So there I was three years ago, a bright eyed fresher excited at the prospect of moving to Cardiff to begin my University career, sort of assuming that the city was pretty much an extension of England and being quietly confident myself and my mannerisms would fit right in. Just how wrong was I! Within the first few months I became aware that this was not the case…. Here are the ten most important lessons I learnt whilst living in the ‘diff, looking back as a graduate I am so grateful that I wound up living in this city.
1) If you go and watch Wales v England playing rugby in a pub, wear your Wales shirt you recently purchased and keep your mouth shut. It is not acceptable to be proud of being English in these situations, you will be destroyed. Also if you weren’t planning on going to a pub you might as well, it is impossible to move around town on match day.
2) It rains. A lot. During my first month here I’m pretty sure it rained everyday and during the twenty minute walk to lectures I would ring my mum and question why she had not sent me down here without more appropriate clothing. Well apparently the awful weather was a pretty countrywide problem at the time but it definitely fitted too well into the whole Wales rhetoric.
3) Anyone who drives you anywhere is called ‘drive.’ Whether that be a taxi, a bus, a friend… And as you leave the taxi you should thank them by saying ‘thanks drive.’ Keep it friendly now.
4) It is not a good idea to go out at the weekend. During the week students are the unrivalled kings of the nightclubs and the cheap vodka and high chance of bumping into your pals makes you feel on top of the castle. However at the weekend people from further afield, Newport, Swansea and the valleys come and take over proceedings and they have little patience regarding the middle class student. On a practical note drinks are also five times what you’re used to, just don’t.
5) If you do decide to go out at the weekend (or any other night) you will end up on chippy alley, if at the weekend probably in some sort of brawl. Here is where the selling of over priced deep fried food takes place to those of all ages.
6) Don’t even try and pronounce the place names you see on the road signs, you will be laughed at. On the flip side do not laugh at the Welsh announcer at the train station saying all the places the train is stopping in Welsh, you will be stared at.
7) There are no sheep in the city centre, despite all those jokes you are subjected to when you go back home. There are however a lot of seagulls who will eat absolutely anything, including your weekly rubbish.
8) Half and half means half chips, half rice which is normal to order with a curry, ingenious.
9) Two of the best phrases which you won’t stop saying even when you leave are ‘now in a minute,’ which means not yet, but very soon… maybe in a minute and ‘I won’t lie to you but…’ just don’t assume this suggests welsh people normally lie, it’s not true.
10) Your vocabulary will widen significantly, ‘cwtches’ which means snuggles, ‘tampin” which means angry and ‘tidy’ which means great are my three favourites.