WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
It was the winter of 2013. Life was as usual. The festivities were setting in and I was planning goals for the next year. And just then, my husband asked if I would want to move to the UK. He was getting an opportunity to work directly with his clients based in Liverpool for a one year term (as opposed to working behind-the-scenes from India).
I had stayed in India most of my life. It meant family, friends memories, and now even a well-defined growth in my career. Just then I had a choice to make – to move to a new country and push the ‘Reset’ button on my life (in many ways) or to stay back where comfort lay. Delhi had always been home, and even though visiting a new country is exciting, leaving home is one of the most difficult choices anyone can make.
The only thought that made me take the plunge was – “Would I regret if I didn’t take up this chance?” And then, before I knew it, I said “Yes” – to exploring new places, meeting new people, experiencing a cultural shift, learning life-skills to live an independent, responsible life; and most importantly, I said ‘Yes’ to giving ‘life’ a chance, accepting all the unpredictabilities it had to offer.
While we happily took a decision to move, it did make me anxious about many things. But when I actually came here, it seemed Liverpool had all my concerns addressed in a pretty intuitive way, just like a friend would.
LIVERPOOL’S FAIR ADVANTAGE
The weather trends of Liverpool scared me. Coming from a warm country where the temperatures often rise to an unbearable 45 degrees in the Summer, and the winters with (positive) single degrees seem unbearable, didn’t know how I would survive in ‘feels-like’ sub-minus temperatures.
I first reached Liverpool on 13th December 2013. The weather was chilly, but the green views and the clear skies made a warm welcome. The festivities in preparation for the New Year seemed like a celebration of our arrival.
Since it was winter, and the weather not permitting us to travel anywhere else, we visited all the touristy places in Liverpool, the docks, the museums, and the gardens and just walking through the city, absorbing the positive vibes. I instantly fell in love with the city and its people, for they were warm, friendly, courteous and patient, even when I was a stranger to them. I was never made to feel like a foreigner.
We could afford to take up a place right next to the City Centre (L3 postcode). This is one of the best decisions we took which made life simple in many ways (you’ll see further in this blog how). Being relatively expensive (compared to the rents in the rest of the city) meant lesser savings, but overall totally worth the investment. This wouldn’t have been possible had we been staying in a bigger, busier city (Sorry London).
LIVERPOOL MAKING IT TO THE TOP OF MY FAVOURITES
I knew how things work in India, the little everyday things – talking to people, moving around the city, getting chores done, things that make one feel in control of one’s life. I found strangers helping me in little ways that made adjusting to the new ways of this country come naturally to me. Most importantly, the city made me feel safe, even on occasions when I walked down alone on deserted streets late at night; something I didn’t experience once even after spending years in my home country.
We had the advantage of staying near the City Centre, where all the action happens. From touristy sites to cultural events, we never missed a thing. With good access to public transport, moving around too became as easy, and I didn’t mind not getting to drive; even walking became as much a pleasure.
Being in the North-West part of England gave us the location advantage to travel to Wales, Ireland, Scotland with lesser travel time. Of course flights and trains are easily accessible so we travelled easily to places in Europe and UK. As an additional bonus, we visited Ireland by a cruise starting from Liverpool’s very own Mersey river.
Back in India, we used to stay with family, so most chores would get taken care of even without us realising they needed doing; not to mention the affordable household help who would help with the manual work of cleaning up, laundry and gardening easily. I worried how I would be able to manage everything all by myself. And even if I did, would I be left with enough time to relax..
Being a stone’s throw distance away from the City Centre, I could manage to do most of my shopping on weekdays as most of the retail stores would be open till much later in the evening. My husband’s office was literally 5 minutes away from home, and mine just across the Mersey river. We travelled lesser than what we did in Delhi, saving us so much time to do things that mattered.
Family, as always, provided big emotional support. Would I be okay staying away from those who mattered most? Colleagues (and their families) became our new extended family. Staying within walking distance (sometimes even the same building) would mean we could plan to cook dinner together on-the-fly, even on weekdays.
Liverpool has the charm of a big city and the convenience of a town. It has access to modern facilities, the people live a relaxed life, a characteristic difficult to find in a rushed big-city life.
AND AFTER ONE YEAR
The one year tenure got over, and we had to go back to Delhi. We always knew we had to head back, but it was difficult to leave Liverpool behind.
A few years passed by and I still couldn’t get over the amazing memories I made in that one year. I’m grateful that we could make it back to Liverpool in 2017, this time hopefully for a little longer. We may need to go back again. But now, Liverpool too is home. It’s difficult to say goodbye to home; and no matter how far you go away, home always has a special place in the heart.
P.S. Here’s some additional advice for someone who is moving to Liverpool, UK. Read that too, if you’re interested.
My favourite reads about Liverpool –
The Lost Tribe of Everton and Scotty Road – an emotional read that takes us back in history. I watched the play too, twice! I burst into tears every time I went through the narration.