Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Liverpool Love

Ahh, where to start? Well first off I am now living in my third country. It is no secret to anyone who has known me that I have wanted to try living in the UK for some time. When Javi got the job I was thrilled and excited. That emotion soon became a feeling of being overwhelmed. That feeling has lasted through today. However with each day my anxiety seems to fade more and more. Today as I was happily walking around one of the many local parks to me I couldn't help repeating in my head "this place is so beautiful, I am so lucky to live here".

Even though I have wanted to live in the UK for 7 years or so, and oddly the first place I so desperately wanted to live is only 16 miles from where I currently reside, I was overwhelmed. Why? Because I strongly feel that I failed in Madrid. I was not expecting it to be so hard. I was not expecting for me to be so set in my ways and resident to change. I did adapt to the culture a bit, and I learned a ton about myself, Spain, and the world, but at the end I did not enjoy living in Madrid. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that I was unemployed, and my DH was desperately unhappy at his workplace. However, if Madrid was a person I would have broken up with it with the infamous "it is not you, it's me" line. Plenty of people are very happy living in Madrid, and I hope they get the chance to stay, but I wanted my place to be happy too. I dare to hope that maybe I have found it?

I was in a state of culture shock for a while, and will probably have bouts here and there in the coming months. As I write I have been living here for 3 weeks (it took a while to get broadband). 
I noticed one day that I was upset because I did not get to at least visit the US for a "reset" in between the two countries. I thought that it was unfair and that I would have been able to cope better with the change (and who knows? I might have been) but I think that is because I am desperately homesick. I have not really been to the US (except 6 hours in an airport) in over 3.5 years, and I know that soon I will have to surrender my passport for the residency card process which can take up to 6 months. At least I will be stranded in a country that I have always wanted to explore.

It is simply marvelous to live in a culture more similar to mine, and to be able to speak my native language. I enjoy it very much. Although some of the slight differences in the language are simply alarming and hilarious, like when the technician installing my broadband asked me "where is your master socket" (main phone jack) and told me that he would "knock me up if he could turn it on, love" (that he would ring the doorbell and tell me if he had turned on our phone line). (For any UK readers that means "I will get you pregnant when I turn it on, I love you".)

Anyway, let me take you through the highlights of my walk this morning.

I currently live in a victorian terraced house, much less grand than this one. I took this photo to give an example of the marvelous touches of stained glass that they can have. It is much harder to take pictures here, as more people are concerned with their privacy, so I snapped this of an empty house, and quickly.
A house on Queen's Lane

I live within 0.2 miles of the famous Penny Lane, and I thought that today I would walk from the bank to the Penny Lane Millennium Green. One of the things that I love is that there are so many parks and green spaces in Liverpool, especially within a 1.5 mile radius of my house. I took the back roads and discovered this church. I have no idea if it is still being used or not, but isn't it splendid?

Dovetail Baptist Church
I circled the green on three sides before I realized that the only gate open to me was the one closest to my house. I am guessing that it is the one the all the tourists take pictures of. (Am I a tourist? It is hard to tell.)

The green was small, but gave a sensation of walking in a meadow.

After the green I turned West and walked Penny Lane to it's end. I passed a charming pub.

I crossed over the train tracks.

I took a touristy photo.

Then when I reached the end of Penny lane I turned right and walked to Greenbank Park, and I am glad I did. it is fairly tiny, but so breath taking. There were Canadian geese, swans, herons, and at least three kinds of ducks.

I think that big nest is a heron's, thoughts?

 The daffodils, crocuses and snowdrops are springing up right now, though, we might have snow this weekend.

Everything is green here, even sometimes the trees.

There is a beauty shot of the heron, some ducks, the terraced house in the distance, the vibrant green lawn and the blue sky (which is not common here, click to enlarge).

There was a little corner of the park that had been set up as an English garden. It is not very impressive right now, as it is still winter, but I have a feeling that it is will be interesting to see it as spring progresses.

Doesn't it look like something out of Secret Garden? And through out the walk, the air was sweet, the birds called and the area was beautiful. After 5 States, and three countries, I hope that I have finally found where I belong. Do you see just how beautiful it all is?


  1. Kay, I can relate to feeling disappointed that you couldn't acclimate to where you were living, as I feel the same about PA. It seems like every difference, nuanced or dramatic, is a reminder of just how far you are from "home", and I am just on the other side of the US! Coming out the other end and appreciating Madrid for what it is (and what it has to offer those who love it dearly) and seeing/capitalizing on the positives on your UK move, I think you are doing wonderfully! I'm so happy for you and Javi, and hope this place quickly fits the bill for "forever home". :)

    1. Jennilyn, I too know of the culture shock of moving from one end of our ginormous country to the other (I have lived in 5 States) it is almost the same level of culture shock as moving here! (Not the same as Spain though, the culture was very different and the language added complications, haha.) I haven't lived in a place that would be my forever home for 13 years, so I do deliberately seek out the positives as I do not want to move again lol. My first culture shock lasted a while, I hope yours dies down soon. :)

  2. Welcome to your new home, Kay!!

  3. Beautiful photos, Kay, especially those last ones with the low light and bright green lawns. It reminds me of pictures I took when we lived in London in the winter. the low angle of the sun and the winter scenery is a special combination. It looks like a wonderful place to live. I hope you love it there.

    1. It is so pretty here, but the English are a self deprecating lot. When you point it out to them they look at you like you are crazy! Haha. Maybe your travels will take you nearby and I can finally meet you in person.

  4. I really hope you can find your happy place in Liverpool. I had a similar experience to yours when living in Belgium. I stayed there for almost 6 years but I didn't learn to love it. Somehow I love Madrid and it feels like home. I guess all of us have different needs.

    1. Thank you Elena!
      It is a good thing that we all have different needs otherwise we would all end up in the same place lol ;)
      I think that I should mention that I have never enjoyed living in really big cities, and maybe that is partly why I never felt at home. That and being unemployed. ;)

  5. The parks are one of the things I love about Liverpool too - have you made your way to Sefton Park or the Festival Gardens? A favourite walk of mine is to go through the "Mystery" park, then Greenbank, down to Sefton, along Lark Lane, down to the Festival Gardens and from there onto the path that runs along the Mersey into town. It's a little over a 2 hour walk, (more when I stop for coffee cause you have to!) but I love it. I'm glad you feel so excited about Liverpool - it definitely is a city that grows on you.

    1. I have been to parts of Sefton, and Lark lane, but not he festival gardens. That sounds like a lovely walk and I'll have to try it. (Although Wavertree would be a in the opposite direction for me.) I just love all of the green space, and it is so green!