Wednesday 4 April
Admittedly, over the course of the first half of my stay here in England, my traveling hasn’t been up to par with my expectations. While slightly disappointing, it was quite the lesson learned: I came to England to *live* for four months. To live, to study, to grocery shop, to hold my own, to write essays, to attend lectures. It took time to settle, to buy baking sheets, to stock up on kitchen basics, to learn the university’s ways. I am not in England as a traveler, I am in *living* England and that makes all the difference. It’s not another ten day trip where I can get away with living directly out of the suitcase and spending every day seeing site after site, eating at cultural hot spot after hot spot.
But when Easter break came, a glorious three weeks “off” of university, I was ready to go go go. (By the way, I put “off” in quotations because it’s not truly a break when you have assessment due… Which is unfortunately what the beginning days were dedicated to.) So, on Tuesday, I decided on an impromptu trip to Liverpool for… The next day, Wednesday! 😉
I hadn’t much of a plan, to be honest, so I contacted a lovely girl I met on Tumblr when I reverted to Islam. Actually, one of the first Muslim-run blogs I followed when I started gaining interest in the religion. She agreed to meet me at the rail station and that was that, my mind was made.
On Wednesday morning, I walked out to rail station in Salford and prepared myself for this little… Well… Adventure. You know, considering I’d only rode a train for the first time on the Saturday before and there I was hoping to navigate more than an hour away. I made it though, through a station switch at all, to the Lime Street Station in Liverpool where I met Helena.
From there, we went walked off to do what girls do best… Shop. Okay, actually, we don’t do it best apparently because it was one of the most brief shopping experiences I’ve ever had and, I must say, quite my taste of in-and-out buy-and-leave. We walked directly to the scarves where I grabbed a lovely large lightweight brown-based scarf (I didn’t have one because and, let’s me honest, brown is a staple color, no?) and then directly to the dresses where she looked for a mere two minutes and grabbed a dress. Queue, till, out. I realized that besides souvenirs, food, or travel ticket and such, this was my first purchase in the UK! :O And so sensible too… I’m clearly growing up, ;).
Here’s my scarf, by the way, because I quite fancy it and it wears wonderfully as a hijab!
After that, she and I headed off to the Costa… Or no, I took some money out of a cash machine (another first for my time here!) and *then* we headed off to the Costa… And met her friend for some well-deserved hot beverages. It was bitter cold and windy outside, even snowing in Manchester and causing the power to go out momentarily in Salford while I was showering that morning, so a bit of warmth and happiness in a cup? Alhamdulillah! 🙂 One mocha, banana loaf, and literally hours of talk came and went. That’s how I spent most of my time in this Beetle’s stamped city. I could act informed and give you fact, but to be honest, the only fact I know is that I was content on the second floor of this coffee shop away from the biting cold and not feeling the least bit awkward or out of place in conversation with these two girls I’d just met.
After we split up, I did wander around for maybe an hour tops. In and out of a few clothing stores (including a Top Shop for the very first time… sorry Fashionistas!) with little interest and no purchases. In and out of that sweets shop that I stumbled upon and wide eyed wandered into only to become disappointed at the lack of “vegetarian” stamps on most things (oh, eating halal!) and the outrageous prices (four pounds for a box of Gobbstoppers, really?!). I eventually headed into an Aldi, grabbed an off-brand Red Bull (for outrageously cheap and with a perfectly copied taste!) and pistachios for the journey home. Once the station was in view, I still had time to kill so I snapped photos of the surrounding buildings, pristine and grand but whose history I know nothing of. I caught a train home around 6:30, a ride that passed by in exhaustion.
So now that I’ve bored you with words, I’m sure… LOOK! 🙂