Daily little wonders

Duration: 2:45 minutes
Accession No: TWCMS : 2009.363
This story has been viewed 8983 times

Sandra's story is about her experience of living and working as a foreigner in the North East of England.

By Sandra Brauer


Other information

This story was inspired by a teacup from the collections at the Museum of Hartlepool.

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Video transcript

Last year, I arrived by plane at Newcastle airport on a Friday night in September, just before the new term at Newcastle University was about to start. I took the Metro to get to my student accommodation close to the university campus, feeling very brave to use public transport packed with all the stuff I would need for one year.    

Do you remember that Haymarket metro station was completely closed at that time? Well, I didn't know that and had to get off at Monument metro station instead. If you have ever enjoyed a Friday night out in Newcastle, you know what sight expected me: loads of people in a party mood, all dressed up and, despite the chilly night  without any coats or jackets? Strange people living here, so it seemed to me.   I am from Germany, as you might hear from my accent. You would think that there are not so many differences between living in the North of Germany and in the North of England. But even after more than a year, I still experience little daily wonders every other day.   Tea is something very British for me, especially when I think of the sheer amounts of tea everyone consumes all day long. I find it incredible that you can actually buy boxes with 200 tea bags in them. So I don't wonder at the amount of tea mugs you can find in the collections of museums all over the country.

Using the bus turned out to be more different than I expected it to be, too. On my first bus ride, I got well through the queuing bit at the beginning. It took some time, however, to understand what people were saying to the bus driver when they got off. If you use the bus regularly as someone born in the UK, you probably say 'thank you' quite automatically. I got into that habit, too, but I still often say 'goodbye' instead, especially when I'm still half asleep in the morning because that's what you would do in Germany. However, I need to add that I admire the politeness of everyone who even thanks the occasionally grumpy bus driver and always queues in front of a bus station. But, to be honest, is it also necessary to queue in front of the Fenwick's Christmas window on a really busy Saturday morning? 

British food provides more little wonders every time I eat out or meet friends in the good old pub. What makes peas so special in comparison to every other vegetable that they come with nearly every single dish? They don't seem to be particular in any way. And they are also one of the vegetables which are quite difficult to eat, especially if the food goes along with a pint or two. Unless you mash them, of course. I am really impressed by that inherent logic, once I had found out why you would want to eat mashy peas in the first place.

How much time do you think it takes to get to know a foreign culture? I have already adapted a couple of British habits, as you might realize when you see my tea mug I cannot be parted from. However, until I have decided whether I actually want to miss out on my wondrous life, I just enjoy my daily little wonders.

I never knew how funny England could be to a foriegn visitor, we are definately a weird bunch! Thanks for your story, really enjoyed it. Danke SchönPosted on 13/01/2010 at 09:58:34

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