And the timing couldn't be more appropriate:
- Today is my birthday!
- I am finishing my time here in England, and moving on!
- And it's the one year anniversary of my blog!
I can't believe it has been one year since I've started blogging (August 2006!) What a ride it's been! I wrote in my first ever post, Blog the First: " ...my plan is to document my travels in this blog for the next year (in an attempt to reduce the number of mass emails!)"
And I have been. I thought it appropriate to celebrate the 100th Post by listing the top 10 things I will miss about England, specifically Birmingham. I leave the city for good on August 14th - one week from now - and I want to chronicle what I've enjoyed here, as much for my own benefit as yours!
(I know, two list posts in a row. I blame Mitch for it! Yell at him!)
- 10 Things I Will Miss About Birmingham -
- Harborne: The town I live in! 9 pubs, 8 charity shops, 7 restaurants, 6 banks, 3 supermarkets, 2 bookstores (one called Bond's Books - one reason I wanted to live here!), 2 chip shops, the Subway, the Blockbuster, the Home Bargains, the Art Store, the park, and the community center. The Harborne Carnival brings everyone together once a year. Feels good here!
- Architecture: Birmingham is trying so hard. Amongst the run down dirty parts of the city, there are wonderful buildings and amazing architecture that I will miss looking at: the bulbous Selfridges building covered with thousands of mirrored disks, the stone Art Gallery and Victoria Square with the beautiful fountain and steps, the tall thin alien BT Tower, the many red brick houses, and the new modern style of Centenary Square and Brindley Place with it's open spaces, statues, and canals!
- A Cup'a Tea: After being in England a year, I appreciate the taste of a good cup of tea! One teabag, into hot water, very short steep time, squash the teabag with the spoon, one sugar, dash of milk, stir....and sip. Mmmmm...
- Pub Culture: More than just a place to drink, the pub is a meeting place, a landmark, a comfort zone, a restaurant, a games room, a Quiz Night, and the place to take a date! British life revolves around the local pub (mine is the Varsity - 22 seconds from my door to the pub, sober. And 5-20 minutes after a couple - usually due to a stop for a kebab 'n' chips or a Subway! Mmmm...)
- Proximity to Europe: The bounty of Europe is just a short flight across the channel! And it is so easy and cheap to get there; EasyJet and RyanAir. Anywhere you want - France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece... so simple!
- The Pound: I will miss earning money in pounds. I love looking at my bank balance and converting it into Canadian dollars in my head! It makes me giggle with delight! Although, the downside is that I have to rent a movie for 4 quid (= $ 9.50 !!!!)
- The Safety of the Streets: Broad St in particular, where the nightlife is. Police, CCTV cameras, and well lit areas abound in this city which used to have a reputation as being dirty and dangerous. Now, it parts of it are clean and very safe. On more than one occasion, I have walked home late at night always feeling very safe!
- My House: 13 Albany Road - the site of many parties, dinners, movie and game nights, TV viewings (Hollyoaks and Big Brother..), arguments, sleep-ins, painting times, quiets moments, days off, no heat, film scenes, barbecues, ant infestations, lunar eclipses, accidents, police talks, and late nights! A three-legged cat we call 'Stubs' or 'Stubby' visits us frequently! I'll miss my big room and it's wooden floors, high ceilings, and sink.
- Family so close: It has been spectacular having so much of my family so close in England! On my Mom's side - Dave, Naomi, and Gloria, and on my Dad's side - my Granny, Nigel and Joyce, Tim and Meena, Elaine and Richard, Sarah and Abby, Yasmeen, Escandar, Rocheen, Angie and John, Lara and James, Nicky, Rav and baby Mia! I also consider my good friends Marianne, Duncan, and Nathalie family too! I will miss them all!
- Friends: So many new friends! I'll miss mostly my housemates - Roger, Leon, Lee, Emily, and Andy. I'll also miss Lewis, Zoe, Karl, Catherine, Lisa, Ian, Teresa, Hassen, Renata, Katerina, Kate, Sophie, Debbie, Cate, Mary, Tina, Nicky, Claire, Michelle, Faye, and Sarah. I've made some fantastic friends who will stay with me my whole life, for which I am very happy!
- August 16 - fly to Madrid, then meet Greg in Lisbon
- August 19 to September 5 - travel around Portugal and Spain, taking in Lagos, Seville, Valencia, Ibiza, and Barcelona, including La Tomatina (tomato fight festival!)
- September 5 to 10 - show Greg around London (might visit Birmingham one last time)
- September 10 to 15 - spend a week in New York City, before flying home!
- Later - Move to South Korea for a year to teach English with my friend Steve!
That finishes my 100th post! Wish me luck on my travels and on another exciting year of blogging!