28 April 2013

Loving Liverpool

My stay in Liverpool was amazing! Could there be a better way to get over jet-lag and become accustomed to a new country than spending five days with friends?

When I got back from the airport I had a full English breakfast waiting for me!
I was able to go shopping at Sainsbury’s on the first day, and went giddy over seeing foods I’d only read about in British recipes—celery root, fresh coriander—and the fact that everything was priced in £s. There were local newspapers, frozen pies, and more Cadbury treats than I’d ever seen in my life. The sweets sections of British stores are gratifyingly extensive. My friend Lydia insisted on buying all kinds of British goodies for my stay here: Nairn's oatcakes, sausage rolls, and a plethora of local cheeses to start.

The cashpoint outside gave me my first experience with English paper money. I’d handled some coins before, but this colorful currency was a first. Why does American cash have to be so boring? The same basic designs for decades, the monotone coloration, the consistent size…I think Brits have the right idea: keep things interesting.

Back at the apartment, I learned how to use a key to open a door instead of a knob. I don’t know if that is something particularly British or just a characteristic of big cities in general, but I’d never seen such a system before. The bathrooms were a hurdle for me as well: the toilet operated by a push button, the sink with separate taps for hot and cold water, the shower with foreign knobs, and a tricky shower door that gave me a few moments of panic when I thought I might be trapped inside.

That night I got a little depressed (probably because I ended up staying awake until about 23:00 checking emails), hence the post about my “dream dying.” In a way my original dream has died. I don’t think I can ever see Britain the same way after actually living here for a while. But then, I don’t have to. The old dependence on books and photos and daydreams has been replaced by real-life experience, which while flawed is infinitely richer and more fulfilling.

Lydia and I trekked into the city the next day, baby and pram in tow, to have a look at the downtown area and Liverpool ONE. It was the first time I’d ridden a British train—almost my first time on a train, period—and that was a flurried, novel experience. All those people bound for different places, each with a story and a goal, each with a ticket telling places they’d been, and places they were going to....

Getting off at Liverpool Central, we strolled down the street past shops with unfamiliar names, past vibrant Liverpudlians with their unique fashion sense, trash on the sidewalks and graffiti on walls, an ancient bombed-out church left as a war memorial, shelves of pasties, and couples out for a sunny afternoon walk. Liverpool passing by—with all of her faces.

After lunch Lydia had to take care of the baby, so for the first time since touching down on the tarmac I was on my own in Great Britain.


  1. Glad to hear that you are having a great time and enjoying your stay! I am still loving tracking your trip and everything you are experiencing. I am especially glad you included the post that showed your sadness because I am bracing myself for the same feeling that I know will happen.
    Can't wait to hear more about your travels, how your packing has faired, and any other interesting details about Capernwray!

    Praying for you Abigail!

  2. Hi Bethany,
    I'm in the same position as you, and I've found some really cool blogs written by some of the Winter School students this year. I'd recommend reading this one in particular: www.michellesibongile.blogspot.com

    Michelle was very kind and answered a heap of questions for me, if you want to check it out:).

  3. Awesome! Thanks! Are you attending Capernwray in the fall? What were some of the other blogs you've found?

  4. Yes, I am attending in the fall/autumn:). I'm going for the whole year 2013/2014! Some of the other good blogs I've found from 2012/2013 are:





    Enjoy reading the stories:). I certainly have:). I can't wait for my own Capernwray story to begin and I'm sure you must be the same!

  5. I am going for the full year as well! How exciting! I would love to email and exchange details/helpful hints. Please email me at blstaub@gmail.com and we can discuss :)

    Thank you for the blog referrals as well!


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