September 2011 was the start of a crazy, new life challenge for me. I started at Birmingham City University, which meant moving from Essex to Birmingham and essentially starting from scratch (new students will agree here!) Though this post isn’t about university life, I just wanted to touch upon my thoughts about Birmingham. I’ve recently finished university and moved back to Essex, and it’s a very bittersweet feeling – Birmingham has been incredible, but it’s time for my next adventure! (Cheesy.)
Growing up in Essex, surrounded by the sea and a lot of birds, meant moving to Birmingham was a big change, though it took me a while to realise it. Despite moving to Birmingham to study at University I have never felt more at home in a city. Now I’ve moved away from Birmingham I regret all the times I was negative about Brum – I didn’t hate Birmingham, it was an entirely new culture and it took me a while to love the city.
To me Birmingham is quirky, yet sophisticated – and everything’s within walking distance (this is great for students.) I think one factor that establishes Birmingham as one of my favourite places is the people. Birmingham is quite large – though it’s easy to forget at times that it is a city – it’s not until you visit New Street or the Bullring on a Saturday that you quite realise the vast numbers of people that visit. With the highly notable, and memorable, ‘Bull’ acting as a tourism hub, Birmingham has certainly done a superb job at looking after me for the past three years. I’m sad to leave.
Undoubtedly, due to the numerous universities and colleges, there are thousands of students within Birmingham, however it doesn’t feel like it. Yes, there are areas that are student dominated, but what I find really lovely about Birmingham, is that it’s so diverse, and there’s so many people that it doesn’t feel specifically ‘student-oriented much like other places I’ve visited.
Within Birmingham there are many lovely places, occasions and events, and I’ve highlighted a few within this post:
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market
Christmas is a special time in Birmingham, with the city playing host to the largest outdoor Christmas Market in the country. Birmingham welcomes thousands of visitors – daily – to a market packed with music, food, beer, Christmas stalls and more. The first year I visited the market I was pleasantly surprised – and much to my delight each year I returned the atmosphere stayed festive and the market appeared to increase in size. Even if you don’t want to live in Birmingham – the Christmas Market is well worth a visit.
Despite living and growing in Birmingham for three years I’m ashamed to say that I only really discovered Digbeth in my third year of living in the City. Digbeth is so cool. I first visited Digbeth to work at a studio, and then I returned to work with a local recording studio and was captivated by all the cool buildings, and creative things located around. I started attending gigs in Digbeth – I even experienced my first Jazz gig in a small pub located somewhere in the streets of Digbeth. Now that I’ve moved back to Essex I wish I could’ve brought Digbeth with me…
Throughout my three years in this city I lived in three different areas, in my third year I was very fortunate to live near Edgbaston Reservoir. The reservoir is lovely – in all kinds of crazy weather – though I became very fond of visiting on sunny days, I love water and scenic views – and the reservoir certainly has loads of both. As cheesy as this sounds I found the reservoir a great place to clear my mind. Also, it’s a great place to watch ducks, swans, etc.
Another really cool thing about this lovely place is the water sports. Every Tuesday and Sunday my friends and I were very lucky to be able to go rowing or canoeing on the reservoir for free – this made me very happy!
I’m going to end here, but I don’t feel like this post is finished. Birmingham is really a lovely place, and I shall revisit this subject in future posts (without a doubt – as Birmingham has had such a huge impact on my life.)