Author Archives: lauranemeth

My Life in Manchester – British Weather Enthusiasm and Pre-Departure Homesickness

By Laura Németh

Dear Readers,

It’s been ages again! I really can’t believe how time flies and have been very reluctant to write because that would also involve acknowledging that my year here will be coming to end all too soon. In what is about exactly a month I will have to pack my suitcases (which will involve finding a solution for all the dresses that I have acquired and that will certainly exceed Easyjets nasty weight limits) and leave this flat, the city and, above all, the people that have made this place home for me during these past months. Of course I am looking forward to my other home in Zurich too: I can’t wait to see all the lovely people that I have been missing for quite long enough now, to relax by the lake or jump into the river after a hot summer’s day, and to finally be able to cycle anywhere again at any point of day or night without any lights on my bike and yet with perfect ease of mind in the knowledge that the potential of being robbed, being hit by a double-decker bus or of losing my way in area in the darkness of a rather dodgy area is virtually non-existent.

And yet, even though I have certainly had a few moments where I was completely fed up with this place and wondered why on earth anybody could choose to live here, it has nevertheless become very dear to me and I know that I will miss it very badly. You simply cannot hate this city even though there are undoubtedly some grim things about it. In fact, I think anybody with an open mind could not help but start to really like it sooner or later because there are just so many things that make up for its less desirable sides. Continue reading

My Life in Manchester – Springtime!, Or: The End of Rain, Rain & Rain

By Laura Németh

Dear Readers,

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!

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My Life in Manchester – X-Factor Finale and Hogmanay!

By Laura Németh

Good Morning, Zurich!

First of all, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you the very best for 2013! Also, my sincere apologies for being the most unreliable blog writer ever! Perhaps the New Year will bring a change for the better in that respect… It is not that I wouldn’t have wanted to report a million things to you but it’s been such a crazy time before the Christmas break and beyond that, the time now just before the exam period feels almost tranquil in comparison to that.

Here are just a few of the things that happened since my last blog entry: our gospel choir experienced a “day of fleeting stardom” when we were asked to feature in the X-Factor (it’s like the British version of DSDS but everyone still watches it) finale supporting one of the finalists and also “pretending” to be Rihanna’s dancing fan crowd in the first row of a 12’000 people venue in Manchester. Yes, I did touch her and yes the evening was an amazing if also very surreal and sometimes absurd evening. But it was a great experience to take part in it with the whole choir and we did have loads of fun! The highlight of the day for me personally was seeing Emili Sandé doing her dress rehearsal in the almost-empty building which was simply breathtaking. Continue reading

My Life in Manchester – Chorlton Hippies

By Laura Németh

My Dear Reader,

How time flies… I cannot believe that it’s already going to be December in a bit more than a week! It’s not very cold at all at the moment (well, relatively speaking at least!) but my flatmates are already enthusiastically browsing the award-winning Manchester Christmas market that apparently sells “everything from fine amber jewellery, handcrafted leather bags, and top quality bonsai trees, to Dutch flower-bulbs, French soaps, and Spanish chorizo”. Definitely does sound tempting. And with the preparation for our upcoming gospel concerts going full speed, I guess it won’t be too long until I am in festive Christmas spirits myself. But not just yet. Meanwhile, I have had the most wonderfully odd weekend that sent me time-travelling back into the sixties.

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My Life in Manchester – Midterm Moments

By Laura Németh

Dear Readers,

Apologies for not having written in two weeks! I was too busy writing all my essays while trying to keep up with the incredible amount of reading we are supposed to do here week by week. Even right now I’m actually supposed to finish my essay on Utopias so I do feel a little guilty for sneakingly taking the time to write to you. After all, there is nothing that motivates more to do all kinds of things than having to write an essay, isn’t there? Suddenly, you feel like you absolutely must tidy your room, go for a run, get the heels of those shoes repaired, manicure your fingernails or even doing your laundry. I’m sure you all know what I am taking about! Continue reading

My Life in Manchester – Reading Week Distractions or How to Survive Bikram Yoga

By Laura Németh

Dear readers in snowy Switzerland,

How sad to have missed the first snow of the year – there’s always a bit of magic involved in this moment that the first flakes are faintly falling (yes I do admit this beautiful alliteration is plagiarised from Joyce’s The Dead for the pedantic among you…!) from the sky and lend the city just a little more grace and tranquillity, isn’t there?

Well, here in Manchester there’s no snow in sight – it’s just very cold and so windy that my second umbrella in a row has broken this week! Other than that – I have no idea how! – it’s already midterm now which means that all students get what is called a “Reading Week” during which no classes take place. As the name implies, the idea is to give you time to catch up with all your reading and your lecture material, but actually it’s just a week where everyone is busy writing essays and assignments that are ALL due just after reading week and it’s also the time for friends and family to stay over and distract you most favourably from your work! Continue reading

My Life in Manchester – A Word (or Two) on Northern Friendliness

By Laura Németh

Dear Zurich people,

Ron Orp rumour has it that the Brits have been invading Zurich this week and funnily enough to me it seems as if Manchester in turn has been taken over by Zurich these past few days! After not having heard any Swiss German from anyone in Manchester since the day I have arrived, I have heard it spoken several times this week in odd places. Not only was it Swiss German, but always a proper Zurich accent as well!

This Friday, for example, whilst I was testing innumerable lipsticks at Boots, I overheard a woman from Zurich, who apparently works in Manchester at the moment, having a rather lengthy job-related conversation on her mobile phone. Instead of being seized by the sudden impulse to run and hide as quickly as possible lest – God forbid! – I should be caught up in a conversation with one my fellow-countrymen/women as I usually am when I stumble across Swiss people on a holiday, I was overcome by a nice and homely feeling and stood there quietly smiling to myself over the lipstick-counter and pleasantly imagining for just a moment that I was back in my hometown.

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