Last Saturday I went to this wonderful place with a new friend called Grainger Market. It’s basically a large indoor marketplace with meat, veggies, fruit, coffee shops, flower vendors, sweets shops, clothing stores, etc. It has everything you could possibly want to buy and then some. It’s also been a staple of Newcastle since the 1830s! It really is a site to see. I loved it. The one tricky part about shopping at Grainger Market is that it’s full of locals who are called “Geordies”. The accent has proven to be way more difficult than I anticipated! Luckily people in the Northeast are incredibly kind and forgive me for making them repeat everything multiple times.
As I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying to take in all of the new experiences around me and make sense of them, the accent has tripped me up a few times. The one that has really been tricky for me is getting used to the greeting “Aalreet?” Which is basically someone asking, “Are you alright?” or “How are you?” This is typically used as the greeting in supermarkets and shops where you’re just checking out or having brief contact with someone. It took awhile for me to adjust to responding, “I’m well, and you?” I’m used to “are you alright” being reserved for conversations when someone thinks I’m sad or something is wrong! There have been other new phrases as well. I’ve even had to Google a couple of words I’ve heard thrown around because I just couldn’t make sense of them. Polytunnel = greenhouse. Donkey’s years = a long time. Gobsmacked = confused. Dead posh = fancy. There is a whole new vocabulary of terminology used here that I have never heard before. It’s been both fun, and confusing, to do the work of trying to sort it all out. With some time and exposure, I’m sure the Geordie slang will become second nature and maybe I’ll even be able to talk like a proper northeasterner, but for now, I’m definitely still learning.
I assumed the transition from the US to the UK would be fairly easy. Shops would be familiar and English would be spoken so I wasn’t too nervous about the transition. Now that I’m in the midst of settling in, orientation week is over and I’ve made my flat home, there are still odds and ends that I’m trying not to be frustrated with. The banks in Newcastle were overwhelmed with new students so it took me two weeks to get an appointment to open an account, which means I haven’t been able to get a SIM card for my phone and I wasn’t able to set up final payments for my accommodation. So even though the language is the same and I can still splurge on Starbucks, this transition has not been without significant frustration. However, I guess that’s an important part of the journey and by this time next year I can look back on all of the chaos and laugh at what a doylem* I was.
*Geordie for fool 😉