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OMG I'm 30: Manchester, Football, and Nando's

OMG I'm 30: Manchester, Football, and Nando's

That's it. My twenties are officially in the rear view mirror. And ya know what? 30 isn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be. I'm also not nearly as put together as I thought I would be at 30. I know it's hella cliché to say, but I am nowhere near where I thought I'd be at 30. I thought I'd be in ministry of some sort. Yet, here I am, a graduate student and flight attendant, married to the best man I've ever met, and enjoying the DINK (dual income, no kids) lifestyle.

My husband has been telling me that he's had this epic 30th birthday trip planned for the better part of a year. I've had to put with him wanting to tell me for almost an entire year! I'm glad that I made him wait to tell me until the day before my birthday. It was well worth it, as you'll see!

The first part of the #dirtythirty trip involved us going to Washington DC (one of my favourite cities) to see my beloved Manchester United play FC Barcelona! I've always been a Man U fan (fight me) and I've never seen them play live. This was the perfect opportunity - seeing Man U play a match on my actual birthday?!

Before the match, we spent the afternoon walking around DC. We wanted to check out the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, but the line to get in was out of this world. Understandable - it was the middle of summer and this particular Smithsonian hasn't been open for an entire year yet. We opted to visit the National Air and Space Museum. Thank God for that sweet sweet air con. My husband and I love aviation and history, so this was a no-brainer for us. Plus, it'd been years since my husband had visited. It's a great place to stop by if you're in DC!

We headed to FedEx Field for the match. The seats we had were perfect! And man, what a match First of all, we got to see all the top players on both sides play: Messi, Neymar, de Gea, Carrick, Pogba, Lukaku, the list goes on. And these are world-renowned players. That alone was worth the trip! While the Red Devils put up a good fight, we lost 0-1 to Barça. Oh well, can't win 'em all. We still had a great time. Even though we were surrounded by Barça fans (seriously, there were sooooo many Barça fans), the atmosphere was fun. During the match, my husband commented on the level of play between two incredibly successful teams. It's a bit different from our MLS team and those matches.

Our view for the Manchester United vs FC Barcelona match! 

Our view for the Manchester United vs FC Barcelona match! 

The next day, we made our way over to Manchester, England for the second part of my birthday extravaganza: a tour of Old Trafford (aka the Theatre of Dreams aka where Man United plays). My husband got the BEST AirBnB! It overlooked the quays in Salford, which was a lovely view to wake up to every morning.

Salford Quays

Salford Quays

Thanks for the ride, VS! 

Thanks for the ride, VS! 

Since we were in the UK, we had to make our required visit to Nando's. I introduced my husband to Nando's a few years ago while on holiday in London. And he fell in love. So anytime we're in the UK, we know that we're going for a cheeky Nando's at least once. Full disclosure, we went twice. 😜😁 Another thing we always do in the UK is have a pub lunch/dinner because fish and chips is also my husband's favourite. So we went to a local pub after we settled into our AirBnB.

The next day was the tour day at Old Trafford. We had some time to kill before our tour started, so we visited the Imperial War Museum North, conveniently located a few minutes' walk from Old Trafford. Again, my husband and I share an interest in history, specifically WWI and WWII history. The museum is very well put-together, informative, and immersive. The main exhibit gives detailed account of wars, displays many artifacts collected over the years, and does a great job at exploring the many facets of war. Did I mention that it's free ninety-nine? We spent about an hour in the museum, which I feel is plenty of time to make your way through the main exhibit and grab a bite at the museum's café. After visiting the museum's website, it has a few interesting tidbits about the specific atmosphere that its designed wanted to create for visitors.

The tour at Old Trafford was incredible. Our tour guide was informative and hilarious. He gave a great overview of the stadium's history, the club's history, and where we are today. While I didn't get to see a match at Old Trafford, I did get to visit the dressing room, some VIP areas, the press conference room, and the players' tunnel among other things. After the tour, we visited the Museum, which gives more of the club's history. There was a nice memorial to the victims and survivors of the Munich Air Disaster, highlights of the club's illustrious history, the massive amount of trophies won by the club, and more. Of course, they had a store. And of course I had to get a de Gea away jersey :)

Old Trafford. The Theatre of Dreams.  

Old Trafford. The Theatre of Dreams.  

It was a wonderful thing for a diehard Manchester United fan to experience. One day, I will get to experience a match there and it will be everything. So glad I got to share that experience with my husband!

One day, I'll be raising hell with my fellow MU fans in Stretford End

One day, I'll be raising hell with my fellow MU fans in Stretford End

My #dirtythirty birthday trip was perfect. My husband is still so proud of himself for pulling it off flawlessly. And he should be. He knows how my birthdays growing up were always a sort of pain for me. This, among other birthdays, has more than helped turn that view around.

In the players' dressing room with my fave current MU player's jersey

In the players' dressing room with my fave current MU player's jersey

Here's to my thirties, Manchester United, and Nando's Garlic Peri-Peri Sauce,

 - j

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