Things I’ve Learnt after my first Year in Manchester

Buongiorno bellas!

Greetings from Italy, I’m currently on holiday in Venice with my mum; taking in the sights and enjoying the last weekend of the famous Carnevale Venezia – stay tuned to the blog as there will be more to come on that soon, here’s a sneak preview…

So Friday marked one year since Phil and I loaded up the van and began our move up t’north. There have been some ups and downs, some rather eventful situations, new jobs and another new home since the 5th February 2015 but it has been an exciting adventure.

There are definitely some things I miss about living in the south and some things I 100% prefer about living in the north so to celebrate the anniversary of our move I thought I’d share some of the things I have learnt in the last year; about myself, about moving somewhere brand new and about the city and people I have come to love.

1) Manchester has SO much to offer

I’m from a small country town originally and even my university was in a pretty small town, albeit bigger than where I grew up, so to move to one of the top 3 largest cities in the country (I’ll leave the Manchester/Birmingham debate for another day) has had me a bit starry-eyed for the last year. There’s just so much going on. Shopping is insane, big acts come to the theatres, two of the biggest premier league football teams are based here (my Dad loves that I live 15 mins from Old Trafford), there are bars and clubs coming out my ears – with different districts offering different things in terms of nightlife and socialising – you’re never short of options of something to do, whatever takes your fancy! It’s definitely a long way from the ZERO nightclubs of my home town and the handful of worthwhile places to go in Cheltenham. I definitely can’t see feeling bored anytime soon.

2) People are much friendlier in the north.

When I first moved here and the supermarket cashier or taxi driver was asking me 100 questions about my day and my life and telling me about their life in return I was hugely suspicious; I mean it’s a bit of a go to for southerners – nice people have an agenda right?! Turns out everyone in the north is actually just much more sociable and friendly to strangers, it’s completely normal to talk to a total stranger about your life and everyone’s genuinely interested in each other. Everyone has the stereotype of Londoners being “cold and self-centred”, but I think the wary/suspicious nature (that is interpreted as cold) applies to a lot of people in the south; we’re just more reserved when it comes to people we don’t know. NB: admittedly less in some areas than others and the further from London you get the less reserved people are (get yourself down to Devon and Cornwall and you’ll understand).

3) It is possible to love your job AND the people you work with!

I’ve had quite a few jobs in the past, before, during and after university, and I can honestly say that before now I have never liked both my colleagues and the actual job – it’s always been one or the other (or neither!). I was starting to believe that it was just a sacrifice that you have to make, to enjoy your work then you had to tolerate the people around you or vice versa but I was wrong! I landed my dream job last summer and I enjoy every minute of it but not only that; I get on really well with my colleagues too, we work in various smaller teams/departments but I get on with everyone in my office and think nothing of strolling down to someone in a different team for a chat. I also really look forward to social events because everyone is such a laugh and I’ve had a great time at everything I’ve been to so far! After all the hit and miss companies I’ve worked for or roles I’ve had I feel so lucky to finally have such a great environment to work in every day – I mean let’s be honest, we spend more time in the office than we do at home!

4) You need a Mancunian dictionary to hold a conversation.

All southerners know that people talk pretty strangely north of Birmingham; as Michael McIntyre once said the word “the” seemed to fall off the vocabulary truck somewhere on the M6 and didn’t quite make it to the guys in the top half of the country. However, what they do have in place of one of the most used words in the English (southern) language is an abundance of other strange words and phrases that the rest of the population can’t comprehend. And to make matters even more confusing for southern ex-pats, different cities/areas in the north have completely different sayings – can I get a “howay” from the Geordies out there? Here’s a small snippet of the things I have found absolutely essential to learn in order to live in Manchester:

  1. “Jawanabrew?” Translation: Would you like a cup of tea? (Do you want a brew?). This “phrase”, and I use this term loosely as it’s pronounced like one long word, is one of the most common things heard in a Mancunian office. NB: northern people don’t have tea (not as a drink anyway) or coffee, they only have brews!
  2. “Do you wana go for tea?” Translation: Do you want to go for dinner? With brew having replaced a cup of tea, tea takes the form of your evening meal instead – I know right, baffling!
  3. “Do you wana go for dinner?” Translation: Do you want to go for lunch? See number 2; dinner refers to lunch. Phil has picked up the northern versions of dinner/tea pretty quickly which causes all sorts of dramas in our house. Picture us trying to discuss what to have for “dinner” whilst food shopping and ending up having a full on barny because we’re actually talking about different things – hilarious to look back on but frustrating as hell at the time. Rah!
  4. “Chippy-tea/Chippy-dinner” Translation: Dinner or lunch from the fish&chip shop.
  5. “Butty” Translation: Anything in bread, basically a sandwich. NB: Not exclusive to bacon or chips, cheese butties are a thing.
  6. “Barm” Translation: Bread roll. So a cheese butty (bread slices) becomes a cheese barm.
  7. “Ginnel” Translation: Alleyway. As in “nip through the ginnel” – the what now?
  8. “Pie barm” Translation: A pie in a bread roll. Yeah I had the same befuddled look on my face when I first heard it too. Often accompanied by a tub of gravy this is a common purchase at the chip shop for those on the go. I haven’t tried one yet but the whole concept is completely bewildering to me – a pie isn’t a sandwich filler? Nuts!
  9. “Whaddya know owt or nowt” Translation: What’s the gossip? (What do you know, something or nothing?).
  10. “Goin’ shop, want owt?” Translation: I’m going to the shop, would you like me to pick anything up for you?
  11. “Give yer ‘ead a wobble” Translation: You’re crazy/what the fuck? As in: “3 sugars in yer brew? Give yer ‘ead a wobble”.
  12. Reading this list helps…

5) Making friends is HARD when you finish education.

A lot of people stay in their uni town or move back home when they finish education but for those of us who move to a brand new place where they don’t know anybody, it’s hard! Bar the people you work with you don’t tend to just meet people as easily; you’re all grown up and working full time so your social life isn’t as prominent as it once was. Gone are the days of being surrounded by tonnes of people and starting conversations really easily because you have common ground to discuss (same school/sport/class/friend in common etc), you actually have to make an effort to meet people and make friends! At uni I was pretty social within the sports community and I was also involved in the events scene and students union so I met new people almost on a daily basis and several of those are still good friends today. However outside of that setting, when you’re busy with work and bills and a relationship, you don’t tend to find yourself drunkenly admiring a chicken burger at 2am with your next buddy and it’s not as common to make a friend because you sell them a bar crawl shirt every event for a year or because you think their boobs look great in their dress and just HAVE to tell them (this is how I met a few of my closest friends from uni!). However, whilst it might require more effort and be less swift a process; it’s definitely worth it and you’ll find you’re not the only one. I’ve met some incredible people since I’ve moved and whilst I might not see them every day, or they might have now moved away (damn you Singapore!), I know that I’ve had a fab time meeting new people and building a new life.

Have any of you guys moved somewhere new and have anything to share about the things you’ve learnt on your journey?

Lots of love


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