that's the question everyone I know, at one point or another, has asked me.
is my answer of choice.
Mostly, "Why Scotland" is because I had previously visited here, and loved the country. Also, in Scotland:
a) English is the native language (score one for my lack of bilingual-ness)
b) the city of Edinburgh has its own castle. Not many University towns in the US can boast the same
c) I always wanted to travel abroad as an undergrad but never had the chance
d) the close proximity to the rest of Europe
e) the fact that I will finish my degrees in exactly ONE HALF the time required in the US...and
f) the culture, while similar enough to that within the US, has its own quirks and charms that make it worth the trip just to get the chance to experience them all
On that last note, I have compiled a few striking differences between Scotland and the US that have yet to stop entertaining me:
1) there are NO laws about jaywalking here...if the road is clear, just go...if you go a bit slow, you won't get hit, because drivers stop for you...if you somehow manage to get hit, it was probably your own damn drunken fault!
2) speaking of drunken...there are no container laws pertaining to alcohol either. You can totally walk the streets with an open bottle, no conspicuous paper bag required, and its all good.
3) because of this, on Mondays there is broken glass all over the cobbled streets and sidewalks. sandals are therefore not wise
4) the streets are still cobbled. so are some sidewalks. interesting for heels.
5) when a Scottish person bumps into you, or even if you bump into them, they immediately offer up a "Sorry", no matter what. Sometimes they will even follow you to make sure you are ok after said run-in
6) Chips are Fries, Biscuits are Cookies, Rocket is Arugula, Bangers and Mash is sausage with mashed potatoes, and Neeps and Tatties are mashed turnips and mashed potatoes.
7) The Scots love deep fried ANYTHING. Scotch eggs, (hard boiled egg covered with ground beef, breaded, then fried) Fried Mars Bars, and even fried Pizza (what the point is, i really don't know)
8) People eat while walking ALL THE TIME...but apparently it's still weird to walk with coffee
9) when it's going to rain, it rains like clockwork: clouds roll in between 2-4 pm, rain begins between 4:30-5:30 pm, rain ends around 8 pm. The next day, you wake up to clear skies and the whole thing happens again
10) a cell phone is a mobiile. every time i call it a cell phone, i get weird looks.
11) people don't wear enough deodorent
12) you can walk around at 2 am and be almost 100% safe...this city is ridiculously safe, actually
13) pepperoni is the word for peppers. not spicy sausage-type stuff. Apparently its just the North Americans that call the pizza topping "pepperoni"
14) "getting a pint" will solve all your problems
15) modern architecture is not overly appreciated (this one I agree with)
16) every store asks you if you want a bag for your purchases, some stores charge you to use a plastic bag. Most people carry their own cloth bags
17) the rules about being PC, and the attitudes on issues that are taboo in the US are way less oppressive. Makes one feel more capable of creativity, really
Overall, these may not seem terribly weird, but when you live in a new place, even one that has many similar home comforts, random things like this pop out at you.
But personally, I like them (bar the deep fried everything and the broken glass).
So after three weeks, life is good, the weather is definitely COLD, I finally have a MOBILE, new friends are becoming closer and school is getting harder. I actually wonder sometimes how i would ever fit a job into my life here. there just doesn't seem to be any time for it. Adaption is fun.
Pic from the Piemaker, I just think this is hilarious