I have officially been in Scotland for three weeks as of 25 September, and in school for one week. I’ve been to all the major local businesses and pubs in Glasgow, and some of Scotland’s greatest monuments. Traveling around Scotland has been interesting in many ways, challenging in others, but mostly I am gettin’ on just fine. I’ve started to try and speak in a way that the locals will understand me, and perhaps not immediately judge the fact that I am American, by being conscious of the way I pronounce certain words like “water” and avoiding other terms they don’t really use here like “bathroom.” Instead, I am choosing to embrace the locals and ask “how are you gettin’ on?” instead of “how are you?” and “where is the toilet?” instead of “where can I find the restroom?” I’ve even been trying to write out the date backwards, as they do here, and tell people my birthday with the day, month, and year last. Of course people still recognize that I am not from around here, but for the most part it’s been really fun trying to integrate myself into the daily language of Glasgow.
Excitingly, I am no longer sick! Woohoo! I haven’t been feeling as low lately, and even had the opportunity to head out and do some traveling this week. My day excursion along the Eastern Scottish border included a site visit to the beautiful Abbotsford House, home of the great Sir Walter Scott, author of many long and wordy novels. Next was a short drive up to Scott’s View, a lovely view over the beautiful lowlands of Scotland. It was windy, and quite cold, but I was able to snap a few pictures before my nose started running and I needed to take shelter. I also was able to visit the famous Melrose Abbey, an absolutely beautiful architectural masterpiece located in the tiny town of Melrose. I had lunch at a Scotch pie shop, and a sweet treat at the town’s famous “Simply Delicious” ice cream shop. After Melrose, I traveled about an hour back towards Edinburgh to see The Da Vinci Code’s famous Rosslyn Chapel. The exterior was intimidating, giving off a very medieval and dark feeling. But the interior was absolutely amazing. It is a working Chapel with services every Sunday, so unfortunately images of the interior are prohibited, but oh my was it beautiful! Hundreds and hundreds of years later and the ancient carvings are still absolutely brilliant, all carved from sand stone by a small handful of expert masons.
The countryside is really special in Scotland because it’s a completely different experience from where I live daily. The city of Glasgow itself, though, is really interesting and special to me as well because it reminds me so much of home, in Philly. The streets are always busy with people, the air is always filled with sounds of cooing birds and sirens, and there is always something going on pertaining to the arts, and music, etc. I feel like I am finally gettin’ on in the right sense, because I’m starting to feel the inviting notion that Glasgow is not so different from home, and that is allowing me to settle in and feel just a bit more comfortable. Cheers!