England, Europe

An Embarrasing Story in Manchester

England Europe

Have you ever come to a place just for the experience, and it was completely different from what you had it expected to be like? This is exactly what happened to me, when I first traveled to England last week. Manchester, to be precise.

Born and raised in Germany, I thought Manchester shouldn’t be a big deal, as England really isn’t far from there. And it is indeed comparable to large German cities. Nevertheless, whenever you go to a location that’s new to you, there might – and probably will – be things that will be different. But see! That’s the catch! Because you most likely won’t think about it much, and you’ll be doing something wrong, before you notice it.

In England, remember to drive on the left side of the road.

When I get on a bus in Germany and I am already carrying a ticket with me, normally, I will just get on that bus and make myself comfortable without even taking my ticket out. Most of the time there isn’t a conductor on the bus to check each person’s ticket, and most drivers assume that I’m a student who’s already carrying a ticket with her anyways.

I was waiting for my bus to arrive at a station in Manchester and when I spotted it, the scheduled departure was just one minute away. I hurried to the vehicle, smiled at the driver who had already seen me coming and mouthed a “Thanks!” walking on by. Two seconds later, I heard the driver loudly knocking against the window of his cabin. I turned around, but couldn’t see his face, so I thought he was trying to give a sign to someone else. While I moved on towards the back of the bus, he opened the cabin’s window calling out for me. “You can grab a newspaper (apparently they’re free on every bus), whatever you wish, but you’ve at least got to show me something.” – There it was: That oh-so-loved feeling of embarrassment coming up inside of me.

The old buildings in the city center are beautiful.

Just by the entrance of the bus, there was an electric device on which I placed my ticket (it resembles my credit and ATM cards). It was scanned until a green light showed and I was permitted to enter. I excused myself saying that where I come from things are handled a little differently and I eventually got seated.

Of course this situation can happen to anyone and there’s nothing to be ashamed about. Now I can look at back at the situation and laugh about it. But in that very moment, I felt really embarrassed about the whole situation! On top of that, I wasn’t sure whether the bus driver was angry with me or just joking around, not taking it too seriously. After all, many British people do seem to have a different sense of humor than a lot of Germans do!

A pint of British beer was just perfect after an exhausting day.

Although incidents like this and the emotions they drag along are only temporary, we sometimes keep them in within us for a long period of time. How wonderful that our brains are designed to constantly differ between positive and negative experiences to learn from them! From all the journeys that I’ve taken so far, I have learnt one thing which I’d like to pass on to you: As much as we try to avoid blundering, we will never succeed!