Classes have ended, all my assignments have been turned in, my bags are packed, and my semester in Liverpool has come to a close. I started this blog post on my flight from Switzerland to France and after a lovely three days in Paris, I finished it while en route to Scotland for several days of hiking, exploring, castles, and a Dermont Kennedy + Noah Kahan concert, and I’m finally posting it from my Air BnB in Aberdeen. I’m excited to be back in the UK…I caught snatches of Scottish and Scouse accents in the airport and realized how much it had become a home away from home.
Over the last three months, I’ve cultivated a familiarity with this place. Streets and parks and shops and bus stops that were once unknown became a part of my weekly rhythm. As I reflect back, here are glimpses of those ordinary places that hold some of my favorite semester memories.
1. Lark Lane
A smaller version of 8th street a five minute walk from my flat. Shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs, live music, a vintage market…I always discovered something new. I savored the best hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted here and read Virginia Woolf while eating almond croissants and people watching from a window seat.
2. Sefton Park
My usual morning running spot. With each passing week, the frozen nut-brown landscape of winter softened to muddy greens, lavenders, and yellows of spring. People multiplied day-by-day like the daffodils swaying along the paths that crisscrossed the stream.
3. Halfway House
The home of the post-political science class pub ritual with my British classmates. Memorable conversations were tossed back and forth across the corner table with lots of laughter.
4. St George’s Quarter: Liverpool Public Library and Henry Bohn Books
I’m a bit obsessed with books and libraries and bookstores, but I didn’t know about either of these gems until my last week in Liverpool. Had I known the library existed earlier, it would have become my go-to study spot. And the bookstore? I would have bought more books than my already brimming suitcases could manage on the flight home. Books lined the shelves floor to ceiling, spilling over with cheap paperbacks from the 70s but also well-worn collectible volumes. I bought an illustrated pocket Bible, an early copy of a novel by one of my favorite authors, George Eliot, and a complete illustrated set of Beatrix Potter, all for £10.
5. Frontline Church
Sundays in Liverpool settled into a rhythm: worship music while making French toast, 35 minute walk through Sefton and the neighborhoods on the other side to get to Frontline (an incredibly welcoming, friendly community), post-church student lunch, and a walk back from church the long way, often stopping at a park bench to call a friend or watch spring unfurling in the park.
A traditional British tea shop down the road from campus. Early in the semester, my theology classmates warmly invited me to join their post-lecture Monday afternoon walk to the cafe for lunch. Conversations here were sweet and easy. We shared laughs and stories over warm drinks and biscuits and bowls of steaming vegetable soup.
New Scouse/UK Word/Phrase: Crack on. A very British thing to say indeed.
Kodak Moment: Hiking above Nyon Switzerland in the alpine meadows. I got caught in a snow/hail/thunderstorm and was freezing but felt so thrillingly alive. When the storm blew over the grey clouds that had been obscuring the mountains all morning slowly cleared and the snow capped peaks were breathtaking above the lake.
Someone new I met this week: No one again, unless hostel roommates count?
Word of the week: Adventure.