Happy Manchester Day!! It’s as if the whole city is celebrating just for me on my very last day. Today in the centre of town there was a big parade and a festival for Manchester Day. And what a spectacle is was! There was music, and food, and oh so many people, and colorful floats representing the whole of the city. It made me realize there are so many things that I’m going to miss about this city. Not necessarily big things either. Of course, there several things about Manchester (and England in general) that I won’t really miss, such as:
-Owens Park food. There’s a reason the CCSA recommends students to live in self-catered halls and not have a meal plan. I’m thankful that I didn’t have to pay for dinner during the week, but I’m not entirely sure that it was worth it…
-Toilet paper dispensers that dispense one square at a time. I mean really, how obnoxious is that??
-Pigeons. Everywhere. And people who feed them. Ugh. Just go away.
-Easyjet. Their prices might be right, but they’re obnoxious to deal with. I’m glad I won’t have to hide my purse under my jacket anymore . . . at least not for a very long time.
-Owens Park fire drills every Tuesday morning . . . and random times of the night.
-The exchange rate. It’s obnoxious.
-Stumbling up and down bus stairs while the bus is moving. And that feeling when the bus hits a rut in the road and you feel like the entire bus is just going to fall apart. Ugh.
However there are definitely lots more things that I will miss. Things like . . .
-Going into a café and ordering a “normal” tea. If I do that back home, they’ll bring me iced sweet tea. Ick.
-Soup at The Anchor. If there’s one thing the British have got right, it’s soup. And soup at The Anchor is always fantastic!
-British trains. They’re super efficient, extremely reliable, can get you anywhere in the country, and it’s so much cheaper than paying for gas!
-Hearing British accents every day. Especially accents from different parts of the country. One of my favorite things to do is listen to people on the bus or in the city centre and try to figure out where they’re from. Lol.
-Brown sugar being a “normal” thing. You don’t find brown sugar packets in restaurants in the States. Which is a shame, because I love brown sugar in my tea!
-Lectio Divina every Tuesday at the chaplaincy. (Someone do it with me next year? Please?)
-Seeing a new city every weekend. There are so many wonderful places I haven’t even seen yet! But I suppose it’s like The Lion King says, “There’s more to see than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done. It’s the circle of life!”
-Cheap airfare. Weekend trip to another country? No problem!
-Fish and chips. And I mean proper fish and chips, with crispy batter and malt vinegar.
-Being able to walk everywhere. I’ll miss being able to just pop down the road to pick up some groceries, or buy a sandwich, or grab a coffee, or visit a park.
-Sunday night dinner at the chaplaincy. I think there’s something very special about sharing a meal with friends. Even Jesus understood that!
-Taking the bus down Oxford Road. Despite being a bit rickety, I did like have such an efficient bus system here. I never thought I would actually like public transportation. I can still remember my very first day when I didn’t know how the bus system worked, and I asked the guy in the reception office how to get to campus. He pointed to a blue bus driving by. “That bus,” he said. Dismayed that the bus had already passed, I asked, “How often do they come?” He just stared at me. “Like one after another,” he responded. Looking back, I understand how stupid of a question that was! With the busiest bus corridor in the whole of the UK, I (almost) never had trouble getting a bus in a reasonable amount of time. But now I have to go back to driving myself everywhere. And paying for gas…
-Sales tax being included in the menu prices. Seriously, it’s the most useful thing ever.
-Radiators and fire places. There’s something comforting about sitting by a fireplace with a fresh cup of tea. But radiators are also wonderful when there is no fireplace. And they also serve as really great clothes dryers!
-The people I’ve met. Seriously, of all the wonderful things about Manchester, I love you guys most of all. I really need to say thank you to those of you who helped me get settled during the first week, talked to me in my classes and helped me get through my coursework, travelled with me, and invited me to events. I don’t think you realize how much it meant. I wouldn’t have been able to survive this semester without my British friends, my fellow international students, and my abroad sisters. Y’all are the greatest gift I have received here.
By this time tomorrow, I will be back on American soil. It’s hard to believe. I think part of me will always feel like a Mancunian, no matter how long I am gone. Farewell, dear England. I promise I’ll return again someday.