The first four days

Sunday, 10 May 2015

I'm here. I've done it. I've packed up all of my belongings into their designated boxes and bags, I've shipped them in my tiny Peugeot 107 and made the four hour motorway madness drive to Manchester. I've even made it Facebook Official - I now live in the north. Or 'oop north' as all my friends and family prefer me to quip.

I'm currently looking for somewhere to call home for the next few little whiles. The south of Manchester is where I'm at and what I know best; ye olde faithful university corridor will hardly let me down. The thought of being on Europe's busiest £1 bus network and just a few minute's walk from the tastiness that is Curry Mile fills me with such joy, not to mention being close to the lovely city centre and being closer still to the people I already know up here. I had a few days of just chilling out after my mental working weeks that led up to my move but now I'm on it like Sonic, zipping e-mails left, right and centre on Spare Room Dot Com, looking for that little space that I can call my own.

Every now and then, that little sock-in-the-guts feeling of 'I'm never going home' hits me. And where even is home at the moment? I'm in a limbo of nothingness: my belongings stacked neatly against the bedroom wall of somebody else's house, my fixed address anything but. I'm a postal nightmare. But home will always be East London - an area of the country that I haven't resided in for the best part of 10 years. That little district that I was so eager to flee from as a young'un, but now I look at with fondness. Many things have changed in East London what with all the recent Olympic development and the momentum that has continued with that, and I guess in a way there's a lot that reminds me of home in Manchester. Maybe that's why I feel so damn comfortable here?

Yesterday, in a bid to clear my mind and my soul and stretch my legs more than my Surrey life ever could (which, if you know the amount of stairs it hosted at work and home, is quite a lot) I joined Phil and the University Of Manchester Hiking Club for a trip out to the Peak District. On this grey and drizzly day, we headed out in our copious amounts of waterproof layers in search of the summit of Win Hill. Our little hike took us from Hope railway station in the midst of the Derbyshire countryside on an undulating path out to the Ladybower Reservoir, via a packed lunch stop surrounded by future Christmas trees. We then dug deep and rediscovered our hardcore to tackle the extreme elevation up to the peak of Win Hill. It was tough but ever so worth it. That moment when you summit and you take a deep breath and suddenly feel so clear and 'with it' with everything, is incomparable to anything else. I will definitely be making regular hikes a part of my summer repertoire. Maybe you should too? Who says it has to be grim oop North anyway? Bring on the summer.

It's hard to know exactly what to say about how I feel on the matter, when it's a fact that hasn't entirely sunken in yet. At the moment, I feel like I'm up for a usual kind of stay. A little holiday, maybe, apart from I've packed all of my belongings (bar the kitchen sink). I thank my lucky stars that it's at least an area of the country I've become quite familiar with since autumn last year; I'm completely without that alien-esque feeling you get when discovering a city for the very first time. Yes, there are many areas of this glorious city that I haven't even begun to come across yet, but I'm certain that I'm going to have a good time finding out. I feel positive and confident, I feel nervously excited for what may come, I feel wonderful and weird and wired. And best of all, I feel like I've already shaken off that shattered feeling that Surrey left me with towards the end. It's like turning to a crisp white blank page in a well-loved and worn-out notebook. I'm ready for a fresh start, my new beginning.

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