So I should be adjusted now. I have officially ‘lived’ in the North for four months now. But I don’t feel like I live there because I just sleep in Sheffield and then work in Manchester with the rest of my time taken up by travelling in between the two and only seeing what’s outside the train window (not that I’m knocking my view of the snowy Pennines each morning- it really is beautiful) and the usual haggard commuters (who all have funny accents- still). If you were my long suffering boyfriend you would know, I mean really know how much this travelling bothers me. As a reader of my blog you probably still have a pretty good idea!
Boyfriend suggests moving closer to work. That’s me not us. He suggests that it will increase my happiness and well-being (not to mention my bank balance- Northen Rail you rip off you). All I hear is ‘I don’t want to live with you. Move closer and stop moaning about how hard your life is’. Though what is said and what I hear is valid I’m not going to be packing my bags anytime soon. Unlucky boyfriend.
I don’t want to move because then I’ll come home to a different Northern city I don’t know except this time the accent is worse (sorry Manchester but Sheffield’s ‘Northern farmer’ is closer to my Dorset roots than ‘Karl Pilkington in a fit of rage’), cooking for one (as opposed to eating for six) and no familiar face. Maybe I’d make more friends if I was forced to be alone. But what if I didn’t? And that’s not what I moved all this way for.
So I must make the best of ‘home’ (for those few measly hours I’m there- have I mentioned nearly four hours a day commuting!?) but it’s dawned on me that I’ve never really had to make friends. I am not suggesting that I am just that damn loveable- although c’mon I’ve simply realised that I have been ushered through life, through school, uni, parties held by friends of friends, birthdays of various family members, clubs that you’re made to go to with next door’s kids…All the hard work is done for us as children. And as people who never leave home.
Boyfriend has suggested I join a club (I heard: you have no friends, you hold me back, no-one likes you, leave now. And then I cried). It has come to this- to make friends in a new city when you don’t work there or know anyone, you must sign up for something. Several (charming) friends have reacted to this in much the same way as I have sadly realised everyone else will- what are you going to join, what do you even do, and my personal favourite ‘I actually couldn’t name one thing I think you liked enough/ were good enough at to join a club for’. Ta very much. I do like things of course, but these things are shopping, eating out, reading, looking at ASOS over and over, walking (though there are a lot of variables to consider with this one!) and drinking- and these things are either solo activities or require ready made, close friends. Imagine, ‘hey random person in Topshop, would you like to shop with me? After we could look at dresses online together and maybe I could watch you read whilst we drink wine.’ It really would be this creepy.
I’m not being stubborn. I have looked into joining clubs and have browsed ‘Sheffield Social for newbies’- Google it, it really exists! And as lovely as these all look it’s rather hard to find anyone who a) doesn’t look like they may kill me b) I can’t help but see why after living in Sheffield for 18 years they have a need for ‘Sheffield Social for newbies’ c) they are men looking for single females and a ‘good time’ only or d) they are much older than me. It seems finding a newcomer, who is near to my age and won’t mind watching me read is hard to come by. I mean why would a 21 year old have moved 400 miles away from home for a job that is another city, where she doesn’t know anyone? Who would be that stupid and thus in need of friends!?
So for now I’m gonna put the club thing on the back burner (though I am welcoming friend-making/ club-joining solutions, mainly to reassure me that someone has faith in me but also for constructive purposes!) I’ll travel home more, descend upon my various friends dotted around their various locations (yes, despite what this post may tell you, I am relatively normal and do have some chums of my own) and make friendly chit chat with my fellow commuters (that’s a lie- despite spending more time a day with them than my beloved I’ll be avoiding their above the Metro glances and train ticket price rants).
Instead I’m going to invest my sparse time and hard earned cash into learning to drive again. Maybe I’ll make friends with the instructor (assuming this Sheffield man has no Sheffield accent to speak of, wants to be friends with a 21 year old Southern pansy and also enjoys Internet shopping) and I’ll be able to leave the North more often to see the friends I already have. Really, I do.