I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas and New Year as much as I did!
On Christmas I stayed with Lewis and his family – it was really nice. We woke up and opened gifts and just relaxed most of the day until more guests arrived and then we had Christmas dinner. Crackers are probably the cutest Christmas tradition I’ve ever seen and they are not popular in the USA, so this was my first time ever breaking one open! This is a cracker in case you are as clueless as I was:
We all sat around the dinner table with our crowns on chatting and eating. Lewis’ mom bought a Quorn Roast, so I was able to have “turkey” alongside everyone else. I also had croquettes for the first time – amazing. They are basically breaded potato balls, I think. Definitely could eat those forever.
I also had Christmas pudding for the first time…I was not a fan to say the least. I don’t really like raisins so I don’t know why I thought I would enjoy it at all, but at least I can say I’ve tried new things while I’m here! Overall: 0/10.
Then I spent a couple days being boring and worked a bit on papers and just tried to relax a little. I also saw it snow for the first time!!! Here’s a photo of the hills in Stalybridge. They are pretty white even in this low quality iPhone picture.
But of course I was too excited for my birthday to be able to focus on anything! Literally this was the best birthday I’ve ever had!
The morning was a little…rough. I lost my Stagecoach bus pass two days earlier and had just received an email from the office saying I could pick it up. The pass is valid from September to June and cost a couple hundred pounds, so lets say it’s relatively important to not lose it. I also live far enough from campus that walking when it’s cold and rainy isn’t ideal. Anyway, back to my story. At about 11:30am Lewis and I go on the journey to retrieve my bus pass. We head out and follow Google maps to the address the woman from Stagecoach emailed me. So nearly 40 minutes later we arrive to where Google told us the office was…in Bell Vue. Bell Vue isn’t the nicest area of Manchester and if it wasn’t sunny bright out I probably would have felt pretty uncomfortable walking through the neighbourhoods Google sent us through. We are desperately looking for this office now and it is nowhere to be found. I decide to check the address on Apple Maps on my phone. Turns out Google didn’t have the correct location and we were about another 1.5 miles away from the office. So we keep walking – I’m pretty tired of just wandering around at this point, but finally get to the office and got my bus pass, yay! It only took about an hour and a half out of the afternoon and about 4 or 5 miles of walking.
We then went to lunch at a place called Sugar Junction in the Northern Quarter. It’s very quaint and adorable. We had to wait a while for a seat, but we ordered quickly. I got a Mediterranean toastie – it was okay. Little disappointing that it had no cheese even though it was called a toastie. L We also got cake since it was my birthday and that is a birthday requirement! I got a lemon-raspberry cake with white chocolate frosting and Lewis got a chocolate brownie with (I think) was a salted caramel macaroon on top. You can check them out here.
Here’s a funny little sign they had outside a coffee/tea shop in the Northern Quarter, too:
Anyway fast forward past dinner and it was time to celebrate New Year’s Eve properly! Got dressed up and headed over to a friend’s flat for some drinks and celebration!
They went to a bar called 42s (Deansgate) for their New Years celebration and Lewis and I went to Deaf Institute (Oxford Road). Deaf Institute was definitely what I wanted! They had 3 floors of music, I enjoyed the ground floor which was mostly Motown and all those cheesy old school songs that everyone knows. We drank and danced for a couple hours before I was ready to hit the hay (it was opened until 6am if I recall correctly).
We did a quick drunken run to Popolinos on Oxford Rd to grab a pizza and fries. This has sort of become our tradition whenever we have a night out…and I think most students go here or one of the restaurants on this strip, too. We were lucky to catch a bus back to my house at about 2:30am. I was beyond exhausted.
So here I am…starting the New Year frantically writing essays as they are due in 10 days and my only form of procrastination is writing a blog at this point. I’ll leave you with some photos to admire and wish you a Happy New Year.
The Palace Hotel on Oxford Road in (gasp) the sun!
I got this painting as a birthday gift from Lewis and I love it! It’s Democratic U.S. Presidents playing pool. You can see in the picture frame the Republican Presidents playing poker.