Testing the UK: 1 Month in Bristol

October 29, 2018

A few days ago I said to Nico, “do you realise that I don’t have any friends here?”. I’m kind of feeling lonely.

That is only partially true. The term I-don’t-have-any-friends means I don’t have my own friends. Of course there are Nico’s brothers, Nico’s friends, occasionally Nico friend’s girlfriend, and also Nico family’s friends or extended family, but you know what, I guess it is just different.

“Yes, I had realised that” he said. He then suggested I join a sport membership sort of thing. You pay this amount of money and you can do, let’s say, yoga, gym and general sporty stuff anywhere in the city as long they are affiliated with this membership program. Sounds like a great plan to make friends.

On the flip side… I don’t actually feel that lonely and I guess I don’t really mind to not having my own friends here (at least for now… during the testing time). I am enjoying being alone, staying at the flat, doing some writings, going to the coffee shop and having a nice flat white or piccolo (plus a cake sometimes), drawing, cooking (once in a blue moon), reading a book, watering the house plants, staring at the house plants… The list is basically endless.

I made a joke that I should probably just go outside the flat and tap a random people passing by on the shoulder and ask them “do you want to be my friend?”. He laughed at me.

When I asked why, he told me he could imagine me doing that. He knows that I’m a bit silly. But seriously, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to embarrassed myself that much!

At the moment I haven’t taken any action on trying to make friends. I’m thinking about joining a dance class, or do the climbing session. Or maybe some other things (I don’t know what to do! Give me ideas!). We will see later…

Okay I guess that is enough about friends and loneliness. I want to write down this life update so that it can remind me in the future about this journey. I’ve been to the UK several times, but this is the first time that I’ve come to the UK for a long period (to see if I want to stay here or not). Does that make sense?

When I say here, this means Bristol, because Nico is currently working in Bristol. It has been a month (oh actually 5 weeks) that I’ve been in Bristol and I would like to write down some of the small achievements and randomness of me. Maybe it can be useful for you (or maybe not which is ok too).

1. I have my favourite Asian store in Bristol

It is Oriental Market (13 Gloucester Rd), a small grocery shop, but they are quite good. You can find a lot of things here and it is close to the flat. I can just easily walk there.

Let me tell you a story. When I see Asians’ overseas (or in Bristol for this case) I don’t normally feel like saying: “Yooo guys! We are friends! We are one tribe”, but when I see Asians in an Asian supermarket/store I feel like I want to say that. They, especially the women, investigate slowly through the noodles section.

They will eventually made decision. Maybe walk back to the noodles section and put back the noodle on the shelf that they have spent 5 minutes contemplating whether buy or not. Then changing them with another pack of noodle because it is more spicy! Or they end up not buying any noodles (don’t eat too many noodles, it is not good for you, my mom often told me that). Fake decision.

The customers will then look through the oil section debating if they should get this one or that one, and if it is that one then what size should it be. Then move onto the snack section where they will spend some time there too (and the noodle scenario happens again). I feel like, oh they are so like me! We are one tribe!

2. Need to improve my coffee shops game to the next level

There is something about spreading chocolate powder on top of a cappuccino or chocolate milk/sauce that English people love. I don’t particularly want that. Some coffee shops will ask you whether you want the chocolate or not. Some others just by default add chocolate powder.

I haven’t given a huge effort in trying to find the best coffee places in Bristol, but I tend to read reviews on Google Maps. So from quite a few of failed attempts, I have 3 favourite coffee shops in town which are within walking distance from the flat. They are: Small Street Espresso, and Playground Coffee House.

I usually go for their Piccolo or Flat White or sometimes Cappuccino. Coffee in Bristol is around 2-3.5 GBP btw (IDR 40,000-65,000).

3. Cooking is not that hard

I don’t really enjoy cooking to be honest. I don’t know why but I think it is a difficult thing to do (just my excuse). However I’m a chopping master. This means I love to chop the ingredients (this is actually just a way to make myself not feel too guilty for never doing the cooking part).

Anyway, I just found out that cooking is not that difficult (really Firsta??). Let me rephrase that.. Before I thought cooking would be a difficult and complicated process. Without actually knowing what to do exactly. Like what kind of instruction is “Put in as much oil as you like/desire”. What do you mean as l like??! Tell me how much pleaseee…

But reading and knowing that if you follow the cooking instruction you will do just fine, I feel like I found an oasis. Nico said the beef rendang was tasty, as well the noodle with veggies and soy paste, and the stir fry cabbage.

I don’t do any complicated things and it turns out everything was perfect. Ok, I know that there is food that is more difficult to make, but I’ll stick to simple dishes for now. I half think that Nico is just saying nice thing so I will cook more in the future. He’s probably not though. Maybe.

4. I can’t run in the cold weather*

I have shared this to some of my best friends. I like to run, not long distance though. I did a half marathon a long time ago and I think I’m designed for running max 10K. I would love to run everyday (Monday-Friday) or at least 3 times a week.

The first 3 runs I had, I think I ran for around 3 KM each. After the run, I came back to the flat, 2-3 minutes later I will have a red rash; itchy back, legs, tummy and feel really annoyed. I decided not to run anymore since what’s the point if I ended up itchy and annoyed for the next 2-3 hours?

So do you mean you can’t run then? I’ll explain. The reason why I put * in “I can run in the cold weather” is I can do it as long as I have a warm shower straight after running. My friend suggested that and it works miraculously (well maybe not, there must be a scientific reason behind it). So yes, I can run! The only obstacle now is to maintain the desire to run everyday.

5. The copper coins are useless

Yups. I always fail to understand coins for no particular reason. It is just easier holding out a handful of coins and let the cashier help me to figure them out. But no I can’t do that anymore, I said to myself; I have to learn about these coins and be an expert.

The lesson that I have learned beside that I know what the one pound and two pound coins look like (I can spot them quickly now! ha!), is that the copper coins are basically useless. However, they are useful for charity boxes.

6. 10 pounds/month for phone credit is enough

I’m using O2 and I load the Big Bundle package (costs 10 GBP). It gives me 5000 texts (I think I should probably try to find friends by sending random text messages while I have this), 500 minutes and 2GB data per month. I always have Safari, Spotify, Google Maps, Mail, Skype, Settings, WordPress, Evernote, Translate, Health, Clock, Calendar, Phone, and Duolingo cellular data on. The rest of the apps are off and only active when I am connected to WiFi.

Okay I confess. I usually turn on the cellular data for Instagram and Twitter when I feel like I want to post something. 10 GBP is IDR 195,000 so it is actually same with my phone monthly expense in Indonesia.

That is all for now. Until next time 🙂

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