- The Markets
I love that I can go downtown and get fresh fruits and vegetables at half the price and better quality than at most stores. There are lots of markets in City Centre: meat market, fruit/veggie market, rag market, Chinese market, you name it! Clothing, food, electronics, and household items, are all in abundance at the markets. I love the bustle of the markets, they really have a feel to them that you don’t get anywhere else. I enjoy the diversity among the people who go there. It’s nice to get away from name brands and overpriced shops in the bullring. I like the idea of buying fresh items that aren’t waxy and perfect to look at, real food without all the extras. I also like supporting local merchants rather than just Sainsbury’s and Tesco all the time. I love that I can say, “I only have 50p on me, will you take that?” or “Will you give me 3 for a quid instead of 2?” (This works best when they are about to close down for the night and they are all competing to get rid of whatever they can before it gets dark.) It’s always more interesting and less expensive to stop by the markets; definitely a far cry from a trip to Waconia Target (the Tesco of the US).
2. Urban Coffee
This is (unfortunately!) a relatively new discovery. James took me a month or so ago. It is just a local, independent coffee shop in City Centre. Last week, in prepping for an exam, I spent on average 4 hours a day there. (Haven’t been kicked out yet!) I find it difficult to study at home, but usually can’t be bothered to go into the Uni. Urban coffee dramatically increases my productivity. There are lots of reasons to love Urban Coffee:
- There is an upstairs- so if you want to hide in a corner studying for 4 hours at a time; you can do so reasonably unnoticed.
- It is locally owned and run- generally a plus
- Atmosphere- it has a very nice, chill atmosphere. With all the people you expect to be hanging out at a coffee shop. There is always some bizarre creative type or overly intellectual conversation to listen in on.
- Live music Fridays and games on Sunday afternoons.
- GIANT BEAN BAG CHAIRS! FTW. (This mean “for the win” for you old people :))
I could get lost in this bookstore. There are actually 2 (that I know of) in City Centre. They both have 4 stories! I could (and do) spend hours wandering around the plethora of books. I especially like the one on New Street, as it’s in a beautiful old building with interesting staircases wrapping down into the middle of the store. The other has its perks though, such as a coffee shop inside the store and a few nice little reading areas.
I enjoy the diversity of Birmingham. There are high proportions of Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Asian, Chinese, and Caribbean persons. There are also some crazy Irish thrown in there (every Irish person I have met has been a little crazy- at some point I may meet a normal one, but until then I will assume they are all a little crazy). I often hear European languages, Irish “English” (I’m classifying this as a language, because I can’t understand it), Mandarin, Asian languages, Patois, and other languages I can’t even put my finger on. I know it’s probably not that unusual for most people, but it is quite a change from 98% White-American St Boni!
Not much to say here. Just that Brummies make me laugh. I still don’t understand some of my Brummie friends. I ask people to spell words out fairly regularly. I found this tidbit on always trust-worthy Wikipedia, “A study was conducted in 2008 where people were asked to grade the intelligence of a person based on their accent and the Brummie accent was ranked as the least intelligent accent. It even scored lower than being silent.” Ouch. So basically, it’s like being from the South in the US. Y’all is better off not speakin’ et all.
Hope you’re convinced, see you all soon!
Shout out to Carissa who gave me the idea for this post. I expect to see you here someday…