Well, I can sit back and breathe and say I am finally glad yesterday is over and done with. What a nightmare. I spent the majority of the day (until about 7 p.m.) with Cameron tattooed to my left hip, he felt awful all day long and I’m sure he was confused about what his little body was doing to him. The vomiting subsided the night before (thankfully), but he nursed a head and stomach ache from Haiti all day long. I know this because Bryan did too. He ended up taking Excedrin Migraine to finally stop the nonsense. On the upswing, the day took on a much brighter note when the FedEx man showed up with a package–the kind he had to punch those obnoxious 15+ numbers into his wee machine, smile and hand the box over. I say obnoxious because I once had to phone the FedEx 800-number to track a package and spent an annoying ten minutes on the phone talking to the automated robot machine trying in vain to sound like an American because it bloody couldn’t understand my accent. I was forwarded to a real person in the end. I suppose there’s a plus side in there somewhere.
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The plan now, is to answer as many of your questions as I can and hit the thirteen. I’ll post more answers soon.
1. Laura asked:
Would you move back to Scotland if you could?
I’ve thought about this a lot, as has Bryan. Not any serious contemplation though. I would, but I would want to live somewhere a little less built-up, maybe in a small town (I highly doubt I’d move back to Greenock, there’s no point). As it happens, my husband’s employer has locations all over the UK and it is entirely possible to relocate. My biggest motivation to stay here is the paycheck. I know he’d be paid a lot less than he is right now and I’d be forced to work somewhere like Greggs (a bakery chain). And THAT would be so awful…
2. Mumof4 asked:
What is the question/comment about Scotland that you get over here that bugs you the most?
I haven’t really had any questions that bugged me, but one that always makes me laugh goes a bit like this:
“My family is from the Buchanan line from Edinburgh, do you know them?” Short of saying, “Well, Scotland (with the rest of the UK) is the size of Oregon with a population of 6,000,000–chances are, I don’t know them.” I usually just smile and say “No, sorry.”
I had one girl I worked with ask me if we celebrated Christmas in Scotland, I wasn’t really prepared for that one.
3. Steve asked:
When you make your trip to Scotland, will Cameron be treated to Gerber’s haggis? Surely that’s a more popular flavor over there than, say, spinach.
If they made Stovies flavoured food, I would totally buy it for him. Of course, I’d probably end eating it. Stovies = stew made from sausage meat and potatoes (with vegetables).
4. IfMomSaysOK asked:
What was one of our strange American sayings that gave you the most trouble when you first moved here?
Just one? I can’t just leave it at one, it’s not possible.
Jumper. Yet another word for sweater in the UK. I was told, “I love your jumper” by a friend in 90 degrees weather. I responded (incredulously), “I’m not wearing a jumper!” “Yes you are!” Turns out I didn’t know all the American words I thought I did. I haven’t said the word ‘pinafore’ in years now.
Fanny. I’d get so offended when someone used that word in front of me. I still can’t bring myself to call a Bum Bag a Fanny Pack. I can’t believe I even typed all that.
Addendum – years ago someone called me a fanny because they knew it would offend me, so in retaliation (because the word means nothing to me), I called them a douche bag. (Sorry I made you read that!)
There’s still words I don’t know the meaning of because they haven’t come up in every day life. Recently I had to ask (on the sly) what a swap meet was.
5-8. thesuburbanscrawl asked:
How much of the U.S. have you seen in the years you’ve been here? What are some of your favorite cities?
Apart from the places I have seen, I’ve been in most of the airports of the places I really want to see: Chicago, New York, Boston… But, I love San Francisco, San Jose, Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe (NV side). Las Vegas was pretty awesome too (in the non-American ‘awesome’ way). One of the coolest things I’ve done was standing in the Penn State stadium. It was ginormous. I’d love to visit the south too.
Other than family and friends, what do you miss the most about Scotland?
I miss the history behind the buildings; seeing old and new architecture blended together seamlessly, especially in Glasgow. I took it for granted. I also miss public transport and being able to walk anywhere within a reasonable amount of time (and also without the risk of killing myself). I miss talking as fast as I used to and rolling my Rs. I stopped because I got tired of hearing how ‘cute’ it was.I miss a decent curry and chip shops. Knowing the names of cuts of meat (because those are different too), British TV adverts and decent chocolate.
What assumptions did you make about the US before coming here, that ended up being totally wrong? What about the ones that ended up being totally right?
That’s a hard one and I’ve been thinking hard trying to remember that far back. I know this sounds strange, but I think one assumption I made was that there’d be less countryside than there is. Only being exposed to New York, Boston, Chicago and California (generally speaking) on TV, I assumed it was mostly all like that. I also assumed that food labelling wouldn’t be all that different. How wrong was I the first time I went to buy milk and stood staring at it wondering what on earth 1% milk was? What was the other 99%–water? Needless to say, I walked off with entirely the wrong thing (looking for ‘semi-skimmed’) and invariably poured Half n Half (single cream to you Brits) on my cereal the next morning. I can laugh now… I can’t think of any that I was right about, but if I do, I’ll post it later.
9. (the other) Laura asked:
Do you feel socialised medicine is as evil as most/all American’s do?
I wouldn’t say I think it’s evil, but it certainly has its flaws. The waiting lists for patients in the UK for routine surgeries is abhorrible. It’s also easier to see a specialist here without having to jump through all the red tape to get there. I prefer the preventive care here too, i.e. if my Mum was over here, she’d be screened for colon cancer because her mother developed it. I miss being able to walk into the doctor’s office and not having to pay him/her just to talk to them. I also miss not having to wait an hour+ (at times) to be taken back and seen.
10. Long Aye-Lander asked:
What kind of questions do Americans ask you when they hear your accent?
The #1 question is: “Are you from Ireland?”
I’ve thought about making a t-shirt on threadless.com that reads: “No. I’m not freakin Irish.”
I went and saw August Rush with friends a few months back. Friends who, by the way, have been around me for almost eighteen months now. At the end I remarked:
“I’m so glad that Jonathan Rhys Meyers was in that film and you could all hear an Irish accent!”
“Why? Is it different from yours?”
I was a little flabbergasted, but managed to squeak out, “Yeah, they talk funny.”
Another question is, “Is your husband from there too?” On just a few occasions I’ve responded, “Actually, if he was from there, I wouldn’t be here.” I find it interesting that some people seemed quite shocked that I would say that. Like a few other ex-pats that I’ve come across, I’m what you could call an ‘accidental’ ex-pat. I didn’t come here for a better life like the majority of immigrants, when it comes down to it, the UK and the US are really quite similar. Minus the culture shock!
11 & 12. GlassHalfFull asked:
Has it been hard to make new friends since you moved to Montana?
Yes and no. People are really nice here, but tend to keep to themselves. The biggest age range here are retirees, because quite frankly, it’s a great place to retire. It’s serene and beautiful. I know my neighbours to see, but they mostly keep to themselves. I think that’s another thing that surprised me about the States, people don’t just ‘pop over’ for no reason, to sit and chat or play board games together or something. It’s a way of life in the UK and it was a bit of a shocker when I got here and realised it just wasn’t something that was done all that often.
Other than church friends and people Bryan works with, my only other ‘friend’ is my Pampered Chef consultant. We’re both sarcastic INFJ’s so we hit it right off. And to think I only went to one party as a gesture for a friend. I’ve spent way too much money with her. I also ended up hosting a party and the kickback was awesome.
Do you feel comfortable identifying your religious affiliation/beliefs (you’ve mentioned church in your blog), or is that something that you prefer to keep private?
I’ve never really spoken about it at length or mentioned it in-depth, but we’re both LDS. My Mum and Gran and older brother all joined when I was 3. I haven’t always been what we call ‘active’ or practicing, but came back to it in my late teens. I’ve been to many other denominational churches and participated in services, but felt the most comfortable there. I wouldn’t say it defines who I am, but rather, refines. My friend count would be a lot less here in Montana were it not for those I associate with outside of Sunday services.
I think that’s another thing I like about the States, that there are so many people who are religious in their own right and believe in God. That’s really hard to find in Scotland. It’s also another assumption I made about America that I was totally wrong about. I thought there would be more agnostics and unbelievers.
13. Kathryn asked (and I’ll count this as one!):
Do you like haggis? Have you ever seen “So I Married An Axe Murderer”? And if yes, is Mike Meyers Scottish accent accurate?
Yes, yes and kinda. More than anything he got the culture down to a T.
I generally only ate haggis once a year on Burns’ Night (25 January). I didn’t learn until later on in life what was in it, but it didn’t change my opinion of it. It’s mostly oatmeal and spices. The ‘bag’ it is cooked in isn’t eaten, but is a way to cook its contents. My Mum used to fry it after parboiling it, because, you know that’s what we do best in Scotland, fry stuff!
I loved in the film where the piper was playing the Rod Stewart song, that totally cracked me up. I think the best fake Scottish accent out there is the woman who plays Professor McGonigle in Harry Potter, Maggie Smith. She’s actually English. When I first heard the girl that plays Cho Chang talk I almost teared up because I felt ‘normal’. Bless!