Early Saturday we left to the Shannon airport to catch a quick flight to Manchester. From there I said goodbye to Mr. Fitness and his family as they went on to catch their flights to Amsterdam and then home. I stayed and had breakfast with Ben and Carol, my adopted parents before setting out on my own adventure in Manchester. My flight wouldn’t be leaving until noon the next day so I had a full day to explore on my own. No big deal, right?
I got a shuttle to my hotel, checked in and found out where to go to find some shops or something. The girls at the front desk told me to take the shuttle back to the airport and take the train to Picadilly Station which goes right down to city center, so I did. Standing in line to get my train ticket, a young guy behind me asks if he’s in the right place to get to Picadilly, like I’m the right person to ask, I’m thinking the same thing! I asked where he was from because he surely wasn’t English. Turns out he grew up in Red Deer and now lives in Vancouver and we had multiple friends in common! What a small world! We rode the train together and wandered around taking in the sights and looking for somewhere with wifi so we could connect with family. Once we managed to send out a few emails he decided he wanted to find a place to stay and have a shower so we made plans to meet up in a few hours. I wandered around the mall we were at for awhile but started feeling really anxious about being in a strange place on my own. My new friend didn’t show up on time when we were suppose to meet which made me panic even more. He emailed and said he was running a little behind, wanted to have a nap but was willing to meet up in a few more hours. I didn’t have a plan of attack, wasn’t sure where to go or what to do with myself all alone in this weird city in a new country so far away from everything I was used to. I sat outside the Apple store emailing my mom trying not to have a complete meltdown. She was on the internet at home looking up things to see that were near by. I was so close to just walking back to the train and going to the hotel but set out on a trek to see some sights.
I saw the Manchester Cathedral, Town Hall, the library and China town before realizing I was quite hungry and near Derek’s hotel. I met up with him again and we set out to find a pub for some dinner and a drink. I enjoyed a plate of Bangers and Mash (sausage and mashed potatoes, so delish) and a Guinness which wasn’t as good as in Ireland but I still managed to drink it. We headed back to Derek’s hotel so he could grab a sweater and had a drink there. By this time I was quite exhausted from my stress session earlier in the day and wandering around all day long. We said our goodbyes and I settled into my tiny hotel room all by myself.
It was definitely an experience for me. I didn’t think that it would be so bad exploring on my own but I was definitely feeling scared and alone and out of my element. It was a challenge but I worked through it and ended up having a pretty good day.
The next morning was the long flight back to Calgary where I could finally see my family and my own apartment. It felt so good to be back in my own bed again, even if I missed having Mr. Fitness there. It’s now time to unpack, do some laundry, and get back into routine. I only have two short weeks before I’m hopping on another bird to Mexico for my best friend’s wedding!