what is it like to live in stoke-on-trent?

when i moved to stoke-on-trent about 1 and a half year ago, i knew almost nothing about the midlands. the only thing i knew, was that there was a team called stoke city (which i am a big fan of) and that i had gotten a full-time job as a translator there. i was 22 years old, i knew nobody in my new hometown and i was pretty nervous.

Skjermbilde 2014-08-21 kl. 21.46.22
you’ll see this owl everywhere in stoke!

stoke-on-trent, also known as the potteries, is a city by the river trent in staffordshire. the place is has six smaller towns, called stoke, hanley, burslem, longton, tunstall and fenton. stoke-on-trent is greatly recognized for their pottery industry, a thing you understand that the average stokie is still quite proud of. i used to live up hanley, which has most of the shopping oppurtunities (including the shopping centre intu potteries). i used to work when these were open, so i didn’t really spend much time shopping, but i can definitely recommend this to visitors. this because the shopping centre has a great stoke city fc-shop!

as i mentioned earlier i was quite nervous when i arrived at the city of oatcakes, but luckily this passed quite fast. i got settled in hanley, i lived in a traditional english brick house and i also got in the routine of work really fast. working in stoke-on-trent i had varied days, because i did not have to speak a lot of english at work. i worked in a scandinavian team, which meant that i learned a lot more danish and swedish, than english on a daily basis. the company had a lot of different employees from different countries, like the netherlands, poland, greece, spain and a lot more. this definitely made the working experience a lot more fun, because you learned bits and pieces from all the other nationalities.

Skjermbilde 2015-03-06 kl. 22.34.43  the building on the left is where i used to live.

but in my spare time, i got to speak a lot of english. i really fancy the stoke-accent, i must say. especially their use of the word “duck” which originally came from the word duke. this is a common designation of affection towards both men and women. this word is mostly used at the end of a sentence. one of the sentences you hear most often is “ay up, duck?”, which can mean “whats happening?”, “how are you” and “hello”, it all depends on the way you say it. try it next time you meet a stokie. i think i’ve never met anyone from stoke who does not find it fun to make a foreigner speak the stoke-accent.

when i moved to stoke, i thought my english was quite good, but i had a hard time understanding what locals were saying to me in the shops, on the bus, at the pubs etc. but i believe that one can get used to almost anything, and now i almost feel like a “duck”.

Skjermbilde 2014-08-21 kl. 21.12.37britannia on a friendly match day.

i have heard that journalists often does research for their articles, so that is why i decided to do the same. i asked a lot former foreign colleagues what they liked about living in stoke, and i got a lot of great answers:

– it is really easy to get to stoke city matches, both home and away (because they have free transport to away games).

– if one is originally from a foreign country, stokies tend to find us exciting and it is easy to make friends.

– rent and travelling is really cheap. stoke-on-trent is in the middle of england, so you can travel anywhere cheap and fast. it is also a great place to groundhop!

– indian food is great in stoke (the best restaurant is called sangam)

– student-night in hanley on mondays, where the alcohol is almost free!

– oatcakes – a type of pancake, but with oats in it. you can buy these almost anywhere. they are served hot with some type of filling. this is often cheese and bacon. stokies love them so much, and get offended if you make fun of them.

Skjermbilde 2014-08-21 kl. 21.45.18
one of the greatest games last season, against arsenal.

i would really recommend living in stoke. it is a great place, with great people. if you do a quick google search, you will find out that not a lot of englishmen like stoke. the readers of the telegraph named it the 10th most ugly place in all of england. i have experienced that englishmen in general make fun of stoke-on-trent when i say that i’ve lived there, the funny thing is that over 50% of those people have never been or plan to go to stoke-on-trent ever. so their arguments are not really valid, i guess that stoke-on-trent is just a place with a bad reputation.

after reading this experience, i hope you will take the time to someday visit the home of the great potters!

PS: you might not know what these famous people are from stoke:

– lemmy kilmister (motörhead vocalist)

– slash (most known as the guns n’roses guitarist)

– robbie williams (known from take that)

Skjermbilde 2014-08-21 kl. 21.45.35picture from the robbie williams exhibition at the local museum.

have you ever been to stoke-on-trent?

/fredrikke

tips on saving money before christmas

it is getting close to christmas, and you probably plan to spend tons of money on gifts for all your friends and family. but when you realize how little you actually have to spend, you need to come up with a great plan to fix this. here are some tips for saving money:

do you have spotify or another streaming program? well, end your subscription. the library has tons of CDs, all for you to borrow. i do this myself, i go to the library every day and borrow a certain amount of CDs which i save in my music library. this also is great for putting on your ipod. this is also a great way of going to the library and actually staying to read a bit, cause if i am at a library, i do feel that i have to study, at least for a while. and why stream music? streaming tends to never work on trains anyway.

do you collect anything? well, if it is valuable you could trim off your collection. everyone has duplicates of something, and they never use them, so go a head. SELL SELL SELL. i certainly know a few things i could sell out of my collections. luckily those things are at my parents.

do you shop at stores? sign up for their reward program. (a good idea is to create a separate e-mail address for this, because you’ll receive tons of spam.)

do you like making things? this is like the oldest trick in the book. people do enjoy homemade gifts, often more than new things. so start cooking, painting, drawing or whatever you’re the best at.

do you have a lot of stuff? this trick seems kind of rude, but i personally am a huge fan of it. do you have a book you’ve read or a movie you’ve seen that you don’t need anymore, give that away as a gift. people like to get things they know their friends/family likes.

do you like books? well, join this site, where you can swap books for free.

after you’ve done all of that, you’ll feel like this:
Skjermbilde 2014-11-26 kl. 22.11.01

i could give you more tips, like: make a shopping list and stick to it, repair your clothes instead of buying new ones and cut up your credit cards, but we all know that those things and they often don’t work.

how do you save money?

/fredrikke

first month impression of liverpool

i am always up for trying something new. so, earlier this year i decided to leave my job as a translator and move on to studying (again). i wanted to move to liverpool, because of the beautiful city and the fantastic accent. but i have experienced a lot of other things in my first month as a norwegian scouser.

here is my impression of liverpool after actually living there for a month:
– a lot of pregnant women smoke and drink (a lot).
– people react negatively to me paying with debit cards.
– men wearing mittens and t-shirts. (that doesn’t make ANY sense)
– girls putting on more make-up when they’re going to work out.
– people with tattoos on their neck or face only.
– teachers who only talk about their dogs.

i also have experienced that most of the people i have talked to, who come from liverpool have no sense of direction in their own city.

going out in liverpool is an experience on it’s own. you’ll probably see more nudity then if you were to stay home and watch a porno. men walk around with their shirts off (and their bums out). the girls walk with high heels which are as long as their skirts (which means very short skirts and VERY high heels). men wear a lot of make-up (almost as much as the girls). i have also experienced to see people of both sexes dance like nicki minaj does in her anaconda video.

the experiences has been mostly bad, but interesting, but the reason i continue to live liverpool, is this fantastic movie:

have you ever been to liverpool? what is your impression?

/fredrikke

ps: i also love scouse, since rupert grint did a scouser accent in the movie “into the white”.

travelogue: everton vs arsenal

i had to wake up early on sunday. maybe too early after all the traveling from the day before. i had to book a taxi to the train station, cause i slept a bit too long (ops!), but i luckily i got to stoke train station in time to make my way to goodison park. this is a stadium with a lot of history. the game i was about to see was a crucial game, cause everton getting points would lead them closer to a forth place.

Image vs Skjermbilde 2014-04-12 kl. 00.52.37

when i came to the ground, it was filled with people dressed in blue, i was definitely in the right place. but i needed to find my friend, who had got my ticket. so i needed to get to the away end. after about a twenty minute wait, he showed up and i was relieved. there is no such thing as mobile coverage on a match day! so the best thing is to be prepared some days before.

Image
i walked around the stadium once more, before heading in for the game, so i could really get the feel of goodison park. it is a really great ground! i also do fancy a good scouse accent, so just walking around, listening to all the people talking about football on a match day, is not exactly the worst thing you can do on a sunday.

three facts about goodison park, which i find interesting are:
– it was the first major football stadium to be built in england.
– this is the place where wayne rooney grew to be the player he is now.
– they have a church (!) at the stadium, called st. lukes.

suddenly on my walk around the stadium, i discovered, amongst the brilliant the picture history wall, my friend, wayne rooney. of course, i had to stop and take a photo, and there is also an interesting fact at the bottom:

Image

i got in the stadium. found my place and stood amongst the arsenal fans, which was an experience of it’s own. they’re really dedicated after what has happened this past season.

at halftime i checked out the facilities:
1. food looked really good, they had some pies which i always find to look good, but the queue was too long.
2. bathrooms were okay, but it could have been a bit warmer.
3. admission prices were a bit expensive, but i would have excepted them to be at this game.
4. alcohol is almost impossible to get at half time almost anywhere, but the prices here were a bit stiff at about 4 pounds for 600 ml.
5. programmes are a bit too full of advertisement, but they have good information about players.

i probably do not need to tell you what happened it this game, but the match ended 3-0. if you want to read a proper match report, you’re welcome to, right here. after talking to some of the people in the seats next to me, it turned out we had friends in common and i joined them to the only place they felt right about going after the game, the pub (and hostel) king harry. it became a late afternoon of frustration and discussions about wenger.

the view from my seat:

Image

good luck in the FA cup today arsenal!

/fredrikke

about: wayne rooney

Image
well, you can say i have a weird relationship with football. my favourite team is definitely stoke city. but then there is also one of my favourite players, wayne rooney. it is a bit like swearing in church having him as one of my favourite players. i’ve been so lucky to see him once this year and then stoke city even beat them (!). i’ve been wanting a rooney action figure since it came out in 2005, but haven’t had the courage to buy one yet. the picture above is enough (for now). he is england’s youngest ever goalscorer and even wenger once thought that he was the biggest talent in england.

why i love wayne rooney:
– his goals.
– his long shots.
– his ability to play almost anywhere on the field.
– his beautiful face.
– his reputation for being a bad boy.
– his profile on spotify.
– that in 2005 he was voted the second most famous person in the world after god in a survey of 2,500 under-ten-year-olds.

rooney just has something about him, even though he is known for being angry, he is the most booked player on england, with two red cards. he would definitely have a place on my dream team (i would like to see him as a goalie, but i will choose him as a striker). and that goal against west ham on saturday, that was something that did help me like him even more. if that is even possible!

who is your favourite player?

/fredrikke