To celebrate Valentine’s Day, I’m making a list of a few things I love about Belfast so far.
- Student discounts. These can be found everywhere, from theatres to pharmacies. Even if a student discount isn’t advertised, it’s usually worth asking.
- On a similar note, cinema tickets are only £3 on Tuesday nights. My hallmates and I are going to the movies tonight, though we haven’t yet decided if we’ll see The Vow for some sappy Valentine’s fun or The Woman in Black in a slightly anti-Valentine’s spirit.
- Everyone spells my name correctly at the first guess.
None of these Katelynne shenanigans.
- The frequent inclusion of the word “wee” in conversation. The phone salesclerk said, “That’s your wee mobile number on the receipt.” Another store employee promised, “I’ll be with you in two wee seconds.” A boy in my Creative Writing class mentioned that, “A character doesn’t have to be a person. It can be a wee animal.” “Wee” is multi-purpose and endlessly adorable.
- The cars are so wee!
- When you go into a nice restaurant with your eighteen-twenty-two-year-old friends, as I did Saturday night, the waitress asks, “Would you like some time to look over the wine list before I take your drink order?” Of course, this could happen in many European cities, not just Belfast. Being twenty in America, I’m used to being regarded with pity (“Aww, you can’t drink, you poor thing”) or suspicion (“Don’t you dare try to drink alcohol”), so it’s nice to just be trusted.
- Incessant clouds, wind and rain mean that sunny days (like today!) demand to enjoyed. Plus, “It’s so green!” a comment I have now heard from so many American students, it’s getting to be hilarious. But it’s true.
- Sales tax is included. My £1 frying fan from Poundworld was £1, not £1.07. Like student discounts, this is especially appreciated considering that I’m paying roughly $1.60 for every £1.
- The people are unfailingly kind. I have yet to be snubbed or condescended to, I feel comfortable asking virtually any stranger for explanations or directions, and if I experience rudeness at this point, I will probably consider it an outlier.
- For just £10, you can get a round-trip train ticket to Dublin, where I’ll be spending the day this Friday!
There’s a lot to love about Belfast!