With my working visa having expired I was no longer valid to work in the UK. I was now here solely as a tourist and I couldn't wait to experience an English summer having missed the opportunity last year.
I know it sounds rather odd having lived in Australia my entire life where a summer day means an average 35 degrees and endless sun. The thing that I love about the English, although they are notorious for always moaning and groaning. The minute the sun comes out to play so does the entire country. Every door is left open as people spill out into beer gardens, grabbing onto every ray. No matter the day or the hour as long as there is warmth in the air and sunshine shining down every inch of a park will be consumed by bodies, picnicking, drinking, playing and sunbathing. There is smiles and laughter around every corner, amazing pop up bars and gardens to explore and countless adventures to be had. I think in Australia our summer can be overbearing and I would often be sick of the heat and retreat to a shopping mall or dark cinema instead of making the most of sunshine. That's why I wasn't planning on making any travel plans in Europe until I spent at least one month enjoying what a summer in Manchester had to offer.
Within my first week of James leaving I didn't have a moment to feel or be alone. Between having our good friend Ben from Adelaide come over to stay whilst he was on his European summer vacation, our old roommate and one of my favourite girls Amber returning from her summer adventure in Spain, to another good friend from home Ash dropping by, along with all the other Walkie babes these next few weeks were going to be filled with some good old fashion antics and I couldn't wait.
I wanted to try and go on as many day trips as possible in Manchester's surrounding areas now it was summer and I didn't have work to hold me back. Unfortunately Ash and I got far to wasted the night before we had planned our trip to the Lake District and barely woke at all let alone on time. When I attempted to go on my own the following week I found myself somehow with the exact same problem and when I attempted to go on a day trip hiking through the Peak district, surprise surprise I found myself in the same predicament.
I know what it sounds like, is all you do in Manchester drink? Well not exactly but garden parties and drinks at the park are my summer kryptonite. I did however enjoy a day trip to Liverpool, a day out in an old traditional English town Lymms, a day exploring the Manchester Museum, an afternoon revisiting the art gallery and endless hours practicing my photography skills around The Northern Quarter.
It was so freeing to have no schedule and no time restrictions. It was even nicer to have Amber around with the same freedom which made every day a new adventure, even if it was just a simple task like going grocery shopping. With the three boys James, Alex and Pete being the first to end the Manchester family dream and return home. This summer was to be dedicated to the girls as for the first time in months all six of us girls were to be in the same city Grace, Amber, Alexi, Jenni and Amelia. Sadly we knew it wouldn't last, how could it? Amber was going to be the first one to leave to go back to New Zealand, shortly followed by me, next Alexi and then hopefully we will be greeted by Jenni and Amelia in Australia the following year, which eventually will force Grace to leave England and come to Australia instead of returning to New Zealand. I couldn't have asked for a bigger bunch of misfits, but I also couldn't have asked for a better bunch of friends. After one night of wine shot roulette we decided that our friendship is so deep, skin deep to be exact. Therefore we made a pact that matching tattoos were in order to remind us of all the good times we have had together here.
Time like it normally does when you are having too much fun flew by and before I knew it a month had passed me by. As much as I was dreading saying goodbye to Manchester and all my friends I knew that phase two of my summer should be kicked into action. That's when I summoned up the courage to pack up my bags and book a one way ticket to Sicily Italy, where a new adventure awaits.
The Wanderer's Daughter xx