By Laura Németh
As one of my flatmates has rightly observed, according to the frequency of my contributions, my blog should be renamed “The Dead Manchester Student” – she most definitely has a point! Although I certainly do not feel dead at the moment. In fact, it’s rather the opposite, one of the main reasons for this being that – very swiftly and incredibly – spring has arrived in the grey northern city! After about six month with virtually no sunshine at all, suddenly seeing the cloudlessly blue sky, feeling the sun on one’s face and being able to walk around in a summer dress and light jacket without freezing to death just feels absolutely amazing. To the extreme joy of everyone, we are currently experiencing a series of sunny, warm and most definitely spring-like days to the extent that my running companion Beki exclaimed yesterday that “It feels like being in a Mediterranean country! I mean it’s still cool – but it’s nice!” (Nice being a very unusual adjective to describe Manchester, I might have to add here). And I couldn’t agree more with her, although the Italians definitely wouldn’t be as exhilarated by a few nice days and a bit of sunlight as the British (and me after having endured six months of grimness, greyness and rain, rain & more rain) but I think that’s actually quite a nice thing because you really start to appreciate the little things and are immensely grateful for and positively surprised by every day like today. And you worry about getting a sunburn after not having seen the sun for so long, but never mind that!
A nice side effect of this sudden and rather unexpected weather improvement (I was fully prepared for it to stay gloomy until my departure in mid-June) is that it is so motivating to go outside, get things done and actually enjoying to move around in the city! Thus, after hardly ever having been up before ten in the morning since my arrival (I did most of my reading cuddled up in bed with a cup of tea, the weather having been to bad to venture out to the library. I know this sounds quite depressing and it was!), we went for a run this morning at a quarter past seven and after the initial “Oh my God what on Earth Have I Let Myself In For” feeling it was lovely to be out in first light and sunshine of the day. Then, after having discovered yesterday that we actually do have an applegrater in our flat I made a proper Birchermüesli for the first time here in England and those of you who know me will not be surprised to hear how much I enjoyed that. Of course I had not given up my ‘Muesli’ as it’s called here entirely but it is just not the same if you cut the apple in pieces!!
After that I tidied my room, walked to uni in glorious sunshine, had an inspiring and funny essay discussion with my tutor and am now sitting in the (gloriously) sun-flooded library before I will go outside to have lunch – in glorious sunshine as well! It is incredible how much you can do before 12 o’clock when the weather is motivating enough to get up & about! (Zurich people, please forgive me if I am sounding slightly repetitive here but I know you would feel the same if you lived here in Manchester for long enough; it is the city where you really get to understand the Brits’ obsession with the weather.)
Anyway, I am very happy at the moment and I hope the weather stays like this for the weekend when I will travel up to Wales to spend some time in the beautiful countryside in a remote eco-farmhouse! I am much looking forward to that although the absence of rain would definitely contribute to the success of this event – especially as the occasion is somebody’s birthday party! Oh well, Wales being in Britain it probably WILL rain, but luckily there is a fireplace so that even the worst-case weather scenario is still a rather cosy one.
Apart from that I will have another most welcome visitor from Switzerland next week and then after what will be a crazy essay writing and presentation week I’m off to the Algarve for ten days where I will hopefully be able to enjoy even more glorious sunshine and warm weather! I can’t wait. However, before that, there is as usual so much reading and writing to do that it feels rather overwhelming at times. I am sure you can all emphasise with that, especially if you are a third year literature student yourself. I sometimes really feel like I am about to go crazy immersing myself in all these stories of mostly strange and weird people week by week; although it is at the same time still very enjoyable and interesting and I often secretly feel that it is a bit of a rip-off that my parents are actually willing to pay me for doing that. However, I think their investment has been somewhat justified by my results for last semester: a First in all my courses which apparently is a rare mark, especially in the literature department! I would lie if I didn’t admit that I feel very proud of and relieved by this achievement, because I was more than a bit worried about not being able to cope with the level at Manchester, so now I am happy to see that my commitment has been rewarded. Of course, I now feel pressured to keep up these high marks in the second semester as well whilst also being determined not to give up such insensible pleasures as driving down to Cornwall on a six and a half hours journey for a fancy dress birthday party and all the way back to Manchester the next day! (Yes I drove on the left side for a little bit myself; apart from having slightly damaged the side-mirror by driving so close to the left that I hit a parked lorry everything went perfectly fine and yes everyone got out of it alive) “Work hard, play hard” isn’t that what the Americans say? I have never liked this saying because I’ve always wondered how sleep could possibly be integrated into that equation and I think it makes people (me, in particular) very grumpy to go with too little sleep for too long. But with a bit of sleep and the massively improved weather conditions I am confident that everything is achievable and thus I am really looking forward to springtime here in Manchester!
My love to the apparently still quite wintery Zurich (I won’t pretend to conceal a bit of malicious joy now I am the more fortunate end of the weather spectrum! Although saying this makes me feel like I have already become a bit too much involved with the British weather obsession.)
Have a nice start into spring and a lovely weekend!