I made it! After months of prepping and a few mental break downs I am finally here. Wales is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. It is so green. I am from Ohio, which is a green place, but Swansea just has this energy that I love. The under current motivates me to walk miles every day!
I have learned a lot in my few days here. For example there is no such thing as Jaywalking.
Rexburg, where I did my undergraduate degree, fines you like $80 if they catch you jaywalking. This has been music to my ears!
Also, because they drive on the left side of the road, I am learning to look left then right before crossing the street. I probably look crazy with how many times I check the road before I cross but I haven’t had incidences with cars so:
Walking is my main mode of transport and it is so nice outside, even with the misty rain, that I don’t even care. I have stepped in my fair share of puddles already. I definitely need to invest in better shoes. Flats are not really enough here. Also, I really want to find a bike. It will be faster than walking. And cabs are darn expensive!
Also in travelling, don’t use street addresses. The most efficient way to find a place is the post code. Much like the zip code in the US, but more accurate. It’s almost block specific, kind of like a grid system, but British. And it’s pretty accurate. I have had no problems using postcodes.
Phones are interesting too. All mobiles are 07 numbers. All landlines are either 01 or 02. 03 and 08 are for call centres and marketing things; which makes it really easy to know if it’s a sales call. Ignore the 03 and 08 calls!
People use the nick name variety of Love, Lovey, my love etc. And honestly, it makes me so happy. If people called me lovey for the rest of my life I would be okay. It is also odd; I think American culture makes us hesitant to use the word love, in any context. It holds significant meaning to us culturally and thus we don’t use it that often. So I feel bonded to strangers because they call me love. I know to them it means something different, but it is refreshing.
Something else I have learned is that Welsh people are unbelievably kind. I have had complete strangers help me with my luggage, offer me advice about buses to take and a plethora of other things. I hope this continues. They have made quite the impression and it has been a positive one!
I am getting pretty settled in. I already have adjusted to the new time zone. I can’t wait for this adventure to really start!
Sara Hopkin’s Original blog post can be viewed at: