Hello, Manchester!

As you’re probably aware by now, Jonas and I have been trying to move since November and we moved 9 days ago! Our new lives in Manchester have just begun…


Two Thursdays ago Jonas and I took the train up to Manchester to sign our contract and receive the keys to our new flat. Then Jonas went back to Sheffield and my mum and I stayed in the flat for a few days in order to clean it and try and find some appliances whilst we had use of the car. It worked out really well and it meant that come Friday, when the moving van turned up, we didn’t have to worry about cleaning, finding cutlery and making sure plants weren’t chopped in half! (Yes, we successfully moved all 90 plants with the help of my mum and our little car!)

New year, new home (1)

New year, new home (2)


Some funny things happened whilst I was there with my mum. The first being that as soon as our landlord started showing us around the house, the fuse blew. “Oh here we go…” as we both looked at each other and wondered what would be next.

As I stepped out of the shower the following morning, I noticed a big white splat on bath mat. As I didn’t have my glasses on I was a bit confused, peered down to the floor to see if I’d dropped something or God-knows-what.

It was a footprint! My mum had cleaned the bath with bleach the previous evening and I hadn’t realised, meaning I’d stepped in it whilst in the shower, then transferred the bleach via my foot. Now we have a lovely reminder of what an idiot I can be. I laugh every time I see it.

We found a sofa on Gumtree (after looking for 3 days!) and the man offered to deliver it. He was an hour late, offered me car valet services and asked if I had a spare flat I could rent his friend all in the space of 5 minutes. He was lovely, but mum and I couldn’t stop laughing afterwards.

Then my mum and I drove up to a Tesco Superstore and bought ourselves some dinner and a few cupboard items, and when we started to get the pasta ready we realised that the water on the hob was just not boiling. Mum kept changing the hobs, turning them on and off to see if something was broken, but the hobs just weren’t heating up enough.

In the end she just left the pasta on one hob and hoped the pasta would eventually cook, despite the water not boiling. It did, but it took us nearly an hour to create pasta and sauce for dinner. Arrrrgh!

The final thing was that when we tried to wash up we realised there was no hot water. I started to panic and turned on every tap, one by one, to check if any others had hot water – but none of them did! I checked the boiler and I’d turned the water on, the electric shower water was on, but still no water!

After about 10 minutes of worrying, I realised that I had not turned the boiler on, just the shower. Panic over, more laughing.


One other thing that I wanted to share was that, even from the second we arrived, we have a noisy couple that live opposite us. I’m not even joking. You guys know how much bad luck I’ve had with neighbours. China, Taiwan, Poland and even here in the UK over the last, well, 10 years!

We could hear this couple shouting at each other from across the hallway, which continued into the night, and started again between 5 and 7am on all three mornings. It was so bizarre, kind of funny, but also quite irritating. They were doing it again on the afternoon we arrived, and the following morning. There’s also a child in the flat above us that runs around and screams for most of the day – joyful!

We can’t sleep in the room on the far side of the flat because it’s a tiny box room, so we’ll just have to buy some earplugs and hope that we can block them out. And the people coming in and out of the front door, which is right next to our flat!


Friday –

we were up early to finish the packing, run out for breakfast and pick up more tape for the boxes. We made cheesy, jalapeño chips for the third time that week and the movers arrived at 2:30, along with Jonas’ brother in law. The movers were really nice, I was surprised that there were 3 men!, and they packed everything into the van within 25 minutes.

Thankfully Jonas’ brother IL has a decent sized car, into which we packed another 20 plants and a load of food and random items that didn’t fit into a proper box. We had an easy drive over Snake Pass and an hour and a half later we were unpacking into the new house. With 5 men unloading the van, and me arranging the lightweight items, it only took another half an hour. We had tea with Jonas’ brother IL and then went over to Lidl for some dinner and snacks!

Saturday –

As we’d unpacked quite a bit the night before, we had a lie in and late breakfast before walking into the city. We had coffee at Pot Kettle Black, who serve Workshop coffee!!, and then treated ourselves to lunch at Barburrito, which is definitely my new favourite place. Jonas went for a trial shift and I wandered around the city in the sunshine. Of course, I stopped by my favourite MCR plant store and to my surprise they had a clearance bin! I bought a sansevieria and a begonia maculata for a pound each! Just because they were a little unloved, but I’m sure I can bring them back to life!

As I waited for Jonas I found another independent coffee shop called Over Under and I absolutely loved it straight away! I went for a turmeric latte, applied for some more jobs and worked on a few blog posts. Of course, Jonas got the job and we walked home via the beautiful cathedral, and McDonalds. We managed to unpack a bit more and celebrated with a glass of wine before getting an early night.

Sunday –

We spent some time unpacking before deciding we needed to put the bed frame together, or we’d be on the floor for the next six months. The screws that came with it didn’t seem to hold the frame together and it took me ages to try and find the instructions, screws and YouTube videos online, none of which were helpful, but after Googling ‘hardware store’ we found out Toolstation is right behind our flats. The lady was so helpful and we came away with a bag of screws that did the job. We had a bed!

We made lunch, ate a bag of crisps and then walked up to Prestwich to check out the cafes and restaurants before going to a nearby pub to watch Liverpool v United. What a game! Of course the place was full of deluded United fans, swearing and screaming for a card every time someone even looked at the ball. The food, for a pub, was really tasty (and served hot!).

Monday –

Yet more unpacking (this’ll take ages because we have too many things for such a small flat!) but we walked into town about 12 and stopped at Grindsmith Coffee – absolutely the best oat milk flat white, and best oat milk latte art – I’ve ever had. It reminded me of the coffee shops in Shanghai. It was awesome (why do I never use underline??).

Jonas had an hour in work whilst I wandered around the shop, bought myself some black false nails, which I cannot wait to wear!, and then we took a slow walk home. The weather was stunning all day and the sunset was just fabulous.

Tuesday –

A very lazy morning! I went into the city for two interviews, both went well but I loved the first one. It felt very professional and as if it would be a great place to work.

The second interview was fine but I’m not sure if I’d fit into their general way of working, but anyway! Once they were finished I had a little walk around the city before jumping on the bus home. I keep forgetting what a massive city Manchester is and that rush hour actually means rush hour. It took me forever to get home, Jonas didn’t want to cook and neither did I. Which meeeaaaannttt…. PIZZA!

Jonas bought us Dominos and went all out by getting me a large one. Winner, winner pizza for dinner! I was exhausted and didn’t do much in the evening except for unpack a few boxes.

Wednesday –

Wow! What a day! After four hours of sleep (thanks, kid) I woke up early to talk to a lovely lady in Iran about the evaluation criteria of native speaker teachers. I must admit it made me feel so inferior, but it was a cool experience anyway.

Jonas and I went to the Trafford centre to spend our John Lewis vouchers, but ended up eating loads of food! (McDonalds, Caffè Nero, snacks). We finally treated ourselves to a decent coffee grinder and wandered around for a few hours.

Shock. There’s no Primark at the Trafford centre!

By the time I got home I really was tired, so I had a power nap and a shower before getting on with a lesson plan. Yes! I’d be ask to teach a 30 minute lesson as part of an interview for a teaching role. I was so nervous when I first received the email and I spent ages preparing the lesson – I hope it’ll pay off. I can never really go into a lesson without a detailed plan and list of back up activities but hey ho.

We finally have a dinner table to sit at for dinner, but it did mean moving all of our boxes back into the second bedroom, making it impossible to move in their now. Swings and roundabouts! We have far too many boxes for the little flat that we’re in, but I’m sure we’ll figure it out soon enough. I’m getting annoyed – I keep tripping over boxes or straps of duffel bags!

Thursday –

Another poor night of sleep, and a very early start thanks to the child dinosaur upstairs! We put the dehumidifier in our bedroom to help block out most of the noise but it didn’t help this morning. Hopefully I will just get used to the noise because I’m still glad it isn’t student parties or traffic noise.

I did my hair the night before, so made myself some breakfast and did my make up whilst reviewing my notes for the interview lesson. I felt nervous, especially as the first bus drove straight passed me and I had to wait in the rain for the next one, making me later than I had expected.

I really didn’t need to have worried. The director is so friendly and the students were delightful. The perfect class! I enjoyed the teaching, despite the nerves still being there and hopefully I’ll have a few lessons a week (watch this space.)

Jonas met me and we wandered around the Northern Quarter looking for coffee shops, and we finally settled down in Fig and Sparrow. We both got on with some work (blogging, TEFL course), enjoyed some good coffee and the most amazing gluten free double chocolate brownie! Deeeeeeelicious!

 

 

I had another interview at 2pm, so to fill the time we went to the Arndale Food Market for the most amazing burrito bowls ever at Panchos Burritos!

The interview went well and the owners asked me a lot of grammar questions and about my experiences. I didn’t feel pressured, but I did feel like I could have presented myself better if I hadn’t been on the spot. But there we go! Hopefully something will come of that one too.

Jonas and I got the bus home and spent the evening reading, cooking and relaxing – we were TIRED!

Friday –

Another early start as I had a 3-hour class to teach. There were only 3 students, at a low upper-intermediate level, and the feeling amongst them was very relaxed. The lesson was based on relative clauses, which they understood well, but they really struggled with the different relative pronouns. Agghhh!

Test-English

Then there was a leavers ceremony and a staff meeting, both very informal and didn’t take up much time.

Jonas and I spent the afternoon at the laundrette (I can’t tell you how happy we are to have soft fluffy towels again!!), followed by a Lidl shop, where Jonas bought me a new plant (the pot is gorgeous!) and then we spent time tidying up the flat a bit more.

We had a stir fry and prawn crackers to celebrate the start of Chinese New Year and that was about it!

Saturday –

Another early start for us as I had a job interview with a cafe / brunch bar in the town centre. I came away feeling very undermined and useless. It sounds conceited, but I used to be great on the bar and in the cafes and it felt silly that someone would speak to me as if I couldn’t wash up or take orders from customers.

We were grumpy most of the day, but treated ourselves to a freshly cooked Chinese meal at Wok to Walk (love it!) followed by a big food shop in Tesco where we found gluten free and dairy free pizza and garlic bread!

新年快乐


Sunday –

I had such a long lie in before making avocado on toast, unpacking more boxes and trying to tidy up. We had a massive roast dinner for lunch and then I started preparing for my lessons tomorrow.

I’ll be teaching for six hours!

We’ve made great progress with the flat, even though you wouldn’t be able to tell from a photo. We just have not got enough space for everything we own, and that’s after giving tonnes of stuff to charity!

Now to read, and go over my lesson plans for tomorrow. I haven’t been sleeping very well since we moved (new bed, new noises, etc) and I really need a decent night tonight – fingers crossed!


Next week: I’m hoping to meet a new friend, go to a language exchange night, I have another teaching demonstration on Wednesday and I want to finish emptying the boxes. I also have a few blog posts I’m working on – so stay tuned for something teaching related!

Thanks everyone for your help and support over the last few weeks. Moving is so stressful but having family and friends helping out has really made a difference. 

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