10 things we have learnt after living in UK for 3 years

We are getting very close to our 3rd year anniversary of this British Adventure, so even though we are not experts on the matter, we can still share with you a few things we have learnt so far:

#1 Manchester is London, UK is London, always.

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When you move to UK, it doesn’t matter if you told family and friends you’re going to live in Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh or Manchester, you are always relocating to London. So every time they ask you, they will always say “How’s it going in London? -No, I live in Manchester. -Yes, I heard “London” is a big city”… ALWAYS.

#2 Be polite, even if you don’t really mean it.

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So, you will say “Thank you”, when you get of the bus, even if the bus driver tried to kill you and didn’t even left you close to the bus stop. You will say “sorry” when you’re in the store and you were a “bit” too close when trying to overpass someone on the aisle. You won’t raise the voice if you get really mad at someone, you will just stare at them, thinking what you would do to them if you could, and then after a dramatic pause, turn around and go.

#3 Fish and chips and Beans on toast

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It’s what it is: fish AND chips, beans ON toast. There’s no magic flavours hidden behind these so well-known British cuisine. No surprises, crystal clear, you will get what it is: a piece of fried fish with French fries, or a can of beans pour out over a toast. Is it good? Is it not? we’ll leave it to your palate to decide.

#4 The absence of rain is GOOD weather

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If it’s not raining it’s good enough to do all sorts of outdoor activities, -please, advice to new comers, never wait until it gets sunny or you might end up enjoying yourself just 3-4 days of the year! trust us on this, no rain is good enough.

#5 along with that, you will never wear an umbrella with you

We found out about that on our first year, it seemed like magic, but we would be soaking wet and everyone around would be completely dry, how? we still don’t know! we thought maybe the weather was being a bit racist…haha, jokes apart, you seriously don’t need an umbrella, just a hoodie. It’s all you need in this crazy weather.

#6 There is more than one type of curry

Before, we only had heard about a few Indian restaurants in Barcelona and that was about it, never tried curry or any Indian food. Since we moved here we have learnt to prepare our own Korma curry and we can distinguish many other flavours. Now I know what ginger is for! haha

#7 Every Spanish food must have chorizo

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Apparently, according to Tesco, Asda or even La Tasca, paella must be cooked with chorizo, if you want “Spanish chicken” must have chorizo as well, AND be spicy! It’s one of those misconceptions that I don’t know who initiated here after probably travelling too many times to Majorca or Benidorm.

#8 You will always give a card on Christmas

It doesn’t matter if you personalize it or not. (we’ve been given empty cards, no name on them, at all, that we could actually use ourselves to give them to someone else) haha No, no, we would never do that! but yes, cards are an important part of British culture. You can say anything with a card. Say sorry, say I miss you, congratulations, to the big brother, to the auntie, to grandma, to your boyfriend, seriously…they cover all range of topics, and of course, Christmas is a perfect opportunity.

#9 You will get to know a British layer after layer

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They won’t show you all at once, you will only get to know them little by little, cause what it would seemed a cold person, might be the tenderest one, after delving deep into their hearts. And who you thought you would never get along with might become a true friend and help you in times of need.

#10 Generosity is a frequent attribute in these isles.

There are many ways to fund raise, many causes that you can be involved with, many people willing to help, they might stop you on the street, or you could start your own campaign, and people actually donate. Of course, everyone is different, but as a general thing, we have noticed this in more than one person we have come across.

The list could go on and on. We are still learning so many things. Immigration is one of the best ways to grow in all the sense of the word. Adapting to a new culture, new people, new places is hard, and now I know that unless you have experienced it for yourself, you’re not able to understand what it feels. You can find all sorts of barriers, language can be one, but won’t be the only one, but when you get to overcome them, and laugh at your own mistakes, you are able to see the forest with the right eyes, and you just forget of the tree.

Pros and Cons of living abroad

Well, we finally got to our 6 months mark! Yep, we made it! We arrived to Manchester in June and we are still around here with no intentions, for the moment, to go back to Barcelona. We thought now it could be a good time to reflect upon the pros and cons of living abroad in this British adventure, maybe it will be useful for those ones thinking “I might give it a try and move to another country!” So here we go:

1st of Pros: economical improvement.
One of the main reasons to leave Barcelona was to look for better job opportunities, and well, we haven’t achieved all our financial goals yet but we can say there’s been a noticeable improvement since we moved to the UK. Samuel found a job on the third week we got here, and we can see God’s hand in that miracle, because we know of many other people that are still looking and have been here almost the same amount of time than us. He is learning new skills, building good relationships with his workmates and looking after our family’s needs and self-reliance. About myself, I changed my mind about the initial idea of me getting a full time job, I decided to start my own business as TuBa Advertising and I got to realise that I feel much more fulfilled being able to look after my little troublemaker than missing her stories, new words, amazing little adventures because of working for a company more than 40 hour per week. Of course I still want to get more experience and feel that I am a successful professional in my field but I can still do that being self employed, it might take me longer…but it is worth trying it.

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1st of Cons: loneliness.
Oh yeah, it is good Samuel found a job! Of course, but that also means that we don’t have normal weekends anymore, just one day off, that we always wait for him until he gets back from work around midnight and if we get lucky and there’s a nice day out there we might go out and do something fun. So basically I don’t have much time left to talk to another adult, and plus, because of my “social skills” I don’t get to do friends as quickly as I would like to, and sometimes, even when I try really hard, I might not catch some of their sense of humour or bits of a conversation…so yes, we miss our families, we miss our friends, I miss not having to make an effort to feel that I fit in in whatever sort of activity we attend… But I guess this is something that we will be able to overcome as time goes by.
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2nd of Pros: learning a new language
How good is that?! Isn’t it! So apart from Spanish and Portuguese now we get to become more fluent in English. But let us tell you that it is not an easy task, specially if we just speak more often one another than actually with the locals. That means you really have to try hard to take advantage of opportunities to talk to other people at church, at activities, wherever you are and not just to the bus driver asking for a “day rider”! We feel we have improved, Samuel specially is doing really good since we got here and Julia, she is soooo adorable saying some words in English, such as “bye bye, yeshh (yes), go! and many others.. 🙂
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2nd of Cons: the darkness
Don’t worry, it is not a spiritual darkness! But a physical one! Seriously! Here in Manchester gets dark at 4 in the afternoon! How strange is that? And can you believe that at midnight gets lighter than in the evening! Amazing! We even took pictures to prove it, to ourselves of course, I don’t think anyone else is too bothered about it, hehe…but anyway, I get a bit scared every time I have to go out at 6pm or later than that…cuz it truly gets really dark out there,..we’ve been told it’s because of the season… Oh well, we will just have to wait until summer!
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3rd of Pros: spiritual growth and uplifting experiences
The scriptures tell us that we need an opposition in all things, words of truth indeed. Since we got here we’ve seen how important we are to our Heavenly Father, how closer we can get to each other as we trust in His words and try to apply them in our lives. We have been trying to get more involved in missionary work as a family and we have had the opportunity to share the gospel with some spanish speaking friends, one of them is listening to the missionaries and is working hard to prepare himself for baptism. Our testimonies have been strengthened because of that and even tho we might not understand everything that is said at church when you become part of the Lord’s work you feel blessed.

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3rd of Cons: Public Transport
Ok, I really didn’t want to end this post with something negative…seriously, Manchester has many assets, that for sure, but public transport is not one of them! It is expensive, the journeys are too long and the fares are not unified, so if you buy a travel card with one Company you might not be able to use it with another. On Sundays it is not-existent! And they don’t keep it too clean…I feel bad saying this… But just consider these as suggestions from a regular user 😉

This is it by now! Who knows what our thoughts will be after our 1 year mark! Maybe we love the darkness, we own a car already and we have become the souls of every party-activity and have loads of friends! OR maybe we are back in Barcelona!!…only God knows.