I’m realizing I have written few blog posts about actual experiences in Manchester. I suppose it’s partly due to lack of time and thinking trips are more interesting for family and friends to read, who are choosing to do so.
As much as I have enjoyed experiencing bits of the culture through the holidays fit in around the UK and recently Amsterdam, it is ultimately time in Manchester that I will miss the most. I will continue to travel but realize the opportunity to live overseas may not ever be possible again. It has now been over two months. And in these two months I have spent so many walks, bus rides and restless nights just thanking the Lord for all I have learned and gained more appreciation for. When describing Manchester to people back home, diverse is usually one of the first words used. It is completely different than the other places I have traveled to while here. And I think my friends in Manchester agree. The city and university are home to people of many different races and religions. Greater Manchester has a population of over 2 million I believe. The fashion is crazy and the buses during rush hour are even crazier. Not all of it seems safe, but that’s with any city. It is known around Britain for its shopping, restaurants, many universities, nightlife and Asian food. They have a good amount of art galleries and museums. And there is really so much I have left to see of this city.
Balancing school, travel outside of Manchester, and spending time within the city is probably the hardest thing about the experience. But I guess that’s just life in general. There were a few days this past week where it felt like I should be carrying a brown paper bag around. Was feeling the stress of having to work on my three essays, creating prints for my textile course and somehow still making the most of the month left here. Irrational fears were getting the best of me. And ironically, I’m back to thinking more rationally thanks to studying the theories of the irrational in art through uses of the sublime and gothic for one of my essays. Balance is back on.
Still finding hard to sleep though thanks to my ever analyzing mind. So much has been learned here. The list goes far and wide. And as I said earlier, there much I have gained a greater appreciation for. It has been even the simplest times in these past two months while here that have brought me the greatest joy. Teatime with friends, conversations over diner in the kitchen, time spent with my head in books, walking, lectures, weekday nights out and riding the bus (which I spend a lot of time doing).
Here is a bit of my greatful/appreciation list I seem to repeat in my head all to often:
Black tea, the jacket potato, bisquits with my tea, apples, pears, mayo, cider beer, a warm hall to come home to, shared kitchens, three-in-one bathroom, living out of all that fits in 2 suitcases, reading, critical thinking, so much about art history, fabric, screenprinting, public transportation, the lectures and my tutors, Hartley hall and all the people in it, hiking, friends in my courses. Diversity, diversity, diversity. I didn’t expect to live in England for three months and learn so much about other cultures and people as well as gaining a better understanding of British life. Hartley Hall and this city have offered so many unexpected little daily gifts.
One month to go! As much as I look forward to seeing family and friends again, I know it will be hard to leave. Not constantly surrounded by new things will be missed. I’m learning to appreciate and prefer “un-normalcy.”