Expat To Expat: August/September

Clarendon Crescent

I just discovered Expat to Expat from My Life In Scotland so I’m linking up with a couple other expats for the months of August and September. I’ll be doing these monthly to be able to give you a little more insight into my “expat” life.

What is your favourite food store?
I don’t go there often (and it’s more expensive) but I love going to Waitrose! The store is always clean and the food packaging is beautiful and they have everything – food wise. But I get my groceries delivered from Tesco and my veggies and eggs from East Coast Organics.

Is it OK to buy store brand items or do you pay more for name brand?
I haven’t had any issues with store brands (from either Waitrose or Tesco) so I tend to just stick with them.

What is the best way to go around my city?
Edinburgh is really “walkable” and the buses are amazing here. I’d love to say it’s easy to ride my bike but it’s really hilly… need I say more?
Also, Edinburgh’s new “shame” are the Tramworks and apparently they’re scheduled to be up and running by May 2014. I think they’re intended to make City Centre more accessible to those who live outside of the centre so we’ll see how it all ends up.

Where is the best place to get a cup of coffee {or beverage you prefer} and catch up with friends?
For all of you coffee lovers I hear Artisan Roast and Brew Lab are the places to go. But, for me and my tea-loving-self, I love going to Lovecrumbs and Loudon’s. Loudon’s is close by and clean and their massive windows allow for a lot of natural light in (and in a city where we get an average of 50 sunny days a year, that’s really important). Lovecrumbs is, well, bliss. I get really excited when I go to Lovecrumbs because of their cakes! They get their tea from Anteaques and make their own homemade cakes and desserts every morning. And what’s tea without a delicious cake to accompany it?

What was your eureka, “I’m practically a native” moment?
Anytime someone asks me for directions (and I actually know how to get them there) is a little victory for me. It makes me feel like I look like I know my way around this city (little do they know… just kidding!). As well as any time I look right first before crossing the street. It’s the little things.

Does your accent get in the way?
Well, I don’t think it does but I spend a lot of time on the phone at work and so that has caused more problem on my end than theirs. If I say the word , “Scottish”, people tend to understand me better when I pronounce it “Sco-ish” with a slight accent.
But, you have go to check this video out about weird Scottish words! I’ve heard (and seen) a lot of these in action.

How do you fit into your new culture without losing some of your identity?
There have been some moments where I feel like maybe I was a bit abrasive in my comments or intrusive in my questions but that’s just me. I have that problem anywhere I go with anyone I meet. I do feel that I’ve been pretty fortunate to have made some friends that don’t laugh at my questions about how to “properly” serve tea and how to say certain words or how in God’s beautiful earth do you turn on an old gas oven. No joke. Will and I called our friend Ben to come over and teach me how to turn on my gas oven… which we realized that the pilot light was broken and I had to practically crawl in it and light a match to get it on… Sylvia Plath anyone?!

What do you think your biggest trigger for homesickness is?
Birthdays. My family does birthdays perfectly. And because my birthday is this weekend (Saturday, to be exact!) I’ve noticed, much like last year, I’m homesick and really missing my family a lot. I’m constantly wishing that I would wake up on Saturday morning with the expected “HAAAAAAAPPYYYYYYYY BIIIIIIIIRTHDAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY!!” and birthday songs (we sing two birthday songs to the birthday person: the traditional birthday song and a Puerto Rican happy birthday song… feliz, feliz en tu dia…!) and cake and balloons and presents and lots of morning breath! Oh I love my family so much and I love how much we love each other. 

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2 thoughts on “Expat To Expat: August/September

  1. Love the Q&A! I’ve found biking in Edinburgh to be exhausting. Especially coming from flat lands of Houston (although admittedly, I never biked outdoors there either). I force myself to do it when a bus or walking isn’t a reasonable option because my boyfriend’s car is a manual and I don’t know how to drive it yet.

    I haven’t had much homesickness yet, but I do wish I could be back in Texas for college football season. Just not the same in Edinburgh!

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