Bits and Bobs. My Journey so far in Good Old England

I have lived in the UK now for 7+ months. It has certainly been a mixed bag of sorts; there have been joys and challenges. Joys for the most part for which I am thankful. I have met some wonderful people from all over the world and have settled into academia as much as possible. It has been busy as is evident from the irregular blogging. The weather has also gone through several phases; to me coming from 45 degrees Abuja, it is certainly cold which brings me to the question; why has my landlord refused to turn on the heating? Surely this is the right time for the radiators to do the work for which they were built?

Wardown Park Luton. Source: Annechia photography
Wardown Park Luton. Source: Annechia photography

While studying here, I have found the right stores to buy everything I need from food to clothes to books. If there is one thing I can tell you about the UK, it is that the money goes very very quickly! There are people who live very well obviously; the bankers and folks who work in the city, doctors and such healthcare professionals, the aristocrats, the top 2% or so who own businesses and live off trust funds which will never run dry (it seems), footballers, celebrities and others who have 100 different gigs to pull in money from different sources. The rest (and that is really the majority) live from pay check to pay check. The incomes are certainly better than many other EU countries from my research, but incomes in certain places like the USA and Germany are much better. This is solely from speaking to people in the same income brackets, same qualifications and relatively same experience who live or have lived in the mentioned countries. The taxes are shockingly high, but the good thing is that it provides a system that looks after its own (well as much as it can, it is certainly not perfect).

Pension table. Source:www.conversation.which.co.uk
Pension table. Source:www.conversation.which.co.uk

People with learning disabilities, special needs, mental health problems, old people living with dementia are all looked after. There are those who do not work and rely on welfare and council housing. The state pays for a lot of welfare for the aforementioned groups. The NHS which is the health system (a bit like the new Obamacare) has been around for a long time but certainly has it’s shortcomings. The waiting time for an ear infection or to see a consultant can be as long as six months. It is free for all citizens and people who make some sort of formal and legal contribution to the state; including international students who have paid full fees for the duration of their study, and other EU countries with whom the UK has a reciprocal arrangement. There are ongoing debates about the efficacy of the NHS and what kinds of reforms it may require. In spite of its shortcomings, you have to admire a system that seeks to look after its own.

NHS Hospital. Source: www.guardian.com
NHS Hospital. Source: http://www.guardian.com

In these 7+ months, I have also travelled a lot within the UK and within the EU. I think that travel is the best gift anyone can give to themselves. Nothing beats taking time to visit other countries and experience the cultures of other people. It opens one’s eyes to how the rest of the world lives, and the beauty and openness of the human race. I had tea in a tiny village near Reading, I tried some chocolate goodness in a small independent cafe near Baldock, I saw the amazing Christ Church at the University of Oxford where Harry Potter was filmed, I went to the Hindu festival of lights (Diwali) at Trafalgar square in London. I also went to Pairs, Toulouse, Carcassone, Athens and Rome with my sister. I saw the incredible works of Leonardo Da Vinci in the Louvre in Paris and visited Mona Lisa. I saw the genius of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel in Rome and attended mass said by Pope Francis at St Peter’s Basilica. I saw the Temple of Athena in the Acropolis in Athens and climbed Mount Lycabettus. It’s been an incredible couple of months and I am so thankful for this experience.

St Peter's Basilica. Source: Annechia photography
St Peter’s Basilica. Source: Annechia photography
The Acropolis. Source: Annechia.com
The Acropolis. Source: Annechia.com
Lover's Bridge Paris. Source: Annechia.com
Lover’s Bridge Paris. Source: Annechia.com

Most importantly, I have begun to dialogue with several INGOs who I may be interested in working for on the African continent, in South East Asia or indeed in the middle east after my graduation next year. It is all work in progress and I have put my intentions and plans to God and his universe believing that it all comes to fruition. My aunt is alive and well, many thanks to all of you who have emailed to ask about her and her dating advice, I reckon she needs to write a blog at this rate. I shall do another post on how to find a husband. Everytime I speak to her, she wants to know “how far”, and I shall blog about it in the coming days I think as I have been on a couple of her recommended “Igbo men dates”. In the interim, thanks to everyone who stayed subscribed. I shall do my best to update you regularly.

7 thoughts on “Bits and Bobs. My Journey so far in Good Old England”

  1. Sounds like you’re having an incredible experience. How wonderful you were able to travel to all those places. You’re right–we gain so much from learning about other cultures.

    Sorry to hear your landlord has deprived you of heat. That’s no fun!

    1. Hi Carrie It’s lovely to see you here, it’s been a long time. I had the best time seeing all those places and meeting the people. Ah my landlord…hopefully Nov 1st will be his turning point 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by

  2. Hi Anne, long time no speak.

    It seems that you are mostly enjoying your time in the UK, glad to hear that :). People with illness, dementia etc are technically “looked after” but the care is I think rudimentary, it is a system but it is flawed, but I suppose better than nothing. Most people with money, those bankers etc you mention, I doubt they use the NHS, they will be private.

    1. I could’t agree with you more M. The NHS is certainly flawed; I have experienced it first hand. Still waiting to see someone for my poor old ear. What can I say? It is still better than many countries. It’s my silver lining attitude. I am doing well enough at the mo, although I wish it wasn;t getting any colder. But I have been informed severally that this is “only autumn” and will certainly get worse. Ah fun times coming

      1. Ah yes, it has been pretty mild… worse case scenario is that we’ll get snow and the temperature will drop into the low minuses.

        Re the NHS, I may be mistaken but it isn’t free per se, I think that the National Insurance (or a portion of it) that (most) people pay via their wages is supposed to go towards the upkeep of the NHS.

        I have worked for them (The NHS) in an IT capacity and can say categorically that the amount of money wasted in the NHS is staggering, and the general stock term when it is questioned or discussed is “welcome to the NHS”

  3. Thanks for sharing your experiences in the UK. Sounds like interesting times for you! One thing you did not do is invite me to Paris and to other European countries 😉 . Wish you the very best in your studies and pray that your desired job will come through for you after your studies 🙂

    Chinwe

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