Published: June 19th 2009August 23rd 2008
The hair color were mostly blond. Although I see quite a diversity of races, majority of the people I bump unto are fair skinned, blue/green/light brown eyed. They speak in a familiar language but in a different accent that was lovely to listen to but hard to comprehend. Yes, I would struggle whenever I had to talk to my British colleagues. I had to listen intently, look straight at them, eliminate the other sounds around and absorb the words as fast as I can or else I won’t understand a thing. It’s quite funny how English could be so different in this part of the world. To me, a "Coach"
had always been a person guiding players in a basketball or a football team but here it turned out to be a "Bus"
. When someone told me about "Aubergine"
I was like "What?!"
, then it turned out to be my favorite vegetable. "Boot"
had always been footwear before I learned that it’s also the luggage compartment of a car. I would previously use words like "Cart"
instead of "Trolley"
instead of "Fancy"
instead of "Rubbish"
, and "Apartment"
instead of "Flat"
. But isn’t it amusing to use new words you’ve
just got familiar to? I quite enjoyed trying to talk British - totally amusing!
Our PI Malls would close at as late as 10:00 PM but here, we had to hurry to the mall at 6:30 PM because stores will be closing soon. There’s always that friendly "Hi"
and "Thank You"
when you get to the counter and people will hold the door for you. The smallest size of their clothes were still too big for me, then I found Bench, Vero Moda, and ehm (I forgot the name)
which had clothes of my size! And the shopping bug bites again. Hooray!
I also had to stop converting GBP to PHP every time I go shopping or else I won’t be able to buy a single thing.
Every time we eat out, I would give out a sigh at the sight of the usual huge serving and wonder how much of it would go to waste again because my stomach is used to accommodating just small portions. We Filipinos also love soy sauce w/ vinegar, ketchup and salt on our food, and I missed these dearly in England.
The cars won’t blow their horns unless maybe they’re
about to run you over. A few brit acquaintances would get surprised whenever I tell them that one thing I loved about Manchester was because it was quiet. Apparently, it’s one of the busiest cities in England. But if you pass through EDSA (the busiest street in Metro Manila)
every working day of your life, you’d perfectly understand what I mean. So if you have no idea what noise pollution means, then drop by at EDSA when you visit the Philippines.
There are also these groups of gothic teenagers you’d see gathered at parking lots/parks. Sometimes they would call out "Ni Hao!"
. I wonder why any Asian always had to be Chinese to them? NO, I’m not Chinese. They mostly seem liberated, outspoken, trendy and carefree - totally different from my shielded teenage days.
PI Men would talk endlessly about basketball and boxing while British Men were mostly crazy about Football and Rugby and they love drinking too. Although I believe they’re quite strict with minors getting inside pubs - there’s no such thing in PI (not that I’m aware of)
. I was even stopped going inside a pub one night because I probably looked like a minor
trying to sneak inside a bar to have a drink with the grownups. Also, the sight of intoxicated people walking at Deansgate and the sound of police sirens at 5:00 PM on a Friday looked a bit too early for people to be getting drunk.
Most TV shows were repeats from the other day and I had to watch old F.R.I.E.N.D.S. episodes or the Princess Diana Documentary (actually more of listening to it)
over and over when there was nothing else better to do. It was best to watch BBC because at least they had always something new everyday.
While PI has countless numbers of beggars and vendors on the street, England have a bunch of street performers, stuntmen, actors, people playing guitars/piano/drums/etc. London, Scotland, York, I’ve seen lots and lots of them. I used to feel so sorry for the people living in the streets of PI but realized how worse that could be for the people in the same condition in England during winter! People can still manage to survive heavy tropical rains but how can someone survive the freezing English winter?!
For the first time, I got to live alone. It felt so liberating (and sad at times)
! Laundromats would do the laundry for us back in PI but here we have to do it ourselves. I had to do the grocery, cook, and do the budgeting by myself. One time I was struggling at the counter putting my groceries in a bag when a lady next in the line went "Will you hurry up?! I’m gonna miss my bus!"
and I wanted to go "I’m trying for God’s sake! Back at home someone has to do this for us!"
, but I know that would be a stupid excuse.
A cleaner would come to our apartments every Tuesdays but we never got to see him/her/them. We were so curious that we thought of putting up spy cameras just to see how they look like. One day I got a lovely email saying that I almost burnt my apartment down! Actually, I could have burnt the whole Hill Quays down because of a pan left burning on my stove! PFFFFF! That’s officially one of the stupidest thing I’ve ever done! I was terrified of what could have been. The Tuesday cleaners saved my a**!
Most importantly, I discovered Nutella and love, love, love,
There are more photos below