Why I thought I'd hate living in Hull (and why I was wrong).
The word itself is a mix of 'hell' and 'dull'.
It doesn't have a great reputation does it?!
When I made the choice to move to Hull, it was kind of with a gun to my head. My boyfriend had decided his future was in Hull, so I'd decided to take on a job here and we'd moved to Beverley a year or so previously.
When we broke up last August, I was kind of stuck. My job was in Hull, I didn't really want to move back to boring Goole, I didn't want to commute, and I didn't like any of the homes in Beverley that were in my price range.
Moving to Hull was the pragmatic option - I would be close to work, wouldn't have to commute, could afford a place of my own on my single wage. On September 9th I took on a six-month contract and decided that by the time it rolled around to March 9th I could hand in my notice and move absolutely anywhere I wanted in the world.
Well. Obviously as it turned out March 9th was NOT the time I could start thinking about moving anywhere in the world!
So even though I am kind of stuck here for now, here's why I'm not actually that unhappy about it...
|Autumn leaves from my window|
I had spent a bit of time in Hull before moving here, from being a teenager me and my friends would come to shop and go to the cinema, not being far from Goole on the train before we all learned to drive.
I had worked here for six months before moving here, and had spent a lot more time socialising in Hull since moving to Beverley, even when I was still working in Goole.
But often I hadn't had great experiences. I'd seen huge fights in the street between homeless people, seen drug dealing, spice zombies collapsed on the pavement, tent villages under bridges, it felt like its social problems were insurmountable.
|Avenues in spring|
But after moving here I kinda fell in love with where I lived. When I viewed my flat, it was down a lovely tree-lined street in The Avenues with these huge houses made into flats, but there wasn't any fly tipping or street drinking etc like there was where I lived in Goole. I looked inside and was sold on the big windows and original features.
Now I'm in lockdown, I really enjoy wandering the streets and seeing all the nice houses and gardens and getting some fresh air. I love looking out the window and people watching and seeing all the joggers and dog walkers.
|Always look for rainbows..|
I had loved Beverley for all the shops and restaurants there, and Hull didn't seem as appealing with lots of empty shops in the town centre and not much choice of clothes shops etc than place like Leeds or York.
However, Beverley didn't have many clothes shops either, and though it had a lot of pubs etc, I didn't really like that many of them. There's loads more nice places in eat in Hull.
I work on Fruit Market and it is fantastic there. There are great independent shops and restaurants and I love having a quick walk on Victoria Pier and around the Marina and Humber Street.
|Victoria Pier at Sunset|
Before the lockdown, me and my friend would go for lunch every Friday and we're spoilt for choice close to work - going to Thieving Harry's, Bert's, Ambiente Tapas or Furley and Co or the Brain Jar in town. Then of course there's Trinity Market which is amazing - if you haven't been, please go when lockdown is over!
|Taking part in a hoop and silks class!|
Living in Hull, there are more opportunities to socialise and I have done loads of different things. From my short story writing group to learning hoop and silks, there's been so much more to do than in small East Riding towns I've lived in previously. It's also great to be able to go for drinks after work and knowing I'm just a short taxi ride home.
|The view from my office at sunset|
Hull is also really friendly. In Beverley I had lovely friendly neighbours, but never really spoke to anyone else or made other friends. In Hull I've made new friends and even going to exercise classes or Park Run the people are so friendly and I chat to different people even when I don't know anyone there.
I also love that the city is very socially-conscious. People here voted Labour in all three constituencies, people seem really politically active and like they care about people in the city. The community works together on lots of different things and that's really become clear with the current crisis. People in my area even have posters up asking for the government to make sure they support the NHS.
Hull still has lots of social issues. But I feel they are getting better. The tent cities have gone and the new police pod in the city centre has helped stopped a lot of ASB in the city centre. I just hope the economic impact of the coronavirus doesn't end the huge amounts of investment that are taking place here at the moment. And that homeless people continue to get a roof over their head and more support.
There are still issues near where I live on Princes Avenue and Beverley Road though. But to be honest, a lot time I avoid them, if I need to go to the shops I tend to go to Chanterlands (Chants) Ave which has some really nice independent shops. I hope they're still there when lockdown is over! I do love some of the places to eat on Princes and Newland Ave though.
|Fancy cocktails at The Hispanist|
I came to Hull completely heartbroken and struggling badly with my mental health. But my experience here has been so positive, I've been happy here despite things being far from perfect.
The next year or so is undoubtedly going to be weird. I'm not sure what's going to happen to my job, I'm not sure what's going to happen to the economy and I'm not sure whether I'm going to stay in Hull forever.
The lockdown has been hard as I know a lot of us live looking to the future. I feel like I’m always waiting for that next career move, relationship move, holiday or big social engagement. The lockdown has forced us all to take a pause and to live in the here and now. And taking stock, I could definitely be in a much worse place. This crisis has made me see I’m actually pretty content with my lot.
|I love a Hull night out|
So right now there is no crystal ball. Not much planning to be done. It’s hard to know if there’s greener grass elsewhere. Is the love of my life actually in Birmingham? Is my dream job in Edinburgh? Will there be five new friends ready for me in Liverpool? No one can ever make more than a slightly calculated guess as to where their happiness lies.
I proved to myself that very thing. All I know is that I thought I was going to hate it here - and I am so glad that I was wrong!