1 litre of alcohol each time… It’s honestly taking a toll on me. I’m not going anymore, I can’t handle that much alcohol in such a short time. It’s not even about being old and grumpy anymore; it’s about wanting to stay healthy, and wanting to lead a healthy lifestyle. I can’t do that when I’m drinking every damn week. It’s too much.

My workplace’s Christmas party is next week, and I’m honestly a bit nervous about how I’m going to handle it. Colleagues don’t seem to understand the meaning of “no, I’m leaving; I don’t want another drink”, so I hope I can pull off drinking a 50/50 balance of alcohol/water that night without getting judged for not being fun.

The worst part of all of this is that I can physically feel my stomach feeling worse and worse after the weeks go on. Smelling weird overprocessed foods make feel a bit nauseous, even if it’s hours after I’ve downed 2.5 pints of cider.

I have another drinking social event tomorrow. One of my friends is moving back to Canada, so she has organized bottomless brunch for some of us. I’m nervous. I’m not a strong drinker, and especially not in recent weeks.

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I did an epic journey via Uber and train from Canary Wharf, London to Gatwick Airport with three massive luggages and one carry-on on my last morning in the UK. It took me three hours because I had to somehow get all three bags – two of them were overweight, one of which was 31kg – from the second floor of my apartment building to the @AirTransat airline counter. An airline counter that wasn't even in the same terminal as the train station I would be arriving in.⁣
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So, from second floor flat, to a 30+ minute Uber to Blackfriars, to the second floor of the Blackfriars train station (by lugging two bags 20 metres, then the other two 40 metres, repeat), to the Gatwick Airport train station, to getting an airport employee to find a trolley for me (by asking him nicely as I stood there waiting by my four bags because lol I'm not going to drag four bags across a busy airport terminal), to somehow pushing my trolley cart onto the inter-terminal train, to finally, reaching the airline counter of #AirTransat.⁣
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For three hours, from 6:30 AM, to when I finally had all my bags checked in at 9:15 AM, I was running on pure adrenaline. I don't even know how I was able to do it. I was like a bull on a mission, to get from point A to point B to point C etc. But what I also remember, was my body basically crashing into a damn near anxiety attack while at the counter. I was gulping for air, taking deep breaths, and trying to calm myself down. When I finally walked away from the airline counter, I nearly forgot my carry-on on the trolley, and when I finally had the chance to sit down, my hands were actually shaking. For all the times I've solo travelled around the world in the past year and a half, this has never happened to me before. That morning, I finally understood why airports need therapy dogs.⁣
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(Continued below...)
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