14 October 2016

Belfast, I still love you

Many thanks to Liam Scott from Scotty Photography for the photographs. Check out his work on his social channels. 

Two of my best friends moved away this year- one to the Middle East and one to Wales. These were two of my friends who formed my core friendship group - the type of friends you can phone when you get a flat tyre or crying in the middle of the night. It has been a hard adjustment realising I can't just stop at M&S, buy some buns and drive to their house. 

It seems to be a real trend this year that people are moving away, whether that's for work, love or simply because they are fed up. This feeling of being fed up with Belfast seems to be a huge wave amongst people my age. I'm 24 and I get it. You think the grass might be greener. I spent my whole university years here - all five of them; four at Queen's and my Master's year at Ulster University's Jordanstown campus which is close to my house. Moving away was never an option for me - my best friend was staying to do nursing at Queen's and I would be across the street doing Politics. We have always gone on fabulous holidays so the idea of travelling or seeing the world never really phased me - I've seen parts world with my mum & my friends.

One of my core reasons for starting this blog under this name was my love of Belfast. As a city, we have suffered. But as someone who is 24, I proud to stand here and be part of a new Belfast... a Belfast that isn't known for bullets and bombs but for the Titanic Visitor Centre and a flourishing food scene. It really upsets me that people I know complain there is constantly "nothing to do in Belfast". Usually these are the same people who go to the same nightclub every Saturday night and eat in the same restaurants, week in and week out. There's nothing wrong with that - I can too be a creature of habit. However, open your eyes to the new businesses that are out there for you to support and experience.

The job scene here is definitely improving and it is encouraging to look in the business pages of the Bel Tel and see investment from huge brands and companies. 2016 in retail alone has heralded a whole new range of products available for us as customers.

Belfast is my home and it will always have my heart. Although I know many of my friends who have left for work may eventually come home, it is hard to hear Belfast being run down by my generation. I feel we need to be positive and try something new - head to the theatre, a new restaurant or bar, drive to a different park for a walk.... there's so much to discover on your own doorstep.

Home is truly where the heart is. I challenge you to find somewhere else in the world that has the humour we do, or in fact, the fish & chips, soda bread, veda loaf and tasty treats in general that we have.

Belfast, I still love you and I always will.