“Birmingham is like Guiness…people say they don’t like it and have never tried it!”
In September of last year I packed up my belongings, realised I really do own too many clothes, attempted what was essentially a game of tetris to fit it into a car and set off from Oxford to Birmingham, my home for the next three years as I get my degree.
And,I got asked the other day in a meeting if I was liking living here. I replied quite earnestly that I was loving it. They then queried how I found the city itself, again I replied that I love it. My questioner screwed up his face and replied with confusion “I never understand it when people say that’, he went on to say how he’s lived here all his life… as if maybe this shed some light on his reaction.
Before moving to university I lived in Oxford, and still do during the holidays when I return home. I live in a town slightly outside the city, but despite living there for all of my almost 20 years I still love it. Yes I was excited for a change. Yes I was desperate to move somewhere new. But I still love home.
Oxford the city of spires, with its colleges and parks may be home, its cobbled streets totally familiar but I still appreciate walking through the city, and finding bits I’ve still yet to explore. Picnics in Christ church park, punting in the summer down the river, and drinks at the head of the river pub…its all the norm…all very “Oxford”…but I love it just the same.
However now, I have two homes.
When I moved to Birmingham, I queried to a friend about when she thought it would feel like home to us. When we’d stop feeling like temporary inhabitants, or tourists in this new city. I began to wonder if I would only see Birmingham as home when I knew it as well as I know the cobbled streets of Oxford.
But somehow in-between the essays, nights out, study sessions and study breaks, I’ve realised I do see this place as home.
I may not know the bus schedule, or my way around the bullring quite yet, I may spend the majority of my time in halls or on campus, yet to explore wide sections of the city. But it most definitely feels like home, and I’m pleased to call it so for the next 3 or so years.
And as someone whose sees themselves as a local citizen now, I think Birmingham gets a bad rep.
Fun fact we have more canals than Venice. True those may be filled with more syringes and paraphernalia than those of Italy’s infamous city.
I have actually created a “Brum bucket list” looking up the most recommended things to do and spots to visit across the city, including a few more ‘off the beaten path’ places. Hopefully I can detail a few of them on this blog.
The city itself has undergone and continues to forgo huge developments and transformations. And true there may be questionable areas, and some not so pretty parts. But for the most Birmingham architecture, City Center and outlying boroughs have pleasantly surprised me.
All in all I don’t think Birmingham deserves the connotations the name conjures up, or peoples misjudged stereotypes. I am just as excited to be living here as I was before I began Uni. And happy that I have another 3 years to continue exploring this city I now call home.