Today’s post is dedicated to all the quirky little things in our new home and country. Although some of these can be frustrating at times, most of them are rather endearing to us. In fact, some of them we think are quite brilliant (Do I sound British yet?). With no further ado, here are a few of our (sometimes) favorite things:
8. British Sinks:
I still can’t get over the fact that a first world country uses these types of faucets (and yes, I know we are incredibly lucky to have lived and still be living in countries where we do have free access to clean water. I just don’t always have that perspective at seven in the morning when I go to wash my face.). I remember these from studying abroad in England, and they are still here. Your temperature choices are either blazing hot or freezing cold. No compromise. Ever.
7. No Microwave: We don’t really mind this as it makes us cook and use fresher ingredients, but occasionally we miss the ease of just heating something up without having to use the oven and an extra dish (because that involves more dishwashing, and remember the water temperature choices we have for our sink–see #8).
6. No Dryer: This one is frustrating when you are hanging wet clothes in chilly, windy weather–your hands freeze! But the smell when you tuck yourself in at night in a freshly laundered bed is oh-so-heavenly! Plus, I always get a kick out of looking through our kitchen window and seeing our chonies flying in the wind. Makes me smile everytime. To save our dignity, I won’t post a picture. ;) I will, however, post a picture from our first time hanging laundry:
5. Our Homeless Bed: We don’t mind our place–it’s big enough, light enough, and, after steam cleaning the carpets, clean enough; however, our landlord is a bit on the cheap side. Our mattress has a permanent dent and the support underneath it is just some slots of wood. To solve the problem of several horrible nights of sleep, we flipped the mattress, got a cover and extra blanket to put on top of the mattress, and added lots of cardboard boxes underneath to help support the mattress. This is another thing that cracks me up whenever I see them–I’m hoarding cardboard boxes for my bed!
These last things are simply fantastic:
4. Language: When I studied abroad in Oxford I made a list of all the weird things I heard (some of my favorite being “taking the mickey” and “sexy football”). There is something wonderful about being in a culture and language that is similar enough to make you feel at home, but distinct enough to keep you amused. Sometimes I can’t understand the locals, and sometimes they just use funny words. Some of my favorites (though not really hard to understand) are “wee”, “pop over”, and “hiya!” We hear these phrases all the time. For example, “Hiya! I just popped over for a wee bit of tea!” Oh, and Isaac says he also likes “bum bag” for “fanny pack” (apparently that’s not a very appropriate word).
3. Going “All Organic” and Stuff: We have never been on any organic kicks back in the States because, frankly, we don’t have enough money to make it a part of our regular shopping experience (though we do love the cheap Asian market near our home that had very unprocessed produce). Here, however, you don’t have to try very hard it seems. There are farms everywhere and much of what we buy in terms of produce has dirt all over it (I found a small bird feather while washing my lettuce yesterday, people!). They have a local farmers market once a month which, though not very large, is fun to visit.
We also signed up for a weekly veg beg from a group in the university and every week we get a huge bag with veggies like this:
We are then left with the challenge of eating all those veggies in a week, which has been rather fun. We have made soups, swede fries (I had no idea what the heck a swede was before this, though I have since discovered it is also called a rutabaga, which just makes me want to eat at Rutabegorz!), and Japanese vegetable pancakes. I feel like I am learning so many new–and sometimes strange–recipes, but I’m loving it!
2. A Walking Culture: We walk everywhere: the store, our friends’, the university. Everyday we go up to town at least once, though often multiple times a day. Although it’s cold (and I know the real cold has not even begun), there is something nice about walking everywhere and not having to bother with a car. I also ride my bike to work since it is a bit farther from us, which has been refreshing since I have not “commuted” regularly on a bike since sixth grade! Another benefit to all the walking and biking: getting to eat more, guilt-free! :)
1. Quintessentially Scottish Moments: Men in kilts are a regular occurrence. (Not that most men wear them everyday, but there is usually something special going on often enough to see a kilted man several times a week). Also, bagpipes are a regular background noise, and much to our joy, sometimes random bagpipe practice sessions occur as you are walking around town, like this one:
These moments makes us smile and have those “I can’t believe we live in Scotland!!!” moments. It truly is an exciting adventure. Thanks for coming along with us on the journey.