Red bricks, horse stables and children’s heaven on earth

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Traveling by train is my second best choice of public transport. My first one is the tram, but that’s another story. Two days ago, I took an early train from cloudy Edinburgh and in 86 minutes, I magically landed in England. Sunny Newcastle upon Tyne, to be exact. I had pinned on GoogleMaps several places I didn’t want to miss, but I also left some room for improvisation.


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20th of January, 2020

Today it’s meant to be the most depressing day of the year but I’m over the moon! Christmas is over and the calm has been restored. Dave (sorry, Santa Claus) was a total sweetheart and gave me a pair of wonderful handmade woollen socks which happened to fit me perfectly (I’ll save them for the summer though: now it’s far too hot to wear them anyway). He said he knitted them himself. I know it was his grandma.

I would have never thought I could eat so much food in such a reduced timeframe. So yes, I am a bit chubbier than usual but still looking cool. I signed up at the gym and started trying things out. I did a bit of running in a thing very similar to a conveyor belt of a supermarket. After 678 seconds, the evil machine started beeping like crazy. I should have seen this coming. A friendly gentleman quickly approached me to check if I was feeling dizzy. “I haven’t been better!” — I assured him, with a big smile. …


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28th of May, 2019

Today, at 9.07 am the doctor told me I was an alien. An alien? What was that supposed to mean? “You might have noticed you have 3 eyes”. Well, of course. There have always been there. What was the problem with that? “Well, you see… normal people usually have only 2”. Normal people? Usually? Too much for today. I’ll go to sleep and pretend all this never happened.

1st of June, 2019

I can’t read the numbers on the whiteboard but apparently, no one cares. This morning, the optometrist told me that unfortunately, they don’t provide glasses for 3 eyes. “There has never been a need to manufacture 3-eyed glasses in the current market” — he remarked. My migraine is killing me so I wasn’t ready to give up yet: “Is there any alternative? Contact lenses maybe?” …


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As a language and phonetics nerd, I am really curious to observe how people talk, how they pronounce certain words and what sort of language they use. My brain also has fun making mental associations between people who speak in a similar way. Sometimes I’d love for them to meet up!

I’ve been living in the UK for four years now and would like to share with you one of the many pronunciation struggles I’ve had as a non-native English speaker.

Sangwich vs Sandwich

I’ve pronounced the word “sandwich” wrong ever since I can remember. I only realised it last year, when a friend mentioned it to me. I was embarrassed and fascinated. Since it’s quite a subtle mistake, I have successfully managed to hide it for many years. Like a language ninja. But now that I know I am mispronouncing the word, I try to pay extra attention while talking about those two slices of bread with some cheese in between. …


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I’ve been living away from home for almost four years. To be precise, I live 1,897 km away from my hometown (Sabadell, Spain). It would take me at least 358 hours if I attempted to walk there. If I cycled, “only” 108 hours.

It’s funny how when you have lived living abroad for a while, the term ‘home’ gets a whole new meaning. As now Edinburgh is also my home, I usually refer to my hometown as ‘home home’, for some reason. I also use the term ‘back home’, but this often creates misunderstandings.

There are certainly a lot of things that I miss from Sabadell, but today I would like to think about what makes me feel at home here in Edinburgh. Casually running into people I know in the street is one of them. …


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The first day of wearing contact lenses is big, exciting and scary at the same time. No one is ready for that, to be honest. You assemble a mirror, tie your hair up in a ponytail and wear your most comfortable clothes to allow freedom of movement. You do some arm stretches, followed by some wrist and finger stretches and tapping exercises. Fine motor skills need to be at their best today.

You take a deep breath.

The contact lenses are happily floating in their solution. Yes, it feels kind of cruel. You will take them outside of their natural habitat and place them in some strange and uncharted territory (aka your eyes). And drumroll please… they might not like it there. They might get annoyed and dry your eyes so much until you give up and remove them. …


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Good morning and thank you kindly for not throwing this beautifully folded leaflet in the recycling bin,

If you are a cat owner looking for some insightful information on how to understand your cat better, let me tell you a secret: you never will! I mean, you’ve come to the right place.

If you are a cat -Congratulations!-, you already know that… Every day is Christmas!

(If you are new to this whole thing of being a cat, don’t worry: we’re here to help).

Let’s break it down, shall we?

1. Generosity

Every day is a good day to give your owner a present. You can be old-fashioned or spice things up: there are no rules here. It could be a dead lizard, some white fur on the black suit he was planning to wear the first day of his new job or even some vomit on the carpet -preferably if it had just been professionally cleaned-. …


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Dear Sir or Madam,

Sometimes I do the dishes in my dreams. But not only my dishes. I also sneak into all my neighbours’ kitchens. I don’t even wonder why. I just do it. But as a matter of a fact, I hate doing the dishes. I either burn or freeze my hands because the water never seems to be at the right temperature. The sink is too low for my back. And the citrus smell of the washing up liquid makes me sick.

Much to my surprise, I really enjoy washing dishes in my dreams. They say they’ve even heard me hum cheerful melodies sometimes. Nothing seems to worry me. I’m suddenly immersed in a permanent carpe diem: just me, my dishes and I. Enjoying the warmth of the water, the lovely smell of the washing up liquid and effortlessly removing dirt and grease. But then my alarm abruptly wakes me up and I rush to the kitchen to check… And yes, ladies and gentlemen, my dishes are still dirty. …


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For God’s sake, could you please slow down a little bit? I don’t know about you, but I woke up just 4 seconds ago. I’d still be sleeping if you hadn’t… God, please, slow down: you’re giving me tickles and I can’t concentrate! Careful, careful with that coke… Okay, that’s enough. I’m afraid you’ll have to wait. I’m trying my best like I always do, but the more you insist the slower I will go… It’s up to you.

I’m exhausted, but still, here I am: I’m making an effort because I want to help you. I care about you. At least you could say “thank you” every once in a while… Please don’t start muttering again… It’s useless: believe me. And it gets on my nerves. It’s been some years now and we both have adapted quite well to each other. Still, I know I’m not in my best shape. I’ve had some ups and downs lately but I promise I’ll make it up to you. We can still do great things together! …

About

Mireia Prats Llivina

I’m a creative writer, ballet enthusiast and phonetics nerd. Life brought me to beautiful Scotland, where I daydream about getting a Highland cow as a pet.

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