Tuesday, 22 May 2012

10 Things to Love and Dislike Living in Scotland


I've been living in Scotland for over 4 yrs now. Time has flown by. With everything, there is good and bad and living in Scotland is no different. There is so much to love about living abroad but also much to get used to. I feel I can make a list of the pros and cons of living in Scotland.

EDIT: This post is from my point of view--an American in Scotland. It is meant just for fun. I hope you'll see it that way!

10 things I love about living in Scotland:
  1. The Scots average 4-6 weeks of paid vacation per year. They work to live not live to work. Everybody needs a good rest to perform at their best. The British are doing it right guys!
  2. Public transportation is amazing. I live a few blocks from our train station and I can easily pop into the city. I love this. Our bus system is also terrific. Everything is available to get to via public transportation. Coming from a country that doesn't have it readily available unless you live in a big city this is a big win for me.
  3. National Health Care. There, I said it. We've been blessed to have our medical needs met at minimal cost. We love our Dr and have only good things to say about the NHS {so far...}.
  4. Historical buildings cover this country. They don't tear anything down. It is preserved. The Scots have a powerful sense of self. They know where they came from and it is important to not forget. Not to mention that makes for pretty scenery! I love old buildings.
  5. I love sausage rolls! The sausage is wrapped in a buttery flakey pastry that melts in your mouth. America, you need to get on board with this.
  6. Travel is cheap. It better be since we have all those vacation days to use! Because we are so close to mainland Europe there are always a plethora of flights available on the cheap. We flew to Paris for 4p (7 cents). No hidden taxes or charges. We also flew to Spain for £20 ($32). Love that!
  7. We have castles!! Real castles! 
  8. It is beautiful here. It is so green and almost fairytale-ish at times. 
  9. The weather. We stay pretty mild. Not too cold and not too hot.
  10. Deep Fried Haggis. Give me all of it! YUM!
10 things I dislike about living in Scotland:
  1. The weather. While the amount of rain really isn't the problem, the lack of sunshine is. When you aren't used to one day of sunshine per month your body goes through a physical shock. A lot of expats experience seasonal affective disorder. It's taken a long time to get used to.
  2. Lack of family and friends close by. This is an obvious one but still. When you move abroad you are the one that needs to keep relationships going. You'd be surprised how much too.
  3. Convenience is a thing of the past. Stores close early, tumble dryer's take forever, and not having a car makes quick trips a things of the past. 
  4. The weather. I'm adding this one again for emphasis. I don't care if you love the cold, rain and fog. It will be an adjustment. It is different than anything you've experienced before.
  5. Cultural differences are hard to get used to. You find yourself always having to change to accommodate your new country and the people in it. You must or you couldn't function in another country. It is hard to change the way you've always done things and see things a different way. This is also an adjustment period.
  6. Real estate is expensive. Not to mention the size of property you get is...let's just say miniature.
  7. The NHS. This one is on both lists. There is always a waiting list. For everything.
  8. Everything is smaller here. The flats, cars, washing machine, and even our refrigerator!
  9. Petrol (gas) is $10 a gallon. This is why public transport is a must. 
  10. Lack of Mexican food. I guess they're too far from 'the border' to know what it is. This is a travesty. 
{You can see more Things to Love and Dislike posts here}

91 comments:

  1. I'm Scottish and lived the first 22 years of my life there before moving to Cardiff. Agree with EVERYTHING you wrote - especially about the weather - except for the sausage rolls. I'll happily let you have my share of those!

    There used to be a nice little mexican restaurant on the Old High Street (behing the back of the Hilton hotel) in Perth, I used to go there for a fix.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love you, Mary! Glad you can see the good and the real :). Are you guys going to be moving somewhere?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're not moving any time soon. I'd liek to live in Spain someday though. So would LD! We'll see what opportunities come our way.

      Delete
  3. I'd love to visit Scotland, but I don't think I'd like to live there. I couldn't cope with having lots of rain and not enough sun. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The weather does take some getting used to!

      Delete
    2. I have Scottish ancestry. Hearing bagpipes and seeing rolling fields of lush grass, dark forests and the old castles of my ancestral homeland makes me long to see it someday.

      I live in Texas. The Blair family moved to Canada from Scotland in the early 19th century, and how we ended up this close to the Alamo is beyond me.

      But if you know anything about Texas weather, you'd know it's too hot, too much sun, and doesn't rain enough.

      It's not very green, not much fresh water that doesn't look like mud, and I would love to spend a summer in Scotland.

      Delete
  4. I love that you posted this! I am a complete nut for anything and anyone Scottish and to learn about it from someone who can do a comparison is great.
    I too am a "transplant"- Arizona to Washington State ;) and as much as I love it here, I still can't find really good Mexican food here and I end up cooking it myself when dh and I get cravings. Btw, Sebastian is adorable!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I think he's pretty cute too!

      Have you ever been to Scotland Brenda? You should come! The Scots love Americans!

      It is a travesty not to have Mexican food in my life. I mean, I make some Old El Paso, but let's be honest...that's not the good stuff!

      Delete
    2. So, would opening a Mexican restaurant be a good business venture? Also, what are race relations like there? I'm a white American, with a mixed race daughter, just wondering if she would have issues..

      Delete
  5. Great list! I agree with all of it, although I've only been a visitor a few times. We're moving there in about a month (as soon as my visa comes through) and I can't wait for all those positives! Hopefully I can deal wit the weather, that's the only part that makes me nervous. I love the rain, but I love my warm sunshine too.

    I'd love to have a cup of coffee with you some time after we arrive! It will be nice to know someone else in my ill fitting American shoes who's also living there. :0)

    Peg
    http://akiltandacamera.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peg,

      I'd LOVE to get together when you get into Scotland! Let me know and we'll meet up!

      Delete
  6. I am Scottish and live on the west coast of this beautiful part of the UK. The weather is changeable which is why we have lovely green lush grass. We do have sun! Clear soft drinking water. Friendly people. I couldn't live in constant high heat. The first thing we remark on as we land in Scotland as we return from holiday is the green grass after the burnt offerings of hot countries. Lovely salmon, great beef.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true Ann! Without all the rain it wouldn't be so lush and green here. Which is worth it. But, I do miss the sun.

      I'll agree with the friendly people! We've got some great friends.

      Delete
  7. It's beautiful there that's for sure! I think I'd love to live there. We've discussed living in Ireland (or visiting at least). Have you been to Ireland before? Are they comparable?

    I'm a fan of rain and can live w/o days of sunshine. The green scenry makes up for it in my mind!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jess, you should really come for a visit! See if you'd like to relocate. If you like rain then Ireland is the perfect place for you! I've not been yet, but people tell me they are comparable. I could take a ferry easily enough. I really should go for a visit!

      Delete
  8. My husband has just told me that his company has taken over another company in Scotland (he doesn't know where yet, but since it is sports retail, I am assuming it is in a larger city) Here I am, on the internet, exploring life in Scotland and I happen upon your blog. First off, thank you for sharing your life and experiences, it is a wonderful glimpse into what real life is like living in Scotland. I am a huge fan of England (been 3 times in 3 yrs) , as well as Ireland, but have never been to Scotland. I noticed you mentioned the weather many times, kind of jokingly, but seriously, how do you personally cope with such dreary weather all the time? I am on the opposite spectrum, I live in Orlando, Fl and deal with sunshine everyday with hot humid weather that drives me nuts! I pray for rainy days just so I don't have to hear the weather man say "oh it's another lovely day in the 90's here in the sunshine state" Is there anything special you do to cope?, maybe a tanning bed or many photos of tropical places conveniently posted? Would you recommend it for families? We have a 9 yr old (well, we have a 27 yr old and an 18 yr old, but one lives in Cali and the other will be in college)Sorry for the long response...just uber curious and my main concern about the possible move is coping with the weather.
    Thanks so much and keep blogging!
    Lisa from Orlando

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lisa!

      The weather is kind of a sore spot with me. I don't mind rain at all. I enjoy it. It's peaceful and it makes for lush green throughout the country. What I mind is the lack of sunshine. Example: I did not see the sun the whole month of July. It rained every single day, and when it wasn't raining it was overcast and grey. That just makes it a bit easier for your mood to be grey as well. The weather is the ONE thing I would change about Scotland. But, when it is good weather it is the best! So nice! Never been a bove 75 degrees.

      I cope by getting out every day. Walking and making sure to do things on the weekend. Making sure that I don't stay inside too much and let the weather dictate how I live. The Scots will tell you, "There is such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing." Dress for it, and you'll be fine! I just try to stay busy! Plus going on lots of holidays to sunny places really helps!

      Let me know if you're moving here!

      Delete
    2. Hi, Lisa and Mary! I am from Winter Haven FL and we are seriously considering a move to Scotland as well. My husband is from Alexandria, which is near Glasgow. Mary, I emailed you separately, by the way. I am super excited about spending a good chunk of my summer getting to know Scotland better. Lisa, any news on your possible move?

      Delete
  9. Hi, Mary! Which city in Scotland do you live in? My husband and I are contemplating moving to Glasgow next year, we'll see how a few things turn out...We have a 7-year-old boy, who will be 8 next year (duh!)and the only thing that worries me is the whole "drinking culture" and the "chavs" :) Should I be worried? I am not really afraid of the weather, because we lived in Vegas for 6 years, before moving up here in Ottawa, Ontario,Canada for the last 4...I hear that when it's -40 here, it is 7C there...wow! I won't mind that rain AT ALL! :) So, whereabouts are you? Regards!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We live just outside Glasgow. The weather stays pretty mild really. We don't have hard winters and we also don't have hot summers.

      Having a son myself I'm worried to see how to teach him right to stay away from the drinking culture here. It is just ...normal here to drink. And to do it at an early age. I'm praying and hoping I can teach him to turn to other activities to use his time.

      Delete
  10. Very good info from you all. My dream is to visit and explore Scotland in it's entirety. I would consider making her my permanent residence too. Clouds and rain are my favorite! I'm a die hard fan of Mexican food though so a lack of it scares me! Is it true that guns are illegal there?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The lack of Mexican food is a travesty!! But we just had a sort of Tex-Mex restaurant open up close to us and we can't get enough! We'll take it.

      Concealed weapons are illegal here, yes. There are hunting rights but you need to jump through a lot of hoops to own a gun. I personally don't know a single person here in Scotland that owns a firearm. It just isn't done.

      Delete
  11. What a fun post! We're planning to move to Scotland for business in about 18 months, so I'm soaking up the information you have to share. New follower so I can learn more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How exciting Ellie!! Please let me know if I can answer any questions for you. I'm here to help.

      Delete
  12. Whoa...what about the guns? Are they ALL illegal, or just concealed??
    Oh, and hello :) I'm loving your blog...ran across it b/c my husband and I are considering making the move in a few years. I've always been drawn to Scotland, it's my roots calling me home I guess. My hubby lived there for about 5 years when he was younger.

    We are looking for a more conservative area in which to live...how's your area around Glasgow?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be honest I've never even seen a gun here. Ever. I wouldn't know where you could buy one and I don't know anyone who has one. I'm not the proper authority to ask about it. I don't know the laws but I do know that no one I know has one. I do think there are SOME hunting seasons but only in a few places. Those would be the only places where guns would be allowed. You can't own a hand gun here.

      Glasgow is a nice area. Plenty of nice small cities to live in. I'd like to move closer to the coast or more north. Maybe closer to Edinburgh.

      Delete
    2. As a Scot, I was interested to read to debate and delighted that so many people are considering coming to live in Scotland - you are just the type of citizen we need to make the quality of life here EVEN BETTER!

      Re the rain, the trick is to be properly dressed for it - once you have mastered that, it is so good to walk in the lovely countryside with the rain splashing down on your face - refreshing!

      Re the gun issue, I extracted the following stats from the internet:-
      No of guns per 100 residents: US - 90 Scotland - 5.5
      No of gun deaths per 100,000 residents: US - 10.3 UK - 0.25
      No of violent deaths per 100,000 residents: US - 6.5 UK - 1.1

      From these, you can see that Scotland is a far safer place to live - you are 6 times more likely to die a violent death in the USA, and 16 times more likely to encounter someone with a gun.

      Ernie

      Delete
    3. You have less violence because you are a more homogenous society, American black youths make up only about 5% of the population yet they commit 50% of all murders in America. This is due to the demise of the black family, with 71% of all black children being born out of wedlock, and a welfare system that encourages it. Guns are not the problem, people are. Plus, its a lot easier to control a country of 6.5 million than it is a country of 330 million that is 115 times larger. My family is from Scotland and I have family living there. I plan on retiring in Scotland if I can. I thank God for Scotland. But, America is the engine that drives the world (with the help of a lot of Scottish immigrants). Without America you would be writing your comments by oil lamp in a thatched cottage and sending it snail mail hoping it would get delivered before your average life expectancy of 50 years ran out. You should get a book called "THE 5000 YEAR LEAP" it outlines how America in a little over 200 years has advanced mankind/civilization 5000 years when compared to all that has gone before.

      Delete
    4. I see that Skye quotes the tired argument of US gunowners everywhere, i.e. "Guns are not the problem etc." I agree that the socio-economic factors mentioned by Skye all have a bearing on the issue of violence, but perhaps we are a more peaceful and homogenous society precisely because we have developed a society that does not require guns for general protection. I have every cofidence that, someday, the USA will get to where we are.

      Regarding the contribution made by the USA which he mentions, and his oil lamp & thatched cottage theory, it is apparent that he does not know much about the impact on the world of the Scottish Enlightenment, and of Adam Smith - the author of Wealth of Nations - who was considered the Father of Economics. I recommend that he reads the following webpage which details the contribution of the Scots:-

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_inventions_and_discoveries

      In conclusion, I add a quote of Sir Winston Churchill's:-

      'Of all the small nations of this earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind.’

      In the spirit of the Season I wish Skye, and people everywhere, a Guid Hogmanay and a Peaceful 2015!

      Delete
    5. I see Ernie totally ignored the evidence and facts like most liberals do. He claims to note that socio-economic conditions are part of the problem then makes the tired old argument that if they only laid down their guns there would be brotherhood and peace and children could play in the fields, the elderly could walk the streets at night with no fear..lol. I would love to do an experiment with Ernie. I would move in large groups of gang bangers, radical muslims, child molesters, and people who just hate Ernie for WHO he is, into his neighborhood, and, make sure they are UNARMED. Then watch what they do to his family and himself because he is just one man without any weapons. The police can't be there all the time Ernie. They beat up your son, threaten to rape your daughter, steal everything you can't lock down. What are you going to do ERNIE??..oh let me guess...you'll move...run and hide..lol..save your patronizing rhetoric for the UN-informed ERNIE....if you lived in medieval times where the "biggest" man in the village made demands you'd be licking his boots (back to being a serf )...you would have no guns to make it equal. You have lived a sheltered life....and you also ignored my comments about the Scottish immigrants being an important part of America's progress....here's another book I recommend ERNIE.."How the Scots Invented the Modern World" by Arthur Herman..I am very aware of how western Europe's poorest nation created our world and everything in it..that's why I'm proud of my Scottish heritage...you should be...instead you are espousing far left loon ideas....I can't believe you have the blood of men that fought at Bannockburn in your veins, you sound English.

      Delete
    6. Dear, oh dear! I was looking forward to a serious discussion about gun control, and am so disappointed that Mr/Mrs/Miss or Ms Skye decended to personal insults.

      As Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the celebrated French Philosopher once said
      "Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong".

      In light of this, it is obvious that I am wasting my time so this is my last contribution. However, as I am a great admirer of the US and its people, I will finish by wishing all of its citizens Peace for the future.

      Delete
  13. Oooh, my family is all from Paisley and East Kilbride and my husband and I plan on visiting by 2015 and I would LOVE to move there myself. Are you right in Glasgow then?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Nice post Mary, and I agree with most, but I also stay outside of Glasgow and I find the weather to be quite nice! I can handle rain and I prefer it to being unbearably hot and humid back home in Barrie, Canada during the summers. I have been an expat in Scotland for over 10 years now and I wouldn't dream of moving back to Canada. This country is devine. I love everything about it. The healthcare, schooling, scenery and weather. If anyone wants to know more then get in touch.




    @AngieTM I am in Alexandria as well, so get in touch if you would like to know more about local life here. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Katie, I would love to get in touch. I spent a month there this summer. Enjoyed it. Tried to contact you via your blog, I am on Facebook Mary Thomson-Marin.

      Delete
    2. I am planning to go to Scotland next year for 6 mos. I am a 74 year old woman in good health and I want to do something really neat in my 75th year. I visited Scotland for 2 weeks 2 years ago and I loved it. Any help you could give me concerning accommodations, living expenses, good towns or villages to live in. Thank you, pat

      Delete
  15. my great grandparents were from edinburgh scotland and I always got to hear from my grandmother how adorable and sweet they were. I would love to visit scotland. The castles my god and the green landscapes...how romantic. I need a change. Im from Cali but now live in Peru. im ready to leave this god forsaken country. lol thanks for the great info.

    ReplyDelete
  16. my great grandparents were from edinburgh scotland and I always got to hear from my grandmother how adorable and sweet they were. I would love to visit scotland. The castles my god and the green landscapes...how romantic. I need a change. Im from Cali but now live in Peru. im ready to leave this god forsaken country. lol thanks for the great info.

    ReplyDelete
  17. OMG just found your blog! I love it. hahhaha This list is amazing. I've always wanted to move across the pond... but unfortunately... my bills wo't pay themselves. This is a great list and I happen to LOVE the rain. I see why people have little cars... 10 a gallon!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm American and my husband is Scottish. We've lived in a small villiage outside of Glasgow for 10 1/2 years now. I moved over with my son when he was 9 and he left to go to uni in America when he was just 16. Even though he has some very good friends here, he refuses to ever come back. He hated the lifestyle here and as he was not a drinker there was not much left to do. There are no coffee shop (or hardly any other shops) open past 5pm, so the kids just filter in to the pubs out of bordom. Even in our tiny little upscale villiage the shopsand businesses have to put metal guards over thier windows to keep vandals and theives out at night like it is downtown Chicago or something,due to the few drunken bad apples here. England call theirs Chavs,we call ours Neds (non-educated delinquents), but whatever you call them it means you can't go out walking at night. What a shame.

    For me it's mainly the grayness that makes Scotland a bit unbearable. For this reason I have now seen every freind I've had from other countries leave; Americans, South Africans, Austrailians, French, Spanish,and Canadian. I'm the only one left and I don't know how much longer I can last. Thank God for my lovely Scottish friends! I just came back from 5 weeks in America with my now 20 year old son who has been wanting us to move back for 4 years now. It breaks my heart to think of him getting married and having kids and I wont get to be as involved in their lives as I want to be because of the distance between us.

    I loved Scotland for the first 2 years. Now I'm just worn down. The People are lovely and it's pretty here, but having no sun takes it's toll far more than you'd think.

    I don't mean to be negative, but no matter where you go,even if you don't love it,there is still no place like home (& this goes for my British expat friends who have moved back from America to the UK - It's hard move to a different culture and country for everyone on both sides I think).

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am Scottish born and bread and I love this post and the comments. One thing I will say is Irn Bru (Iron Brew). I live in Edinburgh which tends to more wind than rain, you will get use to the weather though. We actually have a great Mexican restaurant called Nandos. There are coffee shops all over the city. I read above something about chavs, This sort of kids are really only in certain areas. No where in Edinburgh is that bad for Chavs, plus there is Police cameras everywhere so it's safe here.

    Scotland is more a socialist place so if you have a UK citizenship too then life is easier when it comes to money.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am Scottish born and bread and I love this post and the comments. One thing I will say is Irn Bru (Iron Brew). I live in Edinburgh which tends to more wind than rain, you will get use to the weather though. We actually have a great Mexican restaurant called Nandos. There are coffee shops all over the city. I read above something about chavs, This sort of kids are really only in certain areas. No where in Edinburgh is that bad for Chavs, plus there is Police cameras everywhere so it's safe here.

    Scotland is more a socialist place so if you have a UK citizenship too then life is easier when it comes to money.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi! I just found your blog and it made me happy to see your list! My family and I are moving to Aberdeen next month from the States and I'm excited and overwhelmed about everything. Thanks for making it more down to earth. I think I'll eat Mexican every day before we leave ;) Do you have any advice about what to bring/not bring? I have three small children and my husband's assignment is for 2 years. I'm just hoping that I can use your expertise to help prepare myself for our adventure!

    Thanks, beth
    reid and beth at Hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beth, go look at aberdeenwife.blogspot.com...she posts lists about what to bring! She doesn't have kids though. We just got a transfer to Aberdeen...getting paperwork in place now...we're bringing two kids and a dog and I'm researching my heart out these days! Lol

      Delete
  22. Hello! What a great blog! Husband is scottish...and we live in england, i m from the mediterranean, but we consider moving there to be close to one family at least: we have 2 children. I m just v v afraid of the weather. I want to spend time outside w children. It is also a big leap to move w children. Too much thinking about where they can have tge best quality of life! Will keep following this. THANK YOU,

    ReplyDelete
  23. fuck Mexican food and small stuff, the cold weather and gorgeous nature that are the most important and exciting things, i like Scotland very much, i hope some day i''l be there and nothing will drag me out of there.
    good article

    ReplyDelete
  24. This blog is wonderful, thanks for doing it, Mary. I was born in Airdrie, Scotland and came to Canada at age 11. I'm now 50 and want to go back to Scotland. I don't like the heat and I do NOT like our extreme winters here but I have a 14 year old son and wonder how he would handle things and I hear about Glasgow and surrounding towns having a high crime rate. How do you feel about your child growing up there?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Airdrie! Not too far from me. I'm in Motherwell.

      Canada does have really harsh winters. We are mild year round which is something I like. We don't go extreme from either side.

      As for the crime rate, I don't even notice. I don't think it is higher than any place I've lived before and I feel very safe. We've never had any problems.

      The only thing I worry about my son being raised here in the youth tend to be very disrespectful. I hope we can teach him to not be that way.

      Delete
  25. If you'd asked me 10 years ago I'd have moved to Scotland in shot - after living there, I certainly wouldn't recommend it. I know it's not a popular thing to say but forewarned is forearmed. I lived in one of the areas with the lowest crime rate - yet we had one murder, one case of arson and one of paedophilia in 2 years. I guess it depends on how you report the crime rates! The weather aspects, depending on where you go, can be improved on some areas but you'll rarely get even a decent English summer. And you have to remember it's a different country: they have a different legal system, a different goverment and a different NHS (people forget that one) and although you might get in to see your doc quicker, the standards seem very basic. They do have more holidays - local ones - so wait till you try to get anything important done. One is on holiday on Monday and someone in a different village is off on Friday - nightmare if you are moving house. If you move to the outlying areas, it looks like postage charges will now be through the roof - private companies will cherry pick. They did before but it will get worse. Then you have to use hauliers, so expect a hefty bill from them regularly if you need anything from pet food to a vacum cleaner, delivered. Expect your plumber to cost more, your surveyor to charge what he wants, to have a limited selection of veterinary surgeons - in fact, unless you are in a big city, a limited selection of everything. Seriously, who needs to travel for 4 hours to get to a hospital or a dentist????
    Make life easier on yourself, at least move somewhere sunny if you're going to endure all that.
    I will quote my removal man when I moved out - Jesus love, if I had to stay here for more than 2 weeks I'd be asking what I'd done to deserve such punishment.
    It was August, he was freezing.

    ReplyDelete
  26. hello here mary i just find your bloge too hours ago and im moving to scotland next month to aberdeen to be exact and i really know nothing about scotland at all i mean zero informations .
    iam a moroccain guy my name is youness
    so i really would love to know aout this city , weather,food, prices,flats or houses to rent , transports, and any usefull info , i know its cold as hell and ppl are nice but i dunno about how to live
    please if you have any thing to help me with ill be so thankfull.

    ReplyDelete
  27. i meant hello there mary¨¨

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Mary, I just stumbled across your blog looking for something else. It's so funny to see ourselves as other see us!
    As a Native Scot who has lived abroad, France, Cyprus and worked throughout the Middle East it never occurred to me that anyone would find Scotland odd or foreign. The fact that you love sausage rolls and the transport system cracks me up! What do you think of Lorn sausage (the flat square kind)?
    Having lived in hot countries, I found out that I love the Scottish weather, where else can you enjoy four seasons in one day? There's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes. That's why we all wear layers. Have you noticed how fast Scots appear in Shorts & T-shirts within seconds of the sun coming out, even if it's 8 Celcius? i hope you've enjoyed this summer, we've all been reminiscing about the summer of '76, the last time we had a good summer ;)
    I'd love to know where you're from and roughly where in Scotland you are now and what we do differently that you have had to adapt to. BTW you can buy american kitchen appliances. My Sister-in-law has just fitted her tiny Scottish kitchen out with the most massive Fridge/freezer I've ever seen. I don't have a freezer, can't see the point of them.
    Have you been to a petrifyed fort yet? They are very good.
    I used to write a blog when I liven on Arran. Now I'm back from my wanders and living on the mainland I miss island life. If you find mainland Scotland a bit weird you should try island living! http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/islandblogging/blogs/005056/archive/2006/10.shtml
    Failte and lang mae yer lum reek :) xxx

    ReplyDelete
  29. I moved from Edinburgh, Scotland to St Louis Missouri back in 2009 and the change has been some what..... of a roller coaster ride.
    I loved it at first, the first year was amazing then everything became normal and I hated it for about a further year. I miss my friends and family, like you I dont have any family here. I have been back twice for a vacation and I cannot wait to go back again in 2015. Life here is a lot different, the drivers are very aggressive and hardly any of them know how to use signals. The food is great but the portion size is way out of control, the slight weight gain is inevitable. I get 13 paid days vacation per year compared to my 5 weeks back in Scotland. The weather is great but summer gets a little too hot for my liking. I miss the rain.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Like others I just stumbled onto this but I find it very interesting. I'm dreaming of moving to from Louisiana to Scotland but at age 60 am concerned it will be difficult if not impossible to find and be offered a job there. I appreciate your info very much - being single I don't think the 'efficiency' size of things would bother me - I don't need a great deal of space. My biggest challenge would be the winters I think, not used to severe (snow) winter weather. I'm not a sun worshipper and actually enjoy cold, dreary weather if Im indoors with a fireplace (and a whisky). I do have some friends there, in Ireland and England so I think they would help make the transition easier. I see my family - Mom, brother and sister, typically only 2 or 3 times a year anyway so a flight home for Christmas or some holiday would work - and I lived in CA for 3 years and never got home to Texas to see family so I feel I could cope. Thanks for the insights. Hope I can make it happen.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Im scottish, have lived here all my 34 years, great history and amazing scenery, but the weather can be very depressing. I have two young kids and find that during autumn and winter we spend most of the time indoors due to the copious amounts of rain. To put it into perspective, we have had only 5 dry days in the last 3 months, i would leave in a minuet if i could, u only have one life, and i hate the fact that i have to live mine under almost constant grey skies. Also we have a lot of drug addicts and alcoholics. Hope this has helped.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Im scottish, have lived here all my 34 years, great history and amazing scenery, but the weather can be very depressing. I have two young kids and find that during autumn and winter we spend most of the time indoors due to the copious amounts of rain. To put it into perspective, we have had only 5 dry days in the last 3 months, i would leave in a minuet if i could, u only have one life, and i hate the fact that i have to live mine under almost constant grey skies. Also we have a lot of drug addicts and alcoholics. Hope this has helped.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I am American. Live in Florida(humid & hot), have lived in Montana (loved it until February, by then desperate for sunshine), Texas (so hot), Georgia(hot), Louisiana (humid & hot).....my point is no matter where you find yourself, you will have likes and dislikes....there is no perfect place. We have lots of sunshine, and with that, lots of homeless drug addicts and alcoholics. Too much sun brings with it skin cancer....to much rain, mudslides, too much snow, avalanches, when you have too much heat you tend to stay indoors where you run air conditioning with very expensive electric bills. Enjoy your rain, history, and scenery...send off for a seasonal light for indoor sunshine ....:)

    ReplyDelete
  34. I plan on moveing to scotland once im done with highschool me and my collie puppy once i get her

    I love the idea of lush grass and i enjoy rain,i think it would be great to ride a train sometime

    It seems so peace full, and i cant wait to arrive there

    I mean it will be another year off maybe two but that is were i wanna live

    I love Minnesota but, tbh for me there is to much drama and such, as well as to many people

    So just someplace calm and quiet but also is beautiful and unique (for my drawings)

    Scotland sounds perfect

    and no mexican food, sounds ok with me

    ReplyDelete
  35. I am a scot who has lived in the states for almost 40 years. I go home to visit family every year and I still miss Scotland very much. I agree with some of the negatives regarding the rain. Yes it rains a lot, but usually it is the on and off kind. The climate is actually temparate with the gulf stream flowing of the west coast keeping things warm. You will find Palm trees believe it or not. Weather is changeable, you can get all four seasons in one day. I have been there in December when it has been 60 f and been there in July when it was 46f. Keep in mind summer days are long days and winter days you don't get a whole lot of daylight. That's were the warm cosy pubs with wood fires are popular. One thing I noticed among al my family and friends is that they will not drink and drive. Rhea always deesignatee a driver or take a taxi . I admire them for that. As far as gas being exxpensive, they use a measurement called an imperial gallon, so you are getting more gas. We recently spent two weeks there and our rental was a fairly large car and we only had to fill it once. We were all over the Highlands, Lowlands and into Glasgow and Stirling many times. The distances between towns, and Ocean is short . In the USA where I live its a 50 mile drive to the closest mall. Now the stores in Scotland do tend to close early. But in the cities they stay open longer and at least one night a week until 8 or nine. These short hours are so the employees can get home and spend time with their families. I think it's rather civil actually allowing moms to get home and make dinner for the kids. The Scots are very big on walking and cycling and there are an amazing amount of paths connecting villages, towns and cities. In Glasgow the Glaswegians are very friendly and will usually go out their way to help you with directions etc. Sometimes will invite you home for a meal or even a bed if your stuck. After this last trip I really feel that I want to go home there. I am in my 60's have cancer. I love where I live on Amelia Island Florida, but all my siblings are there in Scotland Wish the housig costs were lower. Well good luck to all of you who take the plunge, at least to try it for a while, you have nothing to lose and a lot of knowledge to gain from the culture, superior education and . Thanks for your well informed blog Mary.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hey my family and I are talking about moving to Scotland, my husband's grandparents we born in Scotland. So we are trying to find out how we can move there. We are in a small town in Alabama. And I can't stand it here anymore, do you have any information on the paperwork or anything to help us get over there? Thanks..

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hey my family and I are talking about moving to Scotland, my husband's grandparents we born in Scotland. So we are trying to find out how we can move there. We are in a small town in Alabama. And I can't stand it here anymore, do you have any information on the paperwork or anything to help us get over there? Thanks..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Penelope,

      Please read this post on 9 Different Ways to Move to Scotland:
      http://marydebastos.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/9-different-ways-you-can-move-to.html

      You will find a link to the UK Ancestry Visa which you would be eligible to apply for. Good luck!

      Delete
  38. All I have to say is thanks to Dr Ekaka ekakaspelltemple@yahoo.com I saw my results from day one. Not only is he very nice, but very professional. He tries to get to your spell as soon as he can, and if you have any questions he answers them very quickly. He is not a waste of time or money, if your ready to make a change in your life He is the right person to go to. If your looking for love I recommend his Counjor Love Spell. good luck and I know you will be as happy as I am with the results.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I want to move to Scotland so bad. I was talked out of it by some friends who no longer talk to me. I should have listened to my gut and stayed when I was there in 2007. All I hear is negativity about moving there and jobs and being specialized. Is a BA in Sociology specialized?

    I'll get there one way or another. :)

    ReplyDelete
  40. Dear friends, my name is Sandra Luis from Canada, i am into business,but it was not bringing out profit as it was supposed to, life was not what living cos things was bad for me financially, i have a beautiful wife with four kids to take care off. i sold my car and most of my property just to keep earns mate and still things was not going easily for me. so i complained to a friend of mine who said he knew a powerful spell caster from Africa called Dr ATILA who can perform magical money spell or good luck or automatic promotion in office, making someone love you back, spells to bring close one in jail or lost back home,healing spell etc.that help straightened his brother life from taking hard drugs. At first i was confused and doubtful, then i decided to give a try and did what Dr ATILA told me to do, to my surprise 3 days later things started going well for me, i got what i ever bargained for, my business was flourishing like never before, i now have enough money to take good care of my family and we are living happily,I thank His greatness .atilahealinghome@yahoo.com for bringing my source to hope and joy with his powerful spell,well if you want to be a living testimony like me or interested in any spell casting you can contact Dr ATILA via this email atilahealinghome@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  41. haha to me sausages are a con - I eat vegetarian most of the time and lets just say that Scots aren't the most veggie people ever! I HATE tumble dryers so bad - to wash/dy my sheets it took an average of 8 hours..like wth! And I completely agree - smaller isn't more efficient, it's just smaller! In my first flat, when I saw my freezer I laughed to tears - it's like you can't even put ice cream or a pizza in there - what's the point!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know how I missed your comment, but I'm laughing now! Scotland isn't known for it's vegetables that's for sure! Ha! Just think mushy peas for everything. Don't even get me started on my tumble dryer. When my sister saw my fridge/freezer she couldn't stop talking about it for 30 min. Then again everything she went to the kitchen. It's crazy small.

      Delete
  42. My name is Rebecca Miller I'm from united state, i have been married for 4 years and i have a break up with my husband 3 months ago and i was worried and so confuse because i love him so much. i was really going too depressed and a friend directed me to this spell caster Dr. Laco and i made all my problems known to him and he told me not to worry that he was going to make my husband to come back to me and in just 48hours i receive a call from my husband and he was appealing that i should come back to the house. i have never in my life believe in spell and but now it have just helped me and i am now so happy. All Thanks to him and if you also want to have your Husband back to yourself here !! his emailAddress(lacopowerfulspellcaster@yahoo.com) i am so happy to testify of your work and kindness

    ReplyDelete
  43. Quick question,
    Since you say the weather is really bad what type of clothing to do you advise? Do you have a winter and summer closet or tend to wear the same items in all weathers?
    Thanks
    Tamara

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it's not so bad as it is the same thing all the time. Think spring/fall/winter but mild temps in each category. Get things to layer. All 4 seasons in one day. I generally keep the same wardrobe all year long.

      Delete
  44. Love your honest list... I'm considering moving to Scotland, so your blog has been extremely helpful. I will say though, I absolutely adore rainy days (and the colder the better), so I don't think the weather would be a problem for me. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Everyone think they'll be the exception to the rule and the weather won't bother them. But, I'm here to tell you the truth. It WILL effect you. It isn't the rain and colder temps. It is actually the lack of sunshine. No matter how much you love the rain/cold your body isn't actually used to being without sunlight. It goes into a sort of shock. Going a full month without seeing the sun shine does something to your body. It's a physical and mental reaction not just the fact that some people enjoy rain better than others. Lots of expats start experiencing seasonal depression.

      Delete
  45. I did have a little chuckle at how you were fascinated by sausage rolls. We have them here in Australia too xD

    ReplyDelete
  46. Left Edinburgh for Orlando in 98 and still sound like I've just arrived - my new adopted country shows me the benefits of becoming Independent ;)

    ReplyDelete
  47. Lack of Mexican food, lack of family, cultural differences, it's not about Scotland but it's about living aboard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you're exactly right!! it's not Scotland's fault!!! and if you move abroad you know what will be missing!!

      Delete
    2. I'm sure a lot of what I have to say translates into living abroad in any country but because I only live in Scotland than that is where my perception comes from.

      Delete
  48. I put in a comment earlier, but unsure if it got lost or is just in the queue. A bit like applying for a UK visa sometimes.

    The comments you make are interesting but only really relevant from the point of view of an American living in Scotland and seen through that lens rather than the objectivity of what makes Scotland good or bad in its own right. Take the holidays for instance, there is nothing particularly outstanding about Scottish holiday entitlement, it is the same as much of the rest of the UK and broadly similar with the rest of Europe. It is the US which is the problem here with its dickensian attitude to time off. You also cite cheap flights to the rest of Europe - this is a byproduct of living close to Europe and is an equal argument for living in Ireland rather than Scotland. I was also unsure about your comment "The weather. Too much rain. Not enough sun. Period. " when there are three periods or even full stops in that sentence and you repeat yourself 6 points later. Is this for dramatic effect? Your comment about real estate is an over generalisation - a cottage in the highlands is surely cheaper than a manhattan apartment and although it may seem expensive you have free education and healthcare to make up the budget. Anyway there are many advantages and disadvantages to living in Scotland compared to the US. A politically engaged electorate and a sense that politics makes a real difference might be one, or if you want to cast the net wider a society so safe that the police do not routinely carry guns might be another. Yes, we do have Mexican food here just as Americans have European food.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This blog is from MY point of view--an American in Scotland. Which is what makes what I have to say relevant.

      No Scotland doesn't have Mexican food. Not even close.

      Delete
  49. Been gone for over 30 years. Now in South Australia after long periods in America and Asia. I miss the familiarity. Happy Hogmanay everybody.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean about familiarity! Happy Hogmanay Colin!

      Delete
  50. I loved Scotland when I visited and I hope to visit again and if lucky, move there for a time. My only complaint was lack of salads (really none to order) in restaurants when I toured mid and upper Scotland. Finally, in Edinburgh I was able to order a salad but then lack of salad dressing. They only had oil and vinegar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it's a cultural thing. You're looking for American food in Scotland. Every culture has their own foods and a salad here is typical the veg on your sandwich. We do have the American salad's that you are talking about though and most of the dressings are available too.

      Delete
  51. my family (me, my wife, and 3 year old daughter) are thinking about moving to Scotland. We have never been but the idea excites us. My wife and are going to vacation there, once in Aug ish and once in Feb ish, to try out what its like at both ends of the year before make our decision final. I'm looking to get a little insight first though. Like were to vacation. I've done a little research and found a couple of cottages for like $300 U.S. and that going to be about the most we can spend. This way we will have money for plane tickets and entertainment while we are there. If I could get some feed back I'd appreciate it. Also if could the info emailed to me turnersteveo09@gmail.com. This would be easier to show the wifey. Thanks a bunch.

    ReplyDelete
  52. My favourite place in Edinburgh is Dean Village. It was definitely built so that it looks good in pictures. I went for a tour of the Dean Village few weeks ago and I was lucky with the weather, few pictures in my Sibling Duo blog. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  53. Would love to live there and bring some of the Ferguson bloodline back home :-D

    ReplyDelete
  54. Why are you living in Scotland? From what I have read your husband isn't Scottish either. Job visa? Just curious

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My husband's work is here. So therefore, I can live here too.

      Delete
    2. By the way, my husband is European. He doesn't need a Work Visa to live and work in other EU countries. Which include the United Kingdom.

      Delete
  55. Intrigued by the flight to Paris for 4p...care to explain?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Back in 2009 by husband and I were looking up some ideas for our next trip and we found a deal on Ryan Air for Paris at 4p. We followed all the terms and conditions (which included: no checked baggage, no inflight refreshments, and at home check-in) and paid nothing more than 4p for a two day trip. It pays to stalk the budget airlines. There are good deals to be had!

      Delete

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.