Few years back, this kid was looking through the window of a restaurant in Al Madina Al Monawarah and wondering: Am I going to make it to Jordan? How does that country look? And how is it to live there? Yes Jordan was the first country I ever lived in besides Saudi. Days went by, years have gone and this same kid is now a grown up man and waiting his flight to go to London then Manchester. The first BS semester I had in Jordan taught me a lot of things and I thought I will not learn more but it turned out to be very wrong. With every single station I pass by I learn new things. After spending 4 and half years in KFUPM, I was given a chance to go to UK for a study abroad program managed and sponsored by KAUST.
Almost time to take off, saying goodbyes to the family, shaking hands and hugging, kissing and before you know it I am in the plane. It was a nice flight, not very tiring. We got to London and a KAUST advisor, Victoria Hayes, was waiting there patiently to show me how to get to Manchester. I took the train which took 3.5 hours to get to Manchester. Oh, on a side note, I had the hugest suitcase you can ever imagine.
Once I got to Manchester Piccadilly station, I took a taxi to where I am supposed to stay for the next 5 months or so. That first step in UK, taking a taxi, was confusing because many people told me to give a tip and some others told me not to. Anyway, I gave the taxi my building number and suddenly we are in the middle of many look-alike buildings. I got off the car, dragged my huge suitcase and waited in the rain for few minutes. Looking here and there, I saw bunch of students (they looked like students) and they opened a door of one of the buildings. I got inside hoping that this is my building (buildings were not numbered). FAILED. I got out, tried to call Victoria and ops, I don’t have a British sim card to call. I sent her a text hoping that she will get it, and in the middle of that desperation moment, a guy shouted my name (later known as the wooden) and welcomed me to the apartment.
It was a nice small room and it has everything a student would need. Please note that up to this moment, I could not observe any of the British traditions or any cultural differences because I was dead tired and just wanted to sleep. I prepared my bed, and ZZZzzzZZ.
It’s a mix of excitement, worry, anxiety, and adventure what I felt after I woke up. I wanted to explore the new city yet worried how to deal with these people. I wanted to go out and keep walking with no guide, but what if I’m short of money. As it’s not the first city I go to by myself, and as I said Jordan taught me how to discover a totally new city, I decided to get dressed and let’s start WALKING.
— to be continued