Friday, 4 September 2009

14 Years Already?

Hard to believe it, but I moved to the UK 14 years ago on this date.

I remember working my last day in Utah on Friday, packing my bags and handing over keys on Saturday. I flew on Sunday, arrived at Newcastle about 10 am on the Monday. My boss kindly picked me up at the airport and brought me to my first day at work! I think I may have stayed awake until about 4 or so and then found my way to my new home. For 10 months I lived in one grim room of a 3-bed roomed flat across the road, in a block of flats for hospital employees.

Sharing an apartment with a string of complete strangers (a Greek neurosurgeon - ?38? male; an English medical physicist just returned from 2 years in Germany - ?27? male; an English trainee A&E (UK version of ER) internist - ?26? female; a Scottish trainee nurse - ?23? female) -- what an adventure that was! I discovered right away that the women were horrible flat mates (not just sloppy but filthy, inconsiderate and noisy); whilst the men were very neat and polite.

I don't think I realised what a big step I'd taken, moving to another country, until a few months had passed. The days got shorter; I learned I had no control over the heating in my room; the laundry facility across the road was always full of abandoned clothing stuffed into washers and dryers so I took up washing clothes in the bathtub and hanging them around my room to drip on the carpet. It rained all the time, there were litter and graffiti everywhere, I discovered I might speak a form of English but they spoke Geordie around here. Come to that, there were probably hundreds of different accents from around the UK, just as in the US, and I worked hard to hear and understand pretty much everyone.

Still, many people went out of their way to be helpful, I finally discovered the Georgian architecture of Grey Street, I had my first adventures in exploring Europe and I had a lot of knowledge to contribute at the office, so it wasn't all bad.

Funny enough, I see Ebay was also launched on this day 14 years ago.

No comments: