Newcastle, England

Sam in the neighborhood where he grew up.

Well, I never really planned to visit Newcastle when I first set out for Europe. But then I started going out with Sam, a native Geordie, so naturally I ended up in the northeast of England to stay with his family. The first time I met them was so weird – Sam was still in Spain, but I was stuck in the UK and I really needed a place to sleep, so I went and stayed with Sam’s family for a few days. We actually got along wonderfully and had a lovely time – so much so that I went back for Christmas and New Year!

The chilly English coast at Tynemouth.

Okay, so I thought everyone in England spoke English, but that was before I went to Newcastle and met the Geordies. Oh my god. Some of them weren’t so hard to understand, but with others I could not for the life of me figure out what they were saying. I remember hanging out in the local pub with Sam and his friends, thinking to myself that they may as well have been speaking in Greek or something because I had no idea what they were talking about.


All language barriers aside, I couldn’t have been any luckier with finding a place to spend the holidays. Sam’s family made me feel so welcomed and appreciated. I got Christmas gifts from people I’d never even met before. I ate about three thousand Jaffa Cakes, my favorite thing ever invented in the entire United Kingdom, and accidentally made Sam’s great aunt say “wanking into a pool of children’s tears” during a game of Cards Against Humanity. Oops.

Sam’s family and a crazy American (me)

Newcastle kind of reminds me of Wisconsin because there’s not that much to do as a tourist, but the people are amazing, so you’re actually quite lucky if you have the chance to really get to know them. It’s honestly so random that I ever ended up in this part of the world – I mean, Sam and I met on a blueberry farm in northern Spain, and here I was, celebrating Christmas with his extended family in northern England. But I love that my life turned out this way. Even if I gained about ten pounds from eating so many Jaffa Cakes.





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