Who would have thought? It has now been five years since I moved to the UK. I initially moved to England for a year contract job based in Warrington, so I decided to live in Manchester and do the commute everyday – it was so much fun!
And as it happens, at the end of my contract I then found another job on the Wirral so I moved there and it has now been four years I have been in this job and lived on the Wirral. I must like it 😉
This post is not about me though; if you want to know more about the challenges and details of my life in the UK as an expat, check this blog post.
This post is about you! I wanted to take this opportunity to give a big shout out to all the amazing people I have met in the UK the last five years. It has been such a great experience for me, not only professionally but mainly from a human point of view. From day one, I have been very lucky to meet people I will never forget and who made this experience exceptional. Starting from my first housemates in Manchester Ryan and Lyssa, they straight away included me and made me feel home.
My first year in Manchester was fantastic and I met great people. One especially who I can call ‘sister from another mother’, that’s what they say right? I do believe god has great plans and he surely did when he put Saf on my path. It has been a hell of five years and we have both grown mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The most important thing though, is that we have been there for each other every step of the way and our friendship has gone stronger and stronger.
God has also put loads of other great people on my path when I moved to Liverpool/Wirral, we will not talked about the bad people, this is a positive post please :). I have been very lucky to join a company where the team I work with is AMAZING. I have made friends at work, real ones and I know it does not happen often so I am very grateful for that. For me, this is so important to have a good atmosphere at work. We spend most of our life at work so I could not work in a place where I don’t get on with my colleagues. Some people don’t mind and I really respect that but I personally do mind. Especially because I do not have my family around here, I could not afford to not be in happy and friendly workplace, it is not worth it. So this is a big thank you to my colleagues/friends who make me feel so welcome and look after me. Even though you take the mickey out of my lovely French accent, I love you and you are the best team I ever worked with.
Since I moved to Liverpool, I also made great friends who are mostly expats. I suppose it is always easier to have an affinity with someone who is on the same boat and live the same experience. I am lucky to now have a great group of friends in Liverpool who I can hang out with and go to if I feel home sick. Blogging has also been such a great experience so far as I have met lovely people who share the same interests, that’s probably the best part about being a blogger 🙂
It takes time and effort to make new friends and build relationships but it is worth it and it is good to get out of the comfort zone to meet new people sometimes. It does not mean dropping your old friends, not at all, but meeting new persons means discovering new personalities, new opinions and new interests which is important for self-growth.
Finally, I want to say a big thank you to all the people I came across the last five years who made me feel proud and happy to live in England. From the waiter in the restaurant to the cashier in the supermarket, one of the things I love about living up here is your amicability. How many times, I sat in the train or on the bus and ended up chatting to the person next to me. I absolutely love it and I guess that is one of the reasons I am still here. I can feel the human connections and it keeps me going. I do not say that I don’t get that in France, I just feel that the culture is different in that respect. Check my ‘France to England from A to Z’ blog post to understand what I really mean by that. Each country has its own culture, with pro and cons. I love France and I know I will eventually go back there but for now I am getting experience here until I feel ready to leave. Who knows when …
I will just end this post on a more serious subject which always plays on my mind, especially recently. I really hope that the political climate and religious issues will not affect the way people behave with each other. When I first moved to England, I was in awe of how multi-cultured this country is. I was so happy to see women being able to wear scarves at work, Indian men wearing the turban and girls & boys having all kind of hairstyles, even the craziest ones! This is what I fell in love with when I moved here and I think this is what makes England such a beautiful and rich country – diversity. Please do not let ignorant and close minded people tell you otherwise. No disrespect to the English culture, which by now you should know I really love, but without the international influence most of the things you love so much would not even be here. Curry is a great example, I was shocked how much curry is such a big thing in England but yet there is quite a bit of hostility towards Asian people. Like, “we love your food but please stay in your country”. Ok I may sound extreme and I know this a more serious topic and that’s not the purpose of this post but I do feel the need to point it out and share how it makes me feel as an “outsider”. Now you may say that my country is as bad on this matter and I completely agree. That’s one of the reasons why I left France for a bit. I had enough of being seen as the little “beurette” which is how we call people like me who have North African background so I know how it feels to be part of the minority. Yes, I am French-Algerian, yes I am bi-cultural and I am proud of it but that’s not all. I am more than that, I also have a heart and soul and it does not only include my ethnicity. Fortunately, most people do think that way and together we can fight racism.
You cannot imagine how heartbroken I feel when I hear about those acid attacks and hatred towards minorities. People who hurt other people are evil, no matter the excuses they use to justify their acts. No religion or culture calls for violence and no race is superior to another. We are all humans and what matters is our soul, our heart. That’s my little rant done 🙂 For now at least!
Anyway, I hope this post translates how grateful I am to live this experience in England and to have met you all. A big thank you for making this experience so special. Please keep spreading love, as I always say, that’s what keep us alive. Life would have no purpose without love.