Welcome back to my new weekly series! Every week, I do a round-up post of reflections from the past week about my new life living in England. I like being able to share my thoughts in a bit of a more personal style of post. Here’s what I’ve been thinking this week:
There are so many strange things about British life
Why don’t Brits put their eggs in the refrigerated aisles at the grocery store? Why are none of the bagels I buy ever pre-sliced? Why am I constantly apologizing to people every time I talk to them? Why do all the stores close at 6:00pm? Why aren’t dryers a standard thing in this incredibly damp, rainy country and how do people survive with hang-drying everything they own??? I am confused. (I know these are very much first-world problems. I recognize that but want to share anyway!)
I walk everywhere now
The combination of a walkable and pedestrian-friendly city like York, not having a car, not wanting to spend money on the bus, and how close I live to the city walls means that I walk just about everywhere now! It’s really different from how I lived at home—I drove most places to run all my errands. Now I walk, which is a subtle change but a big lifestyle difference and nice for exercise!
I’ve finally unpacked almost everything
It feels good. I like making a new home, settling in, getting comfortable. I like having places for all my clothes and organized shelves for my bookshelf. It is a palpable feeling of relief.
I liked Leeds—and I’ll be back
I visited Leeds for the first time this last weekend! It first got onto my England Bucket List because Matthew Lewis (who plays Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter movies) is from there, but over the years it’s gained in importance on my list as a big Northern city with lots going on. I was surprised at how much I liked Leeds on my brief visit! The architecture was a mix of Victorian and modern development, the atmosphere was lively and gritty (I stepped around lots of piles of puke on Sunday morning) with a big student population, and way more to do and see than I could fit in during one brief day. Of course, I spent a large chunk of the day at the Royal Armories Museum (which justifies a trip to Leeds by itself), but I know Leeds is a city I’ll return to. More to come on the blog as I continue to explore the city!
I finally went to Whitby, and it was a dream come true
If you follow along on Instagram, you’ll know that I finally made it to the seaside town of Whitby this week. Seeing the magnificent ruins of Whitby Abbey, dramatically perched on a cliff overlooking the sea, was a moment to remember. The weather was perfect, and the rest of Whitby was completely charming. There will be more about it on the blog, I can promise that. I already want to go back.
Sorry, did I mention how beautiful Whitby was?!
Because it is.
I cannot wait to explore more of Yorkshire
My 2+ hour bus ride (one-way) to Whitby from York took me through the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, and the scenery was phenomenal. I can’t wait to explore more of this part of the country! I just bought a new pair of hiking boots (my first proper hiking boots in like 10 years) so I am ready to get out there! There is so much to do and see in Yorkshire, I honestly feel like I’ll need years just to attempt to do it justice.
Surprise! I’m going to Edinburgh!
This week I booked my first overnight trip outside of York—I’m headed to Scotland in a week and a half! I’ll be meeting one of my best friends from college in Edinburgh, since she is wonderful and bringing over a suitcase full of books for me. And then we’ll get to hang out in Europe! I’ve been to Edinburgh before (also during November, three years ago), and I’m really excited! It’s a beautiful city and while I want to explore new places in Scotland, I’m also seriously excited to go back. I’ve gotten my first few pangs of homesickness too, so I know it’ll be nice to see a good friend.
I had a candlelit tour of a convent with a hidden chapel and it was awesome
I’ll have lots more information coming on things to do in York! But with the Illuminating York series across the city this weekend (basically lots of light displays), I went to Bar Convent, the oldest convent in England and very much still a working Catholic convent to this day. It was one of the coolest things I’ve seen in the city so far! During the early stages of the convent centuries ago, Catholicism was illegal and the founder faced prison time and was eventually tortured and executed. The nuns used a school as a cover and eventually built a hidden chapel inside the building, with 8 exits in case they needed to make a run for it! All of it was lit by candlelight and explained by real nuns. It was really, really cool!
I’m still waiting on a bank account, which is completely ridiculous. When I lived in England before, I literally just walked into a bank, said I wanted to open a bank account, and set one up and got a debit card within a week. Apparently that’s not the case anymore, because there are 275802 hoops to jump through first. This means that I generally don’t have any cash, because I’m not withdrawing any due to ATM/foreign exchange fees. I’m also still waiting to get my National Insurance number (sort of like a Social Security Number). I’m also still waiting to get a job—just applying every day to anything and everything. The waiting game is so real and I hate it.
It is hard to make future plans when I don’t have a job/general life schedule
Trying to organize Christmas (Adam and I will be going somewhere in Europe! Just not sure where yet! 🙂 ) and eventual trips for friends to visit England is basically impossible when I don’t know what job I’ll be doing and if/when I’ll be able to get time off. It is frustrating and stresses me out basically every single day. I can barely even mention it because I just stress out. I am a planner. I like plans. It is hard when I can’t make plans.
The weather here has been phenomenal the past few weeks
I am shocked at the weather in York and around since I moved here! I have seen the sun at least once every single day (SHOCKING!), and I don’t think there’s been a single day where it’s rained the whole time. The rain has been fairly brief or drizzly when it has rained. It’s been fairly warm, and fine to walk around during the day in just a light jacket or even a sweater. I don’t know what’s going on, but I am LOVING this great weather!
The pub hunt has started in earnest
I am on the prowl to find my favorite pubs in York. I’ve been on several “casual pint” trips this week, and York has a very impressive selection! My favorite so far is House of Trembling Madness (pictured above!), a medieval bar that has animal heads on the wall, awesome décor, and a cozy atmosphere. I am also on the hunt for a local kebab shop. This is of the utmost importance to my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being here in York.
I’m still wowed by York
This city is so great. I am so happy, day after day, that I get to call this place home. I can’t believe I only spent 3 days here on my year abroad! And two of those days weren’t really even in York! It is an amazing city. It has so much to offer tourists and residents alike. I love living here.
Have you ever lived abroad, or experienced anything similar? Share your experiences in the comments!
Catch up on previous posts! Links below: