I have no idea. Not a clue. Absolutely empty. Not even sure if I’ve ever learnt what he was talking about. Not even to this day. The very first time when I simply could not understand English at all. Don’t get me wrong, there was no problem with the tutor’s Northern accent at all, moreover I actually found it pretty good. I don’t know, these accents were scary at first but now I am just obsessed with trying to develop something similar. If the tutor would just look at me and say, “bugger off you wanker” I would still feel seduced by the sound of it. But even that couldn’t help me stay interested in the topic anymore.
I looked around the room and realised it wasn’t a lecture anymore but an afternoon nap I used to have in kindergarten every day. Open mouths and shut eyes everywhere. The lack of understanding caused anxiety to grow inside me so the only thing I could worry about is if anyone could see me not understanding the lecture.
I pay too much to be here, too much study, gave up too many things, too many good people, I can’t just stop listening. So I started to think and remembered about my homework for fiction. Since at that time I still didn’t know how to open a student bank account as a foreigner, I’ve had better things to do. Moreover, I hate being bored, so this was the perfect opportunity. But this didn’t help the fact that some coursemates sitting next to me could actually see what I’m doing.
I speak one of the most difficult languages of the world, which came in handy to hide what I was truly writing. One advantage of being a foreigner. Even here. Even during Brexit. Or maybe not, who knows.
There was a girl sitting on my left, her face was absolutely hilarious, not because of her natural appearance or anything, no. I started to use as horrible-looking words as possible, I’m pretty sure she thought I was coming from the afterlife to summon a few demons with those characters. Suddenly, I became very calm as I was finally writing something. The tutor probably thought the same because every time he looked at me I was writing notes. “Wow, the migrant really understands what’s going on.” There was ten more minutes of the lecture but I’ve finished my homework. I had to do something else. I looked around the room again to find some inspiration but there wasn’t any. Then the girl next to me looked at my notes again like she was copying or something. To prevent this from happening I thought it would be a nice idea to draw a cat right below my homework. At first, she seemed to find it cute until I drew a pentagram symbol around it, making sure that she believes I do speak the devil’s language. What makes me scared is that I haven’t seen the girl ever since. She probably tried the same and Lucifer brought her down to hell for a date.
Back in halls we had a new flatmate that day although for me everyone was new in the first eight weeks. The guy stopped me and said:
“Oi, lad, I can see on ya face that ya coming from somewhere else.”
After asking him three times to repeat what he just said I could finally give him an answer.
The city’s name was ringing some bells at first but he lost it when he heard the country. I could literally see his brain buffering the information trying to remember where Hungary was when he last looked at Google Maps.
“That’s in Africa innit? You sound South-African.”
I accept that the Western civilisation is not aware of the existence of Eastern Europe because of their towers made of euros and pounds hide the plains but calling me an African is a bit absurd. When you have to learn the history of France, Britain, Germany, etc. for 6 years at school you just feel like life is not fair at all. He is another person I have not seen since, accordingly he moved to a different hall. But I prefer that version where I just beat him to death with a geography map in my dream that night.
Apparently living alone, 1,300 miles away from your nearest family member makes you a grown up in a few days. Also, when you move to a different country, you enjoy learning new terms and idioms people use every day. Not to mention that wonderful feeling when you finally start using them. Prodigious. I started with the swear words but let’s not talk about them now. The word “cheers” quickly became my favourite as I kept hearing everyone using this term here on the North. I started using it in late October when I was 200% sure what it means and when to use it. It seriously made my day every time I had the opportunity to say it to someone, especially the cashier guy and girl in McColls. After creating the devil’s cat on an extraordinary lecture and being called African, you just can’t wait to finally use your favourite term somewhere. Once, after a long day at the Ormskirk market, a flatmate of mine asked me to meet him in the kitchen so he wouldn’t embarrass me in front of the others. I use the word “hi” now anytime I meet someone.