It wasn’t long before I felt at home in Hull and adapting to British Culture wasn’t too difficult. Obviously, the food is different in the UK and on a student budget, I quickly developed a taste for Fish and Chips!!
I also adapted to the big difference in the working day. At home, people would start work at seven in the morning whereas here the day would start around nine so my body clock quickly became used to that. I loved the British way of life but obviously got homesick too, so by the end of my first year living in the UK, I couldn’t wait to visit my family at home.
When I arrived in my home town, my uncle was keen to hear some stories about my UK experience, especially about the London Underground, but I was tired after travelling so far and quickly took to bed. The next morning my brother tried to wake me at seven but I told him to give me another half an hour, so later on he returned and knocked on the door. I had no choice other than to wake up and when I got outside my parents’ house there was a huge crowd waiting to hear from me.
My uncle had spread the word that I had been on the Tube and people were very excited to hear about it. I was the first person from that area to visit the UK and everyone was so excited to hear all about it that they sat anxiously awaiting my stories. I was quite taken aback. They were asking all sorts of questions and I just sat there and talked and talked. You could say I talked for England!
My dad loved a cup of tea but would only drink it in the morning, no other time. When visiting from the UK I would say: “Oh! Can I have a cup of tea?” because I had become, like some of my British friends, used to drinking tea all day and he would say: “He’s asking for tea in the afternoon, something’s wrong with him.”
Another thing I discovered in the UK is that not many people take sugar in their tea, – I also followed suit when I went home and they were making tea in the morning and I said “No!, no, no sugar for me” and it was, “What! No sugar argh!” someone commented that “having sugar is like having a girlfriend without sex.” I said “What, oh dear!” so that’s another big thing which rubbed off on me. After this day my brothers’ and sisters, laughed and said “Joe doesn’t take sugar in his tea”, as if it was a side effect from having lived in England.
Join me in my next blog where I will be talking about how my African heritage influences my work as an architect.