So in the end…

After 3 months of blogging about moving to a new place it’s time to wrap my blog up. I’m heading back to California, and my time in Sunderland is coming to a close. The adjustment to life in a new country was hard but extremely rewarding. I learned a lot about different people and cultures. It taught me that patience isn’t just a virtue, but a necessity when you come to a new place. I hope that my first hand experiences of living and traveling have helped you. The one thing that I can’t stress enough is that you need to have a open mind. If you come to a new place with preconceived notions then adjusting it going to be all the more difficult.

I hope to be blogging again sometime in the future. But before I sign off, I have one last question, is anyone planning on moving to a new country in the coming months?

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Published in: on May 14, 2010 at 11:20 am  Comments (2)  

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

If you’ve been reading my blog you can tell that while you’re adjusting to a new place, things are going to get stressful. It’s hard moving to a new place that has a different culture. Things that used to be easy, like going to the store or trying to call someone, can sometimes be a huge challenge. There’s no reason to get upset or frustrated with your situation, but rather take a deep breath and try see what the problem is. First off, if you’re trying to do something and it just isn’t working,  try the internet. The internet gives you a plethora of knowledge right at your finger tips. Make sure you go to reliable websites, but even websites like Yahoo! Answers offer some valuable information. After a few days things will get easier and after a few weeks you’ll feel like you’ve lived there your entire life.

My first few weeks in Sunderland were stress and frustrating. I didn’t have a phone or the internet so I couldn’t keep in contact with people. However, not actually having those two vital pieces of today’s technology taught me how to relax. After awhile Sunderland became home for me. I knew where to go to for food, electronics or just to have a good time. Obstacles arrive on a daily basis for people, but the obstacles always seemed bigger when you arrive to a foreign place. Just remember, next time you’re having a rough day adjusting just take a deep breath and try to relax.

Published in: on May 13, 2010 at 11:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

More Ash in Europe

More news from Iceland.

Looks like the volcanic ash from the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull has again effected Europe. Thousands are again stranded all over Europe. The countries effected are the UK, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and France. The effects are not nearly as bad as the initial eruption and subsequent week of turmoil, but still is doing some damage. UK flight officials in London have said the problems are minor, but they have seen some delays and cancellations. Ryan Air has again been affected because of its main hub in Ireland. For up to date information on whats happening check out the Guardian link, http://www.guardian.co.uk/. Fly safe everyone.

Published in: on May 8, 2010 at 6:42 pm  Comments (6)  

Mmm Mmm Food

Food can be another big cultural barrier, if you let it be. If you already have your mind-set on what you find appealing and what you find repulsive you might have a hard time moving to another culture. Generally speaking, if you move anywhere in the western world you should be alright with your choices of food. However, even similar cultures have different dishes. Not only restaurants, but going to grocery stores can also be different from what your used to.

The UK is similar to the US, but there still are differences when it comes to food. The US is known for its abundance of fast food wherever you go. You can’t go to far without seeing a number of different fast food places. However, contrary to popular belief, US doesn’t just have burger and pizza places but everything from Mexican to Thai. The variety of food is quite astounding. The grocery stores in the US are  much larger and offer more variety then those in the UK. That is the only real difference between the two, one offers more variety then the other.

The UK, famously known for fish and chips, doesn’t offer much variety in its food choices. Whether you go to the grocery store or looking for a quick bite to eat your choices are limited. Your options usually include a generic burger place like Burger King or McDonald’s, fish and chips, Indian food, or pizza. The variety might not be as large as the US, but the food quality doesn’t suffer. Having tasted fish and chips and Indian food in multiple places, both in the UK and US, the UK has seemingly won every time in a taste test. So keep in mind next time your going out in your new town, somethings are going to be different but that doesn’t mean there going to be worse.

Published in: on May 6, 2010 at 12:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

There She Blows!

Just a quick update on the latest from the volcano in Iceland.

All Flights in and out of Ireland have been suspended for today. Northern Ireland and Scottish airspace is supposed to be reopened at 1:00 PM. This is an ongoing problem that goes back over two and half weeks to the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. After suspending all flights in and out of the UK and Ireland for a week the volcanic activity died down. Experts believe the eruption could continue for months, but they are hoping the worst is over for this volcano. Experts  believe that there is more trouble ahead for other Icelandic volcanoes.

Katla, the bigger sister volcano of  Eyjafjallajökull, is showing some signs of trouble ahead. If Eyjafjallajökull was a terrible for the EU, Katla would be a catastrophe. The fact that it is five times bigger and it has a history of erupting after Eyjafjallajökull. I will continue to update with the latest information. Fly safe!

Published in: on May 4, 2010 at 11:49 am  Comments (4)  

Getting Stuck

Well this is a carry over from my last entry about traveling.

Nothing is worse then having your travel options delayed or canceled because your carefully planned trip can come tumbling down. The worst part is that when you miss one leg of your traveling it usually has a lot worse consequences down the line. Miss a flight and lose your money while losing a night at your hotel or hostel, but perhaps the worst part is that you lose one day of vacation. Not everyone has a lot of free time to travel, so one day can really effect the overall mood and feel of the trip. However, not to worry there are many other options. Unless you are stuck on in island, or trying to get to one, you can usally find trains, buses, and flights to your destination, not to mention renting a car. If you do happen to be surrounded by some water look into getting a ferry or a boat ride over.

That being said sometimes you don’t have any options and you are just stuck. Lets say a volcano erupts and stops all flights for a few days and neither airlines nor governments are really prepared. This does change your entire trip, but the best you can do if you have already looked at all your options is start a new trip. You might as well look at other places, maybe small towns or big cities, that you never originally planned on going to. The most unfortunate consequence of this, however, is that you are undoubtedly going to spend more money and have less of a plan on what to do. But, sometimes not having a plan is the best way to see a new place because it allows you to just wander around and take in the sights. You might find a few hole in the wall places that few people would have stumbled upon normally. Your best bet if you don’t see any help coming your way is to try and enjoy yourself as much as you can and check back with the all transportation stations to see how to get back home.

Published in: on April 26, 2010 at 11:10 pm  Comments (6)  

Travel

One of the best things about moving to a new place is that you can travel to new places that you might never have thought to visit. I am not referring to little trips that are a short metro or car ride away, but rather longer more planned out trips. Where ever you live there are many options to travel to new and exciting places. If you moved to America you can see a number of different things just in the country because it is so big; or if you move to any country in Europe it is extremely easy, and relatively cheap, to travel to any number of countries. If you want to get to your location quick the obvious option is to take an airplane. Airlines can be expensive, but it is the easiest way to get anywhere that is a few hours away. There are a number of budget airlines that can make the trip less expensive, the most famous of these in Europe is Easyjet (http://www.easyjet.com). However, there are a number to choose from. Trains and buses are cheaper and take a lot longer, but if you have the extra time, sometimes trains are the best way to go. They offer comfort and give you a great view of the scenery, not to mention are usually more roomy then normal planes. Buses are by far the cheapest, longest, and most uncomfortable option, but if you need to save some money that is your best bet. Searching online is the quickest and easiest way to find out all your options and usually the city you want to go will recommend options for you.

Being in England there are loads of options on where to go and how to get there. You can see the big cities in the country like London or Manchester by bus,  take a ferry to the Netherlands, train to Paris, or a flight to Italy, All of these options are pretty cheap and all have there ups and downs. The bus, although cheap, takes a very long time and is extremely uncomfortable. You do; however, get to see some nice things along the way and have the opportunity to get off the bus and stretch your legs. Taking a ferry is a great experience, but make sure you are not easily seasick. It does rock a lot and if you don’t really have much experience on the water go with some seasick pills. It’s an overnight trip, but really is a fun way to travel. Taking the train anywhere is another great experience in my opinion. Some of my best trips throughout Europe have been on trains. Trains are offered both just for day trips and some come with cots for overnight trips. They are usually pretty comfortable and give passengers the reassurance that they are on the ground not thousands of feet in the air. However, some can be very pricey, and some just take way to long. Finally, planes are the quickest and easiest way to travel. The upside with planes is you get to your destination fast and you usually don’t have to worry about your luggage. The downside with planes is they can be pricey, you have to go to the airport early, and a lot of people  have a fear of flying. I enjoyed the train, but when I needed to get somewhere planes were the way to go. All of these options leave no excuse why you shouldn’t explore the places around your new home.

Published in: on April 25, 2010 at 1:15 pm  Comments (5)  

Night Life

I know it has been sometime since my last post, but I am back in front of a computer showing what it is like to adjust to a new culture.

Night life means a lot of different things to people. Some people think it means dinner and movie, others think it means going clubbing. Your city will most likely offer some options on what to do at night. First off, you must try have an open mind because you’re in a new culture and need to be open to try new things. That being said, you should head out one night to your city center and take a look around. More often then not, that will most likely give you the best information on what to do. Be careful, and make sure that you never go alone. A small group of people is the safest thing, but even with a small group make sure that you act smart. Once you see what your city has to offer, go have a blast.

In the UK, the cultural thing to do at night is head to the pubs and clubs. Unlike some other cultures, that see drinking as taboo, the UK incorporates drinking into its culture. Whether you are in Scotland drinking whiskey or in England drinking beer and cider, the favorite thing to do at night is head to the pub and relax for a few hours. The younger crowed doesn’t always head to pub, but instead to the more lively clubs. Sunderland offers a variety of clubs from live music to a DJ, but all of them usually offer a good time. Be sure never to drink and drive and as mentioned above take a few friends along with you. The people are usually extremely friendly and it offers another great way to meet a few new people. If you really enjoy the clubs, Newcastle is seen as one of the best hot spots for nightlife in the whole UK. If you don’t have a car the best way to get to Newcastle is to take the metro, but since the metro shuts down at 11 you will most likely need to take a taxi back to Sunderland. The ride isn’t long and if you have a few friends, it isn’t to expensive. Even if you if don’t like to drink the clubs and pubs offer a nice break from day to day life and are a good way to blow of some steam.

Published in: on April 24, 2010 at 11:09 am  Leave a Comment  

Football!!!…(soccer for the Americans)

It’s important that no matter where you go, you learn the culture you’re in. It’s a great way to learn a lot about the people who are around here, and usually allows you to have a lot of fun. Be sure to think before you speak about something you’re not quite  sure about. If you have any questions, the locals will usually be more than happy to answer them for you, but just be careful before making any sweeping statements.  Seeing that I am in England the one activity that brings a majority if people together is football ( or well, soccer for the Americans).

Sunderland fortunately has its own team right here in town. Sunderland might not be the best, or even good when it comes to the overall standings. That doesn’t stop the huge display of support from the locals. When there is a home game at the Stadium of Light, it becomes an event for the whole city. It feels like the city’s population doubles because you see so many people coming out. Just make sure that if you come to Sunderland, don’t come here supporting Newcastle. The Geordies (people from Newcastle) and the Mackems (Sunderland) have a huge rivalry, for any Americans reading this it’s like the Yankees and the Red Sox. That being said, I haven’t seen to any violence between the Mackems and Geordies since I’ve been here. All in all, football brings cities together not just in Sunderland but in the UK all together.

I have a quick question for any readers of this blog. What is another cultural activity that brings cities together like football in Sunderland?

Published in: on March 19, 2010 at 12:15 pm  Comments (8)  

Places to see Around Town.

Once you have a sure footing on how to get around town, now it’s time to go find out what the town has to offer. Seeing how you just moved to a town you should have done a little research to see what the town is like; however, research still will not tell you everything. You should start by going online and going to any search engine and type in your town’s name and see what comes up. You should have a variety of options to choose from after entering this into the search engine. After looking online for a while, try to speak to a neighbour or two to see their opinion on what is nice in your town. Now that you have a decent understanding what your town has to offer, use the transportation that best suits you and you are well on your way to exploring your new town.

I followed this simple outline since I have been in Sunderland and it has work out so far. I did some quick research online, and then spoke to some local residents in my flat. The information I was given by the residents was actually much better then the information I received online. The overall majority said that the Winter Museum and Gardens were the best things to see in Sunderland. The Winter Museum and Gardens are an awarding winning attraction that offer an insight to Sunderland’s past and present. It has a number of different displays all throughout the museum. It has multiple stories and has a beautiful garden located at the end of the museum next to a cafe. Outside the museum there are vast gardens with statues located all throughout the park. There is a big area for children to play in, and if you do not have any children, there are romantic views at the top of a small hill at the end of the park. You can sit on the benches and see right to the ocean. If you ever come to Sunderland make sure you check on the Winter Museum and Gardens.

Check this website out for things to do in Sunderland. http://www.visitsunderland.com/home.asp

Published in: on March 19, 2010 at 11:08 am  Comments (2)