Give way, it’s Christmas!

Restoring faith in humanity, starting from the traffic.

It is first of advent! 🎄 🎉

That means it’s only 4 weeks ’til Christmas and it is officially time to start celebrating with no guilt or shame! Whoop-whoop!

Before we get to the celebrating part I have something on my mind, haunting me already quite a while now. Something that really bothers me. So, when else to talk about those things but Christmas time when people are (at least seem to be) in a good mood and willing to cooperate.

The other day I was cycling home from work and for the 4th or 5th time almost got hit by a car. Why? How? What? I was cycling on a cyclist lane and wanted to turn right. Before a turn i always check behind me to make sure the way is free. I lifted up my right hand as a sign as well to really make sure everyone behind me can see my turn. 2 years of living in UK has taught me to always check twice. So now with my right hand up I decided to check again behind me if I am free to take the turn right. As I was turning my head and ready to start taking the right turn a car overtook me from the RIGHT side. Yes! People really do that. Although I had my hand up, I was already in the middle of the road ready to turn, a car behind me could not wait 5 seconds and overtook me from the right side, exactly where I was about to turn. If I would have not checked twice he would have deffinitely hit me. Fortunately, this time I was lucky and patient enough to save my ass.

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Then another evening I was cycling on the cycle lane while a bus was trying to overtake me. Which I don’t mind, obviously. What I do mind is cars, buses taking over cyclist right before a crossroad, bus stop or a turn. Why? Because right after overtaking me, they need to push the brakes and stop. I have to now stop right behind them as they  occupy the cyclist lane and most of the road. Even though I can see them stoping I never know if the cars behind me can see that and do not try to suddenly drive into me or overtake us both. So here I am squeezed behind 2 vehicles, I cannot see anything behind the bus to prevent a hit and therefore need to wait behind it. Anyone who spends more than 10-15 minutes in traffic daily knows that no one, and I mean NO ONE, will take that time to wait behind you.

It rains a lot in Manchester. And by a lot I mean  A LOT. Despite the rain I still prefer to cycle to work as it is literally 2x faster than taking a bus. And as you can probably sense from the previous 2 paragraphs I am not really into driving in here either. One night when coming back from work, cycling my ass off in the rain I had to face the humanity failing again. I always rather cycle on the footpath or cycle lane instead of the main road. The drivers here do not care about the cyclist, passengers or other drivers and therefore it is always safer this way. Some claim you can get a fine for cycling on the footpath but I would rather pay the fine that get into an accident. So, there I was cycling in the rain, hoping to get home soon AND safe. On Talbot road there is always huge mud puddles when it’s raining. You would expect a city like Manchester to have a decent drainage system but no. So in order not to get covered by mud COMPLETELY I had to either hop on the footpath or turn on the road. As there are edging everywhere I cannot really hop over it, especially when it’s wet and slippery. So, as always I checked the road before even deciding what to do. There was no one coming for another 300m. So I decided to turn on the main road until the mud puddle ends. As it was a BIG ONE it took a little while to overtake. Now guess what the cars did when reaching behind me. Yeah, they started horning at me. Are you kidding? Are you blind? I am in the damn rain. Do you want me to go swimming with the bike or what? They do not have an extra 10sec to wait until I can turn back on the cycle lane, they need to let you know you are slowing them down for 10sec. Disappointing. Is that really how we see each other? An obstacle? An unconvenience? Even when you sit in your warm, dry car you cannot take that time to be a HUMAN.

I see patients after car accidents every single day. And 9/10 times it is because someone did not pay attention in the traffic. Either talking, texting, calling, changing songs. How many people need to suffer in pain, even get killed for us to take that extra time for each other, give way even if you don’t have to, let someone take a safe turn and not rush them. Those people I described are not just English, just foreigners, someone you don’t know. It is me, it’s you, your neighbour, your uncle and his best friend. It is US. Instead of pointing fingers, let’s just make a change starting with ourselves. Yes, we have rules in the traffic and sometimes slowing someone down can be dangerous as well. But I am not talking about motorways or highways here. I am talking about city traffic. All this  is preventable if everyone pays attention. It is a lot easier and safer to be prepared, be patient, be ready than just follow the rules, your eyes closed, braking at the very last minute, hit someone or make someone loose the control over the vehicle when trying to avoid the impact and situation YOU caused.

I am not trying to put the blame on just drivers. I can see passengers walking around their eyes in the phone, earphones on, rolling around in their own bubble all the time. Crossing the streets without even checking what’s going on, stepping on the road or cycle lanes without paying attention, stoping in the middle of the street without realising they block the whole way. Can we just please either leave those damn earphones home or put the volume on a level that if someone behind you addresses you or tries to get your attention it is POSSIBLE. I cannot even count all those times when as a cyclist I have almost hit a passenger when they think they are the kings and they can just either run across the street with red light, stop in the middle of the road, let their dog on a lead occupy the whole road, keep their nose in the phone while crossing streets or simply do not respond to the bell, your voice or anything. To be honest I don’t understand this earphone trend. Why people need to have them on max volume 24/7. Can we at least be a little bit  interactive when in traffic. Again, it’s only for everyone’s safety.

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And last but not least cyclists. They are not the angels either. Especially on roads with no cycle lanes I can see a lot how they are driving between cars, overtake them from the wrong side, think that traffic lights do not apply to them. Again if the driver cannot see you, the accidents are easy to happen. As a cyclist I always try to keep as close to the left side of the road as possible so all anxious and impatient drivers can pass. But I have seen impatient and anxious cyclists as well. They tend to cycle on the right side of the road so when a car wants to make a right turn and they do not look in the side mirror they cut the way of the cyclist. The only accident I have been here was with another cyclist. I was standing in the middle of the road trying to make a right turn. I held my hand up, as always. I saw a truck taking off 100m from me so I decided to take the turn before him. As I was pushing off and getting ready to turn another cyclist came from nowhere and cut my way. As I didn’t have a high speed I managed to brake but he didn’t. He drove right into me. Fortunately with a low speed as he managed to brake. He flew over his bike right in front of me. Apparently he did not see me standing in the middle of the road and didn’t pay attention when suddenly rushing behind the truck. In that case I took the full blame as by the rules he was in right. Could it have been avoided? 100%. Instead of going full speed between cars with limited view, slow down and be prepared that there might be a passenger, cyclist or another car behind the truck in the blind corner.

I admit I have made mistakes in traffic as well. But as I have been a cyclist, a passenger and a driver, I believe I can understand all 3 parties. I’m calling everyone up, cyclists, passengers and drivers to pay more attention to each other, take time to really see and listen to each other, be humans. We want to get home as soon as possible but most importantly we want to GET HOME SAFE. Let’s give everyone a chance to celebrate Christmas!

Happy first advent!

All about Manchester Christmas Markets- naughty and nice!

Reviews of 3 Christmas Markets in Manchester.

I have managed to visit 3 different Christmas markets this year in Manchester- Northern Greater Makers Market, Manchester Christmas Market and the Vegan Market.

The first of them all was the Northern Greater Makers Market. A small cosy market right by the main road in Deansgate. Main things they sell are crafts (which is amazing). I cannot say how much I enjoy walking around in crafts markets and shops getting inspired by creative people. This market I loved especially because I noticed so many things that were related to recycling, sustainability and nature. All the things I love and care about. You can find incredible gifts, ideas and ways to recycle.

From food side they had homemade cakes with 3 vegan options. I didn’t see anything else vegan, though, besides a street food truck. They also had different local cheeses, sausages and sweets. Unfortunately, from drinks alley they had only hard liquer, mainly gins and vodkas. And I am not fan of either of them. The bottles looked amazing, though! Great as a gift.

All the people in the market where so nice and didn’t mind me gadding about with a camera. They also didn’t mind giving me a little background about the products when asking. Made me feel like a part of a community.

The second market was the big Christmas Market on Albert Square. It has obviously bigger variety of shops and products which is not necessarily a good thing. As soon as you walked in, the smell of sausages was overwhelming. Made me super hungry but might be off-putting for vegetarians, for sure.

It was also busier so walking one way or the other took time as people tend to just stop in the middle of the road and…. I don’t know, enjoy their coffee? So it didn’t feel half as nice as the other one.

Another thing I noticed was that the shops where unorganised and you jumped from cheese to plates and from jewellery to sweets. Was a bit disturbing as I wasn’t really interested in any of the animal products. But it’s not the main issue for sure. But when really looking for something specific, can be confusing.

A super awesome surprise was to see that in every hot drink shop they were giving out mugs instead of plastic cups. How cool is that. You had to pay like 1-3 quid as a deposit, got it back before leaving the market and without all this unnecessary trash! Well done!

So when in the previous market everything was handmade and crafts then in this one I noticed at least 3-4 shops with some stupid Made-in-China crap (no offence). Why? Just why? There are so many awesome local companies and they let people to buy the space in the market to sell crap. Just why? Usually it has nothing even to do with Christmas. Just some cheap crap. That got me mad! Can people just try to not think only about money during this time of the year?!

Another odd thing I noticed was how many French, Dutch, German products were available compared to local, English stuff. Again… why? If I go abroad for Christmas and visit a market there I would expect and hope to buy something local. If I want to buy a German sausage, I will go to Germany. Okay?! Give me some British products, for god’s sake! Fortunately among all this… not so interesting stuff they also had some really nice local stuff- leather and wooden bowls/trays, wooden ties, clay mugs (which where very similar to the ones I got for my birthday!!!!), handmade jewellery, Manchester t-shirts, coasters and signs.

And last but not least Vegan Christmas Market. Unfortunately, that was only 1 weekend in Manchester but I believe there are similar ones on different weekends in other cities. Unlike the pervious 2, this one has an entrance fee of 3 pounds. Now, as I had to pay 3 quid, I went there to come back with some vegan cake. Now, guess what was the one thing I didn’t find.  Yep! Vegan damn cake!

It was in a hotel which means it was soooooooo crowded inside. It was almost impossible to move around free. As soon as you walked in, the crowds led you the way. You could find anything from homemade juice to vegan leather bags but no vegan chocolate cake. There were doughnuts and chcocolate, burgers and candies but no cake. Yeah, I was disappointed. I couldn’t really understand the idea of paying 3 quid to go to a market and buy a burger for another 7 quid that you had to eat there. Does that make sense to you?

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Well as I had already paid the 3 quid I decided to find at least couple of things that were worth the money. And something as close to the cake as possible. I found a body scrub with a smell of a dream, an organic cotton bag for washing the small items in the washing machine, 1 bottle of Jamaican juice and 2 doughnuts. Although everything was quite over priced I still think all the things I decided to buy were worth the price.

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As a regular customer in a health shop I know what vegan cheese costs and therefore also notice when it’s over priced. And man, how pricy everything was! Which again was disappointing as naive Hanna thought she’s going to find some good deals. However… there were some really nice things. Especially if you have the coin to spend! I was trying all the flavours of vegan cheese there was. It was just sooooo amazing. Unfortunately, my company already noticed that Christmas bonus will be 15 quid so I cannot really afford buying 8 quid cheese for 2 sandwiches. They also had some really nice homemade liquer. I am not really the fan of liquer, I am more like a cocktail kinda-girl.

I don’t have many pictures of it as people, for some reason, where not letting me take any. What? Why? I don’t know. Sometimes I simply just don’t get people. But who am I to judge.

There are many other Christmas markets around the town so you can check them out as well. I guess the message to take with is that be aware of the prices and make aware decisions. Know where your products are from and who they are produced. Spending a little more for a good cause is worth it. Especially during Christmas time. Merry Ch…Ch… Chr… yeah, I can’t, it’s still too soon. Merry Sunday! 😉

When in England- funny moments vol 3

Continuing the series of “I was lucky I had a camera with”. More funny pictures from England.

I have put together another post with funny or weird moments from my life abroad. These are all taken in England.

So I guess no need for further introduction. Let’s just start.

 

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  1. This was taken from the White Cliffs in the South of England. You can see a tourist posing for the picture in a nice yellow padded jacket while at the background locals are taking a bath in the ocean. Temperature is contingent.

 

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2. This was from the same weekend. “When the importance of your job is just deceptive”.

 

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3. This one shows how inventive English people are. They manage the “unexpected kid” situation like pros.

 

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4. From the same trip and I guess no other words needed.

 

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5. I was tempted but that was not even in London but Windsor. Brothers, what you reckon?

 

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6. This may seem like an average holiday picture. Well it’s not. It’s taken in the center of Manchester in October before my birthday…. Did they change the date of Christmas Eve?

 

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6. This one I forgot to explain few posts ago. This was taken in Reading when we were trying out the canoe. 3 guys working across the river thought I am working for Vogue so they gave their best poses.

 

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7. Quiet workers in Arundel. Too lifelike? I think so.

 

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8. December in Hazel Grove. Okay maybe I failed with this picture because that’s not even funny. Remember, I am from Estonia. This is literally the most snow I saw all year (2017). Something to think about before moving to another country.

*This year has been a little better already! It’s March and it’s still snowing!

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9. Confused much? This is at my university campus. I have been living in a lie!

 

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10. Pictures are taken 9min apart. Within a half an hour it made the whole circle of 4 seasons at least 3 times. And not just that the snow stopped and sun came out, but the sky was completely clear like nothing ever happened (until 5min later it was a snowstorm again).

Thanks guys for spending time in here! Hope I either got you smiling or thinking hard before moving abroad. Enjoy sun, snow, rain or whatever else is coming down right now!

 

Way of living- how not to f*** up the Earth

5 simple ways how to reduce your everyday waste.

Oeh. I didn’t even want to write a post about this but….. it just makes me so sad thinking of this issue and seeing people not caring and thinking it doesn’t affect them. As a passionate traveller and nature lover I feel that I need to say something. If you want to keep enjoying the views then listen! Here are 5 ways how to reduce your waste.

Living in UK and travelling around Europe has made me completely change the way I am living now. And the situation out of Europe is even worse! I was into healthy eating already back in Estonia but for sure I have made a lot more effort in being environmentally friendly since moving here. I guess when living in an environment where you don’t notice rubbish around you, you don’t even realise how big problem it is globally. They talk about it at school  but it doesn’t hit you until you come out of your little box and see it right in front of you- literal rivers of waste.

I am not even going to stop on recycling as this should be elementary. Drinking coffee every day from disposable cups, packing each of your items in separate bags or throwing a candy wrap on the ground. All this seems like a “little thing” but in reality it has a major impact. So…

Since I remember I have always tried to use as little plastic bags as possible. Seeing all the dirt on the streets and the amount of plastic packaging in supermarkets made me want to make even bigger effort. If you have an option to choose a product without any packaging/plastic then why shouldn’t you. People’s denial thinking that their ways don’t affect the environment is the reason why the ocean is getting polluted, streets are full of dirt and we are running out of clean water to drink. Change nr 1. A simple act as leaving the plastic bags to the store or preferring unpacked products will have a major impact on mentioned problems. I am not trying to play the savior of the Earth here but as we all are living here, shouldn’t we all be responsible as well? The whole year I have been buying fruits and vegetables without plastic packaging. If the shop doesn’t have the product opened I simply don’t buy any. I can survive another day without the carrots or tomatoes and can pick them up from somewhere else later.

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Some organic goodies I bought today.

The 2. change is mostly because of my boyfriend who thinks not only about the environment but also economy. Seeing people buy the tiniest boxes of fruit you can imagine makes me want to scream. How can someone be so arrogant and denial that you think it is a good idea? I have wrote this habit in my previous posts and still cannot believe. We, on the other hand, we have been buying food and products that we use every day in as large packs as possible. Everything like coconut, raisins, oats, nuts, lentils, rice, pasta, potatoes, etc, in stead of buying small packs weekly we buy one big one that lasts for months. Not only is it better for the environment but you don’t have to worry about shopping for weeks. Saving your precious time as well!

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The very first order of food in Manchester. The biggest one is coconut shreds. That batch from October has lasted us until now.

I must say I have given England a hard time about the pollution, even though, it is not all just negative. There are facebook and other social groups where people share, change, give away products they do not use or want. You can find food, drinks, furniture, clothes and footwear, beauty products, almost anything from there. People give away make up and beauty products that do not suit them but are not able to return either, food that they have cooked but are not able to finish by themselves before the due date, clothes and footwear that has been waiting to be worn for way too long.  Another simple way to limit wasting. We have tried it and given a new home to several packs of teas, chocolate drinks, bags of pears, and even 2kg of home made fruit cake. We drink a lot of tea and why not to try something else for a change while helping other people to avoid throwing away fine food. For a 3. change start a new habit in your area!

I remember when living in Estonia by myself, from time to time I had to throw food out. I had forgotten that I had something waiting in the fridge and by the time I remembered it had gone bad. The biggest reason behind it is that people tend to buy the whole fridge full of food. I am still lazy in that sense that I don’t want to cook every day so I prepare food for more than just one day. Yet, I have not had to throw away food at once. How? Change nr 4. One thing is just buying less food at once and planning your meals but another good trick is improvising when cooking. I know some people can cook only based on recipes but try changing the dishes up based on what you already have at home. You have some leftover veges? Cook soup! There is never too many things in vege soup. I bet all you chefs out there are cringing right now but I still do it.

The last thing has made me thinking just lately as I have never been a big online shopper. Of course it is so comfortable and easy to make a click and let someone bring the stuff behind your door but… I don’t even mind it as an act but the way it is organised. No one wants to take responsibility for broken items so everything you order is packed in big boxes full of paper or plastic. Your item in it takes maybe 25% of all the space. I would expect this from ignorant companies but would for sure hope that eco-friendly shops would make an effort in this as well. Last week I found an amazing online shop called https://www.ethicalsuperstore.com/ They have plenty of good organic healthy products. Not just food but household and beauty stuff as well. Within the first few minutes I already found bunch of stuff I wanted to try out as I am on a hunt for replacing or my non-organic and non-cruelty-free household and beauty products. As always before ordering from a new site I read the ordering reviews first. The feedback was shocking! People were crazy about the products but on the first page already at least 2-3 people mentioned excessive plastic packaging that came with ordered product. People who go to those sites are looking for an alternative for what consuming society offers. Do they really think that sending a box of plastic will not bother them? It should bother EVERYONE! So, I didn’t buy anything and here is an idea, a change nr 5. Can companies please start thinking about this?! Until then, please go and shop from stores (as much as possible) because saving your time will cost you a box full of unnecessary plastic.

Does it make sense? I think it does. If I didn’t manage to convince you then check just few clips from here or there. Well, I’m good we had that chat. If you are already on my “boat”, then thank you!

UK- To be or not to be?!

An anniversary post about living in UK. Should you or should you not?

HAPPY 1 YEAR TO ME!

Yes it’s already over a year that I have been living in the Kingdom. A YEAR! Time flies so fast that it is ridiculous. I have been super busy lately and, to be honest, have not felt like writing. Not that I don’t enjoy it any more but I simply have not had time to do much fun stuff to write about. Now I am BACK, though. I decided to dedicate this post to THE UNITED KINGDOM and give you my honest opinion about the stay so far.

I have written bits and bobs here and there in the past but I figured I am missing an overview for people who might really consider living, studying, working here. I actually got this idea already back in October at my school reunion when people asked me about UK and few of them were seriously considering coming here.

First of all, the most important thing- food. In one of my previous posts I wrote about the packaging craziness and processed food obsession they have. By a coincidence I now live near an organic shop and my opinion of local eating habits has slightly changed. Not all the people eat that processed thing they call food. A small grocery shop, UNICORN, is the cutest shop I have ever seen. Yes, you have to pay a penny or 2 extra to eat organic and clean food but let me tell you, the taste is worth it. I have even noticed that it is cheaper to buy diary free things from there than from supermarkets and the shop is constantly  fairly busy, to be honest. Not just it is super simple for vegans and vegetarians to find veg substitutes but you get the best possible quality. I do not consider myself as a vegan but I do eat mostly vegan at home (in UK). Oh you didn’t know? Well this is a long story and I need a separate post for just my eating habits and lifestyle now. All you need to know right now is that there are very good options in big cities like Manchester to eat well. What is more, the amazing shop Unicorn Grocery, has always a box of veges for free. That means people who maybe cannot afford even basic food can take salad material just for free. How amazing is that?! In my opinion all supermarkets should have that option. Not just that there would be less starving and hunger but big chains would throw away less food.

What is next… Oh, transportation. Unlike the opinion about food, this has not changed. If anything, it has gone even worse. I do not drive or use public transportation in Manchester because it is simply too slow and expensive. I have an old bike here and I cycle to work, gym, school, shop, where ever I need to go. Unfortunately, I must admit I have had quite a few accidents here already. The first ones were back in Reading. I already sensed then that drivers don’t really care about cyclists. Right now when working with patients who have experienced traffic accidents it seems like drivers don’t care about other drivers either. There have been few times that I almost got hit and one time that another cyclist did hit me. Touch the wood (ptuiptuiptui), so far all the “accidents” I have been in were without any injuries or damages. But I am super careful now. I have reflectors everywhere on the bike, on me. I have lights on the bike and a high visibility vest on. I do look like I just got off from the kindergarten but at least I am doing everything I can to be safe. Some cyclists prefer those blinding headlights that in my opinion make the accident risk even higher as it is seriously disturbing for the vision and therefore, you cannot pay proper attention on the surroundings. So, traffic is something that I am not very pleased with. Until you are very careful yourself you should be fine, though. If you are thinking of bringing your own vehicle here then DON’T. We learned it the hard way. Basically if you do not re-register it to UK number plate, the car will be taken and you will be given a certain amount of time to do it. Unfortunately, in real life that cannot be done and as you do not have the registration by the due date they will simply scrap it. So, just don’t bring your own. If you need a car and you don’t have any money problems, buy one here. If you need one for short period of time only and you have money problems, rent it. As simple as that.

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Now, the part that probably everyone is wondering about the most. Is the salary and living really better? 2 months ago I started a job in a private practice. As I already had a local experience as a physiotherapist, the interview went smoother- I was confident and less nervous to start a new job. I already knew what they expected and how to manage my time at work. Although, the client base is completely different (from Reading and the Estonian working experience), and I see twice as many patients as for example in Estonia, I feel a lot more appreciated as the salary reflects my hard work.  I am not working full time because of the university, I live in a quite expensive house, buy organic food, travel, and am still able to save enough to pay for my Estonian student loan and current university tuition fee. So, in my field I must say I do get more than in my home country (something for Estonian employers to think about). For other fields, as much as I have heard, it seems similar. It might be a little difficult in the beginning but as soon as you have already a local experience to show on your CV (even if it’s short period) you are going to find a job and good salary faster. Of course, it ain’t La-La Land. You need to plan your time, work hard, and have motivation to manage everything. But it is doable. I must admit I have to give half of the credit to my amazing other half who helps out and supports me on the way. I am not sure if I could manage it all alone.

If you are planning to come for just studying then I do highly recommend that. I just finished the first semester of my studies and couldn’t be prouder of myself. If you are Estonian you might be used to good grades but here they expect as much from you as from locals. That means you need to push yourself twice as hard. Your English on paper and on examinations need to be as good as native speaker’s. But don’t worry about English too much, it will improve tremendously while living here. Based on my own experience and my coursemates’ English level, with the level of B2 there should be no language barriers. The only thing is that some universities ask for C1 at least. As a credit for the University of Salford I must admit they give a lot of support and feedback for foreign (and local) students. You have a personal supervisor and one for each module (at least in physio). Whenever you are in trouble, don’t know what to do, you have plenty of people who care and will help you. Here you go, come and have a degree in foreign language! Not only does it sound great when saying it out loud but it is highly rated by locals (hopefully at home as well) as many of them know just English. Now the money part. I decided to pay my tuition fee by myself because I already have one loan. However, there are student loans available with very reasonable criteria. If I am not wrong there should be even one (around 20 grand) that you don’t have to pay back until you start earning yearly more than around 18 grand (in pounds). Knowing the average salary in Estonia then it might be that you don’t even have to pay it back at all.

The health system here is similar to Estonian. They have an association called NHS that provides the basic help. All students and people that are working have the basic healthcare and do not have to worry about it. When arriving you just need to register yourself in one of the surgeries in your area. Some employers do offer private healthcare as well and in that case you probably can go to dentists and private doctors for free (or for less money) as well.

What else? Weather. In the South I think it was a lot better than I expected. Summer was hot like summer is supposed to be and I even got a tan. Up here it is raining every other day. Seriously. As the temperature doesn’t really drop below 0 right now I don’t think there is a winter in here at all. It is more like a constant autumn. So who is into that you are welcome to come and enjoy. I for sure am not. I miss snow, cold wind to freeze the tip of your nose, and wearing winter boots. I am not sure how bad is it going to be in the summer but what I’ve heard of, it ain’t a dream either. So if you are thinking of travelling for the weather, don’t! Or stay in the South.

Last but not least, people! Locals themselves say that people up in the North (midlands) are more opened and friendly than in the South. As I don’t really remember meeting too many angry or rude people in the South I am not sure what kind of position to take. There are always people that either have a bad day or simply don’t care about the others around. Based on my experience I wouldn’t say it is worse in the South or better in the North. All my colleagues, patients, coursemates, etc have been reasonable and lovely people. Colleague-wise I would probably even say that there is less “competition” and tension in the clinic than back at home. Or at least I don’t sense it as much as when working in Estonia. Everyone is willing to help and teach you. After all, the clinic/business is as good/strong as it’s weakest worker. So in order to keep the good quality you need to invest time and knowledge in new workers and English do understand that. Generally I reckon we all have bad days and I wouldn’t generalise the population based on those few rude ones. I think local people do care (even when you are foreigner) and they take time to explain themselves when you cannot understand the accent (especially the one in Manchester). Even though, the political situation may leave another expression.

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In conclusion, if you don’t mind constant autumn, would like to learn authentic English from natives, and are willing to make an effort to build your success up, I believe England could be the place. But I reckon you should do it before Brexit because you know, no one really knows what happens after!

Before I end this one I wanted to discuss another idea I have. So, far I have been writing about 3 things- travelling, hiking and living in UK. At some point probably I am finishing the UK series as I am running out of things to write about. So, instead of that I was thinking of starting a new part/series that will be about healthy and active lifestyle and my opinion/stories/experience related to that- beauty, exercising, food, shops, products, money etc. I will continue with the hiking and travelling posts of course as well. Let me know what you think!

That is it for now. I have few blog suggestions and ideas waiting already. I appreciate you letting me know what you like to read about and giving me feedback. That is  PERFECT. Keeps me motivated! I hope I will manage to write more often from now on.  But now, crab your Earl Grey, a bisquit, sit back and enjoy Ed!

 

Life in Manchester

My first 7 weeks in MANCHESTER and more.

Hi You all!

Suddenly it’s already my 7th week living in Manchester. I do not understand where the time flies. Btw! No pictures this time. I haven’t had a chance to take any good ones.

For all those who haven’t read my blog for a while, I went back to school. I think I decided already in basic school that one day I want to study in England. Here I am 10 years later doing my M.Sc degree in the University of Salford. Everyone who is interested in hearing more about how I chose the school and how I applied can message me and I can make a separate post about that. There are around 20 people on my course and 16 out of them are foreigners. We have people from Indonesia, Jordan, Greece, Poland, Iran, and as always I am the only Estonian.

We have had the school for 5 weeks now and I realised just now what I got myself into. Although I am studying part-time I am supposed to give them my final project theme already now. I had no idea where to start or what do I even want to write about. As always when I am stressed out I stop doing the assignments and watch series or youtube instead. Then I feel guilty afterwards and it is a one big witchy circle, to be honest. So I decided to loan a computer from my school (so I don’t have to carry my heavy bastard) and really start looking into the articles. That didn’t work out so well but fortunately one of my lecturers was looking for students to join one of her projects.  Thank god!  I am not going to bother you with the details but let’s say I was lucky enough to get involved with a project I am actually interested in. As I cannot really compare the M.Sc study here with anything else, I don’t even know if it is easier or more difficult than in Estonia or anywhere else. I just know that by the end of this year I have to write a 5000 word essay. The good thing, on the other hand, is that I have no other assignments to do. All the part-time students need to take only one module a semester and for my luck we don’t have any home works. In contrast to Estonian university study system, here one module means just one subject. And one subject means just one exam. Isn’t that GREAT?! Unlike back at home where in B.Sc we had around 9 in a semester.

Another amazing thing about the Uni is that they give us tons of support. As I mentioned majority of the course is from abroad. Fortunately the teachers realise that and therefore offer us plenty of options for supporting our studies. We have subject tutors, personal tutors, supporting lectures, workshops, you name it they have it. Before every assessment they even give us an opportunity to give in a draft which they will look through and give a feedback of. This little extra help really does calm us down and keeps us from a nerve breakdown.

Besides school problems, we are currently also on a hunt for a new apartment. We have to move out from our place in 1 week because of the guy who offered us the place is changing the living as well. SO, here we are, with no place to stay. We have been seeing few places but…. haven’t really got that “home” feeling yet or someone has simply got before us. We are hoping to find something for 2 years at least, so it better be a good one. Unfortunately all the places we have seen so far have major cons. One was so dirty that I did not want to touch anything in that building. Dirty floors and kitchen that has never been cleaned do not really make you feel like at home. Fingers crossed that we will find something AND SOON.

Workwise I am still unemployeed. I guess an amazing experience in Reading just spoiled me and I don’t want to do just physio work anymore. I want to find a job that I am excited about and really want to do. I simply will not have energy for school AND shitty job. So far, unfortunately, haven’t heard back from any of them. I guess I have to be patient again and wait for the right one.

Oh yeah, week ago, it was my birthday. I am 25! How?! How did that happen?! I seriously cannot even remember my age anymore. Whenever someone asks, I start from 22 and then realise I already had few more birthdays after that. In the morning of my first day being 25, Tom made me breakfast in bed and we watched Home Alone. I love this movie sooooooo much. Makes me feel all warm and homesick inside. We also went out to play bowling as I haven’t done it for such a long time and therefore insisted. I must be honest, I suck. But it was still fun. Red wine helps you to forget that fact easily. After bowling we had a dinner in an Indian restaurant. I ordered just a starter as I wasn’t too hungry. For 7 pounds I got 3 king prawns and few slices of lettuce. Yes, that was it. Although the portion was really meant as a starter it was so spicy that I felt full after all. My special day ended up falling asleep while trying to watch Home Alone 2. For some reason even Tom was tired enough to fall asleep during the movie. For me it is a usual thing as we watch the movies way too late (in my opinion). But he NEVER does. I guess we both got older that day.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone who messaged and called or simply wrote a warm wish in facebook. It is always nice to see how many people think of you on that day. I guess that is it for now. I am planning to take my camera to the city center as it is SO amazing. I really really like the center of Manchester. SO I am hoping to get few pics for you guys. What else can I say? I am going to have another cup of hot chocolate now and listen some music that keeps me from getting an anxiety. About THAT SONG I guess I don’t have to say much. Obviously not because of the lyrics. The original song rather makes me cry. But because of the memories rushing back with the melody. It always helps me to feel better when I have hard times in life. Find yours and make sure it is to hand!

Chitchat

About life, how to deal with stress, and motivation.

Long time no see. I have been so busy that suddenly it’s been already way too long since my last post. I spent a week in Estonia and I really feel it gave me some new energy and strength. Thank You everyone who found some time to meet up! Although now when writing this, I have managed to got cold, so the energy is not there.

I had an amazing time in Tallinn, reminding myself how crazy one night out with girls can get. I also participated a graduation so cheers to my lil brother, who is prepearing for EC! Let’s all cross our fingers! Before that week at home I hadn’t been out for sooooooo long. Literally, last party I attended was last year. Maybe I am getting old, maybe I am just  in “that stage” of my life. I do feel quilty of not trying harder to find time for those activities I used to enjoy. But I just don’t have the energy for everything. Lately a good sleep sounds better than night out. Yeah, maybe I am just getting old.

I saw one of the most beautiful sunset at home. You can check out few of them from my photoalbum.

What else is new? Mm… We joined a yoga studio. Yes WE. I dragged Tom as well. We both seem to struggle with finding time for ourselves and fixing our broken bodies. My crazy Latvian took me to Bikram yoga few years ago and I absolutely loved it!  Since then I have been looking for a chance to get into it. It is quite expensive and in the town I used to live they did not have it.

I am quite mobile, Tom as well, but my muscles are so tight that you couldn’t even stab a knife in. Stressing about some patients and future does not help either. So 2 weeks ago I signed us both up and we have been going since then 2-3 times a week. Who doesn’t know what Bikram yoga is, then it is a yoga practiced in 42 degrees. It seems like a lot but you really get used to it fast. The heat helps to relax and every warm-loving person like me enjoys every single minute spent there. I truly love it. If the damn thing wouldn’t be that expensive though. We did get a good deal and as a trial month spent on both of us just 70 pounds.

Besides yoga, I have also been trying to start meditating. Now please, anyone who knows or practices him/herself, I would sooo appreciate any tips. I signed up in some online course where they send me bunch of stuff on my e-mail to try/read. SO, bascially so far I have been just trying to switch my mind off from everything and to focuse on my breathing only. Well…. my mind doesn’t want to stop travelling. I find it sooo difficult to not think about anything else. We also tried 12- focus meditation in that yoga place, which at least keeps you  bit busy. I know it is going to take quite a lot of time to learn it, but….. maybe I am starting with too big bites. What do you think?

So you are supposed to breathe deep in and out, and then after every round press your thumb into one number. Starting with 1 and moving up and right.

On this Tuesday I made my very first vegan birthday cake. My handsome got older again, so what kind of birthday is that without cake. Who is following me on instagram already saw that. So I wanted to make quite a traditional Estonian bisquit cake, but I have only done it with sweet cottage cheese in the past. This year as we have limited a bit our consumption, I decided to do it in vegan version. It tasted amazing!

If you’re interested in the recipe, let me know! 😉

What else…. Oh work. Work is great. I just realised I am finishing in 6 week. 6 WEEKS!! I don’t want to go. I appreciate so much what they have taught me and how much better I find myself to be now. I do think I am better physio than half a year ago, but….. as soon as I can even think that thought, I am finding myself in front of a patient I have no idea what to do with. I have learned that I enjoy shoulders knees, ankles. These are the best! I am still struggling with few hips :/ and backs are bad as always. I just don’t like them. I guess I need to push myself more in those fields. We are having some supervision sessions about backs now, so hopefully before leaving to Manchester, I am going to feel more confident in that as well.

Oh when talking about work I have a little story for you. Life aphorisms.

So few weeks ago we had an IST session. It is like a small course inside the company. This time we were all supposed to choose an interesting patient to share with the others. I was thinking that probably non of my patients are interesting for senior physios, cause they have seen everything. SO, I took one of my knee patient who had very rare diagnose. I hadn’t even heard about it before. Apparently non of the seniors either. So I found myself in a situation where I had something to teach them as well. Well that is already a little motivation for all of you to not be scared of more experienced/educated people/coworkers. We have all something to learn from each other.

Wow this could already end here, but no. After the IST we were talking about the new knowledge we got. My colleague went to the only person who did not attend it and told him about my knee patient and how excited everyone was to find about this syndrome. I should mention here that he has a lot of experience and he is really smart and trustworthy when it comes to physio. YET…. he started arguing with us about the name of the syndrome. He was 100% sure that is not spelled like I said it. So I stood there, being quite sure about my knowledge as I had read about it a lot and yet confused and insecure because an experienced colleague claims something else. Did I really read it wrong? NO! I looked it up again and I was right. So here’s the message for all of you young people working on your career: do not let anyone bring you down or make you feel insecure. Even experienced workers make mistakes and you do not have to agree with them 100%!

That is it for today. I am going to write about my Southern England weekend now, so be on hold for that! I already added the picture, you can find them in photography section. But now everyone, get up, stand up!

 

Weird pictures from England

8 moments in England when I felt glad to have a camera with.

I thought that this week would be fun to just go through some of the pictures I have taken on my trips. These are not the exact “tourist” pics or beautiful landscape pics, but rather funny moments caught when walking around in England.

In this post I will show you the pictures taken in England only. So these are the newest ones. I will make a part II with pictures from other places, as well.

*By the Way the featuring picture is taken from Estonia. This curious sheep is my dear friend’s.

  1. Everyone knows those red boxes. What they probably didn’t know is that locals have found new ways how to use them as (let’s be honest) noone uses them as a phone anymore.

Even the red British phones are smart nowadays.

2. This one is taken from Cornwall. I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I find British people to be quite wasters. No picture, no proof? Here you go!

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It is middle of the day, sun is shining but street lights are on…. Only in England.

3. This one I took when hiking in South of Wales. I think it is quite clever considering it is a house on the coast.

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So this wrecking ball is meant as a swing. Yeah not that safe but looks cool.

4. Those guys I caught when visiting London in the beginning of May. They were making this really weird noise and it was so funny.

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In the park there was a black swan who was trying to start a fight with them, so those two just kept screaming and running around.

5. This one is also taken from London. Apparently there are not too many original names to choose from.

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Small Chinatown, but big enough to fit Royal and Golden right next to each other.

6. This one I took from Cornwall. The very first trip around England. So this is supposed to be…. welcoming.

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Friendly indeed.

7. In Cornwall, waiting for the waves…. that never came.

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This guy was sitting in the water with the board for over half an h. The problem was, that there were no waves, no wind. We left him there to wait.

8. And last but not least those sheep. There are sheep everywhere. All the hiking tracks go through their “gardens” and sometimes you can find them enjoying their meal right next to the road.

 

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Funny little fellas.

So these were the 8 moments in England when I was lucky I had my camera with. More pictures coming soon, I promise. Next time I will probably show you the rest of Europe’s highlights.

All those new memories make you think about the old ones. Lately I have been thinking about different stages and times of my life, people I have met, and people I have shared a living with (there are quite many of them, btw). Always puts a smile on my face. This song reminds me good old times and fun people. Enjoy!

Life as it is

Week 19- cooking, private gym, zumba with elderly, Estonians in Reading, BREXIT.

I thought this week I am simply going to write about what I have been up to (besides working and visiting London). It is already 18 weeks in the Kingdom…. seems like 4, though. I have few things to tell you! It is going to be one messy post.

So much has happened, but all those things seem quite minor. I have been working out more than before, cooking (as always), reading (profession related literature) etc. I really want to buy a blender so I could start doing smoothies. Right now during the whole day when I am out of home, one meal is so not enough. But my bag is too small to squeeze in more than one big meal. As I don’t have a blender yet, I decided I am going to make my own protein bars- takes little space and is very filling. I don’t really enjoy the taste of the ones they are selling in shops anyway, so I went online, bought some vegan protein (as I was looking for something as natural as possible) and looked up some recipies. If my protein bars wouldn’t contain cocoa, they wouldn’t be mine.

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And they do taste like heaven!

So, as I promised in one post, I joined a gym. I found a quite small one near my work, so I thought that would be perfect. I want to do my workout right after work/ before work because otherwise I am too lazy to get my ass up. As it is quite small, I guess those serious bodybuilders and gym-fanatics don’t like it. That leaves more space for me! Can you imagine going to the gym in a big city and being the only one in there? Yeah, I basically have a private gym, that I share with one or two people from time to time. So i do my gym program 4 times a week. I decided this time not to go every day, as I have learned that I tend to do my exercises for 4 weeks and then I am bored and need some changes. So instead going every day happily for 4 weeks and then quit, I decided to do it just  4 times and keep myself interested and motivated for a longer period. So far so good. I am literally waiting to go to the gym. When i was living in Estonia, I paid 55euros for the membership. 50damn5 euros! It was not just the gym, but neither is here. I have an empty gym for 28 euros in UK. Oh boy!

I know, one is simply not going to the gym, if not taking pics of it. When I get in better shape we can discuss it again. I have always thought that the gyms are all the same, no matter in what country/city you are in. But that is not true. I have never had problems in changing rooms in Estonia, but here I had to write my first complaint letter ever. What is the problem? Nothing much, just dads walking in with kids while you are changing, moms having picnics with 3 kids and 5 other cousins in a small changing room, and in order to get to the showers you need to sail through the sea of broken bisquits/garbage they left behind from the picnic. Yesterday I simply escaped from that madness.

To be honest, at the first place I even planned to go just 3 times and 1 of the days join a zumba class. I like dancing, I love Latin music, and I enjoy zumba. SO, last week i had my first class. I didn’t really spend too much time on reading the summary, I just saw ZUMBA and they had me. When waiting for the class, I met few elderly people behind the door. I must admit I was a bit surprised, as I had never seen 70+ ladies in zumba before, but why not. The time went by and people gathered behind the door….. and all of them at the age of III youth. Okay, now it was time to panic a bit. Is it an elderly class or I am very rude to think that?! I decided not to back down and just went in with the ladies (who all could be my grandmas). Just to see, what’s up. The second the trainer saw me, she ran towards me and asked „You know it’s not an usual zumba, right?!”. Well…. yeah, I kind of figured that out. So apparently it is a ZUMBA GOLD, which is meant for beginners and 50+ people. 50+ is actually far from old, but this audience for sure was elderly. Oh boy, what I got myself into. So I still stayed for that one session and gave my best to get the sweat out. It wasn’t too bad, surprisingly, but for sure….. something else from what I was expecting. Something to cross off my list- „zumba with elderly”. It was still funny to see grandmas shaking their asses and trying to follow the routine (read: make their own out of it). SO cute! Long story short, I am still stuck with 4 times in the gym.

Another funny thing happened one day at work. I was packing my things to go home, when my colleague came and asked me to come for a second. He wanted to introduce me to his patient…. who apparently is from Estonia. Can you imagine, there is another Estonian in Reading and in my clinic. I couldn’t believe I can just speak Estonian at work. How awesome is that?!  And the same day earlier I had just been thinking if they would give Estonian patients to me or not… assuming there are not any anyway. I am so glad I met her and her husband, such lovely people. And what is more, ANOTHER ESTONIAN, right here! I already visited them at their beautiful home, so we are keeping a contact. Now I have friends in here as well! Things are getting better and better!

Most of my patients don’t even know where Estonia is. They do catch my unusual accent, but they rather think I am from Scandinavia or Croatia (not sure where that idea is from).  Despite one, who has friends in Estonia, so he has visited it quite many times. He even knew some Estonian words. Like „sandaalid” and „mulle meeldivad apelsinid”.  Hilarious! I taught him a word “valus”. Which in therapies is quite useful. And most of them do say I have very good English, so GO ESTONIAN EDUCATION!

Few weeks ago we were biking around Reading, looking for a place to put our kayak in the water. Oh yeah, by the way, someone just gave us his kayak… for free. So now we have a kayak and we are trying it out. Well mostly Tom, as I prefer taking pictures and I cannot afford dropping my camera in the water. We found some really nice lakes near by and a river full of boathouses. For me it was unusual, but apparently it is a thing here.

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And I must say it was quite funny watching him trying to go straight forward! Because he wasn’t.

And last, but not least BREXIT. I have been asked quite many times if I feel threatened by it or if it influenced my decision coming here in any way. Well I for sure do not feel threatened, and nor did before. I have done everything right and I wanna believe that nothing is going to really change for people who are already here. Of course it influenced the decision. It simply gave me a push to do it sooner. Many non-British actually think UK is already out of EU… yeah, they are not, okay, relax! It doesn’t go like that. Surprisingly a lot of people, when hearing my story, are quite impressed and admire what I am doing. I must say it gives me a lot of courage and power to keep going. It was a tough start coming in here, but I believe it is going to be all worth it when I leave this country with a MSc in my pocket.

That’s it for now. I have had a little thing for Latin music as far as I know. Maybe that’s why the highest places on my bucket list (what concerns travelling) are in Latin America. Here is something to make you want to dance and maybe cross off something from YOUR list!

A day as a Brit

A little review about British habits that seem odd for me.

So now when I have been living in UK exactly 2 months already, I think I can talk a little about the weird or unusual habits I have noticed the local people have. The post will have part II and maybe III as well, but when I have observed them a little longer and get to know a little better.

SO, this post is going to be about the habits I find different that I am used to, and what I have noticed when walking around on the streets or in the shops.

As I mentioned in one other post, I have a thing with plastic bags. I think people use them way more than needed. Why do you need to take an extra bag for 2 apples or 3 bananas? It is just over consuming and wasting. In UK it is in another level, though.

 Firstly, everything packed is a bit cheaper than opened. WHY? I don’t understand. Packing costs, why is it cheaper than opened products. I get that they want people to buy more, but….. this is stupid. I am not sure how is it in Estonia  because there I always buy the opened products. Another thing is that not just most of the stuff is packed, but it is also already cut. Yes, you heard it right, cut. So instead of buying an apple (without a bag) people buy  tiny plastic bags with apple slices in it. WHAT? You cannot be that lazy, can you?! And a lot of people do it, believe it or not. And they never buy just one bag but like 4-5. The same goes with meat. Everything is packed and even separated for you. For example if a British guy wants to make meatballs for dinner, he’s not going to buy a box of minced meat, but a box of minced meat where the meat is already divided into small amounts (like meatballs). Just…. I don’t have words. This is a new level of laziness. Of course, not all the people do it, but I have noticed it in the shop often enough to mention it. I didn’t find any statistics to prove it, though. So, it might be that the overall consuming is not that much more than in other countries, and just seems to me.

The good thing is that they do recycle. The rubbish is collected every Wednesday (in our case) and you just need to put separately wastes that can be recycled and wastes that cannot. The overall plastic bag usage has dropped tremendously as well, as they put a 5p fee for it few years ago. But this is only about the bags you can ask from the till, so most of the people have big textile shopping bags with them (which is great).

If you haven’t visited UK before, then another interesting thing is, how the streets are built up in here. Well, that mostly applies to the suburban areas, but still. There are a lot of street closes. The streets doesn’t run like, oh I will go some other way today maybe turn right from the next crossroad… No. Most of the streets have dead ends, so you get stuck easily. Good thing is that you can use some small footpaths between the houses when walking, but with a car you are a bit in trouble.

Another very positive thing is, that “early birds” stick together. Whenever you go out on the streets around 6-7 when there are not many people moving around, the ones who are exercising/walking the dog or are up for some other reason at that time, always, and I must say ALWAYS, treat you with a big smile and “Good Morning!”. That little gesture almost makes you want to wake up sooner.

For now last but not least, “Cheers”. This is a word they use A LOT. Not when you are drinking a beer with someone (like I am used to), but whenever they want to thank you/show appreciation. “Cheers, mate!” You can hear it all the time and everywhere. When working at the stadium I thought, oh they want to cheer me, cause I sold them a beer, but they use it for everything else as well. For example on the street/shop it is as normal as in the bar. “Cheers” for giving me the road on the streets, “cheers” for holding the door for me, “cheers” for everything. That’s nice, huh!

So that’s it for now, here’s some English accent and melody for you to enjoy ! CHEERS!