Hi everyone! (Mostly my cousin Kirsten who got me to do this). I've safely arrived in the UK, and nothing too exciting has happened yet, except a bit of culture shock and a bit of expected homesickness.
I flew into Manchester from Toronto on the 1st of February, which was an overnight flight with a layover in Reykjavik, Iceland. Weird, right? I didn't get the chance to visit Iceland at all, as my layover was only about an hour and a half, and it was dark the whole time, but it's still pretty cool.
The whole idea of moving out of the continent to study abroad alone was definitely nervewracking, but it was comforting to know that family friends would be picking me up from the airport in Manchester. I've been staying with them for a few days, but I head to Sheffield tomorrow, which is where I'm going to school.
The only big thing I've done so far is shopping at the Trafford Centre in Manchester. Definitely the biggest and most impressive mall I've ever been to. I couldn't believe how nice it was, I felt like a little kid staring at all the lights haha. I don't really know how to describe it, probably best to just google it!
So I mentioned culture shock... I honestly didn't think that England would be that much different than Canada, but it really, really is. The first big difference I noticed was obviously that you drive on the opposite side of the road. I freaked out a bit when I thought that somebody was sleeping while driving but then realized that they were actually a passenger, hahaha.
Other strange things about England:
- Eggs are not refrigerated at the "supermarket" (not called a grocery store)
- All alcohol is available at the supermarket! YAY! No more rushed visits to the LCBO to try and get there before it closes
- Some sinks have one tap for hot water, one tap for cold, and they don't overlap.... No warm water
- Dogs are allowed in some pubs
- Table service isn't a thing at pubs. Also, you don't need to tip the bartender
- Lemonade is called "cloudy lemonade"
- Swearing isn't censored on British television past 9 pm. I've never heard 'f***' on TV before, so I was pretty surprised
- Peas are a common side dish at pubs. I ordered fish and chips and it came with mushy peas
- The food is soooo, so different. Things that I've never even heard of, like gammon with a fried egg on top (a steak size version of Canadian bacon)
- Gas is called petro, and it averages about $2 a litre... So glad I'm not driving anymore
- Fries are called chips, chips are called crisps. I accidentally ordered 'fries' at Nando's and I got some weird looks
Can't think of anything else right now, but those are just little things I've noticed. When I went to the supermarket I didn't recognize anything! You don't realize how much you rely on brands at home until you try and navigate foreign stores. I'm learning England equivalents of Canada, like how ASDA is similar to Walmart, and Superdrug is similar to Shoppers Drug Mart. It's hard when you realize "oh I can get that at walmart" and then you're like, wait... That doesn't exist here. Haha.
Anyway that's it for now, I honestly don't know what else to say cause I haven't really done much! I'm sure I'll have more to talk about once I get to Sheffield and start living residence life again with all different types of exchange students. Should be interesting!
Also I don't know why that photo is the wrong way but I can't figure out how to change it.. It was my first beer in England :)