So, I’ve officially lived in Birmingham for eight months now. Am I a Brummie? No, apparently not. And no matter how many times I insist I’m developing an accent, I am laughed away raucously.
I’m from the Cotswolds originally, where we all say “baaaaarth” not “baff” and “CARRRsull” not “cahsel” and where red trousers are in abundance and cows are your next door neighbours. It was a lovely and wonderful place to grow up. I said hello to people I passed in the road and my neighbours brought me pumpkins from their garden.
Greeting everyone you pass in the city is near impossible – people don’t even look you in the eye. Or they look you in the eye too intently and scare you. I met my neighbour once, a curt, quick-talking guy with black hair who asked if we were moving in, and then proceeded to shut the door. We never saw him again. (Ominous, but I am sure he is ok).
I am in love with Birmingham, and already feel natural calling it my home. It’s a vibrant and fantastic city, I don’t ever want to leave.
But I have had to adapt. Gone are the cows and the trees, in their place buses and pigeons (the pigeons even have their own park, called Pigeon Park, how wild?)
So, just for fun, here are eight things I’ve ‘learnt’ so far while living in a city…
- Some people are strange. You could say this anywhere really couldn’t you? To be honest, everyone is strange. But a man called me ‘sexy’ at 8.40 this morning. I had just left my house and had barely been out of bed 20 minutes. My hair was wet and straggly from the shower and it felt like my eyes had been dipped in glue.
Also people read books while walking to work – how?
- Everyone shouts. There’s a corner by the Bullring where buskers, chuggers and preachers all vie for your attention. A man walked past me the other day yelling loudly that he was a Time Lord. I saw another man screaming through the door of a bookies, ordering death and destruction to all who worked there.
- I lack all self-restraint when it comes to shopping. Just because shops are open nearly all the time it doesn’t mean I should pay them a visit nearly all the time. It doesn’t mean I should spend £20 on dinner for one in M&S Food (I bought two salmon parcels for £4.99 – they were divine but I simply cannot afford to live like a king). It also does not mean I should buy five books for £50, and then only read one of them.
- It can be overwhelming. There have been times when I’ve been standing in the middle of Tesco Express, at 5.30pm when everyone is scrabbling for the same bottle of wine/pint of milk/pasta carbonara ready meal, and wanted to cry. Too much noise, too much pushing, so I’ve ended up ditching my basket, half-running home, and ordering Deliveroo.
- DELIVEROO. To think we live in a joyous world where a lovely man on a bicycle fights through wind and rain to deliver you hot food from your favourite restaurant, while you lounge waiting in your pyjamas like a fat lizard. The biggest arguments me and David ever have is over who will go ALL THE WAY down the lift to the ground floor to collect it.
- I have forgotten how to drive. Why do I still have a car? I got in it the other day and tried to reverse out my spot. But it wasn’t in reverse and I drove into a concrete wall.
- Nobody sleeps. I was lying awake the other Friday night in complete bafflement at the sheer amount of absolute chaos coming through my open window at 1 in the morning. Forget simple ‘wooping’ and glasses chinking merrily, people were full on screaming like they were being murdered, cars were revving at literally top volume (why?) and for some unfathomable reason the pub behind our apartment was throwing away thousands of glass bottles into a skip. Just give me strength.
- I feel vulnerable sometimes. I’m not far from the lovely Cotswolds, I know, but sometimes I feel like I am. I can’t just text my best friend from home to see if she fancies a glass of wine after work. Nor can I get up early and head over to my Mum’s for a run around town and breakfast on the outdoor table in the sunshine. And I miss that. But I keep reminding myself I can create new experiences, new memories. I just need to get out there. I’ve even set myself a challenge to meet new people – not just go-to-a-yoga-class-and-smile-at-a-girl meeting people but actually meet a person. Say hello. Make a friend.
So until next time… ‘Why the BLOODY HELL is it so difficult making grown-up friends!?’