I arrived in Manchester on a Sunday morning, everything seemed quiet, well it was 7:30, and most shops in our area only open at 11am (on a Sunday). I had some idea of what it would be like because my husband had lived here for a month already and climbing on the Tram, all the things he said started running through my head. The weather looked cloudy, the public transport ran smoothly and I heard British Accents all around me. It hit me this was my new home, feeling a lot of mixed emotions which I just had to come to terms with.
There are a few things that you would obviously know is different, like all the different brands of food, clothing, electrical items, etc. Learning how the currency works, pence and pound, trying to anxiously count if I have enough coins or should I use my card, because I am next in line. I quickly had to learn to carry an umbrella around and get a waterproof jacket. There are also things that caught me by surprise.
Here are a few things that I noticed were different from what I was use to back in South Africa:
- There are so many redheads! Being a redhead in Cape Town or actually anywhere in SA was always different. People would always comment on my hair and now I found the redhead tribe and I love it! 50 shades of Red.
- People have their own sayings like South Africans would say “Shame” meaning a compassionate sorry that happened to you, or “now, now” meaning just now or in a while. In Manchester some say “Cheers” meaning thank you or if you in a shop they would say “You okay?” Which in the beginning was strange to me, as I would say that if I thought something was wrong and you maybe need help or a hug. To them it is the South African, “Can I help you?”
- They are very trusting of people, you can go to quite a few shops and after shopping, go to a till/check out with no staff member present and ring up your items and they trust that you will pay for them. There are sometimes security checks, but generally not. And no, not all the items have security tags. Same thing on the tram, nobody checks your ticket, you could ride for free, again there are occasional checks, so NEVER try ride the tram for free or try take free groceries. I think if you do get caught you would probably go on a watch list, or to jail for theft.
- Public Transport works so well and it feels safe. My husband very quickly explained the different tram routes to me, and how to buy tickets. I did however buy a single adult ticket once and realised it expired after 2 hours and had to pay again for another full day ticket.
- The people are from all over, I met people from India, Zimbabwe, London to name a few. They are diverse and very friendly. We even got invited to dinner by a sweet lady.
I am sure that I will still learn a lot about this country and the lovely people in it. That is my summary of my first week. Feel free to comment and let me know what you think or if you have any questions pop me a message. Have a lovely week xx