September 2007, UK, Newcastle Upon Tyne
I don’t quite recall all the hustle after the Jet landed.
Getting out of the plane, laying my foot for the first time in our new hometown, getting our stuff from the airport to the cab. We all were so incredibly tired. And all the people with that heavy accent, which makes my life miserable up until these days.
The hotel we reserved few days before arrival to UK came out to be cosy and nice, although on a busy street, but so much out of hand when it came to going to Northumbria University and looking for a flat around it’s vicinity.
Gateshead is not close to any university, not by feet, which was the only mean of transport for us most of the time (exception was starving, tired and lost in city, than we got a cab).
English breakfast, dinner mostly pizza from Pizza Hut on the other side of street, sometimes order from the hotel kitchen, which wasn’t cheap. My first and last time having Fish&Chips. Hubby doesn’t like it. At all.
We had a 14 day reservation of a small room with one small window and really strange kind of heater, which we didn’t much figure out how to make it work properly (it seemed to work only in the evening and night and let us freeze during the morning and evening, really practical).
We were together in strange country surrounded by circumstances and people we didn’t know. It was so stressful for me, I can’t even imagine, how much pressure it was for poor Aboody, who had to start to attend school, look for flat and to add some spice, the month of Ramadan came about 5 days after our arrival. We were still in the hotel and the days in northern England were so long in September, that he seemed to get almost transparent from hunger sometimes. And certainly not pleasant and cuddly all the time – who would blame him.
I cried secretly the first two days, during the nights, when Abood and Dori fell asleep; questioning myself about my decision, desperate from new situation, nervous from all the stuff coming up, not knowing the next day, the next hour. Relying only on the honest word of supposedly honest man, that he’s a man who really loves me and my daughter and won’t ever let anybody nor anything to hurt us – if it is in his hands. Now I know he is a honest man and that he meant it – but the first weeks were torture for my mind.
We spent most of the time looking for some place to stay at, trying to steal wi-fi signal from down the room of the hotel reception (and we were mostly successful, although I gotta say that the signal was quite unpredictable and during rainy day very lousy, and go figure, how many rainy days are in northern England).
Most of the flats were out of range of our budget (700£ per month per person), too big (5 bedrooms) or too far (instead of up to 20 mins of walk from uni it was 20 mins by car on highway).
In the end we started to run out of time and flats; September is a season when many students come to Newcastle looking for places near the universities complexes and we run out of options quite soon.
We were lucky enough to get a flat though before our reservation ended up.
Found in Heaton for 550£ a month, not so far from Aboody’s school and in a quite nice and safe area with shops close by and Amstrong Park two blocks away.
It was not cheap, but we managed; the surprise was the flat itself. Claimed to be not nicer than others in Britain (now I can calmly say: “HA HA HA“), it was 3 rooms plus kitchen, broken washmachine – took them about 14 days to replace it, awesome time of washing clothes in hand, a little of furniture, no rugs, toilet which got broken several times and all-year-long close friendship with snails, which during summer ended up by them eating our food during nights.
Once I found our bread all slithery and half eaten… bleh.
What I didn’t know, that this problem is common in here and can be compared to ants-human relationship in Czech. A lot of cases, a lot of enmity, and a lot of fights. And… common. Really common. The ants came at spring. (I actually remember that Abood caught a very busy driveway of ants right on our cupboard, he took an air freshener and sprayed them with it… since that point I never used AirWick ever again, because the ants died instantly and never came back – what poisonous fumes it has to contain, to kill whole colony of ants??)
It was a ground floor apartment, on the second floor was living a pair of elderly people, who were really sweet, the old lady used to ring on our door bringing chocolate for Dori sometimes (the white chocolate buttons, she actually shown me what is perfect as small sweet treat for children); my daughter’s favourite doll is a gift from the lady. It’s a shame we couldn’t move them with us – it would be a great substitute for grandparents, which Dori can’t enjoy while living in UK.
We spent at King John Terrace whole year, before our one-year contract with our Indian landlord ended up. He refused to shorten it even a bit so at the end we paid for one month and two flats – new one, in which we live up until now, and old, rugless and snaily one.
One year of setting up our relationship, one year of randomly running outta money, one tough year of life in a new country with new partner and new opportunities.
That year made our relationship much stronger and even steadier, if I may say, and proved we are able to survive even through poor and stressful times; it proved that I have the luck to spend my life with an amazing and capable husband, loving, great and responsible man, successful father and student.
A year during which I cried a lot, because my life was upside down, but in the end found out that there’s no reason to cry over the lost way of life, when the new one is better, safer, more loving and profitable for Dori and me.
A year of a new life…