The American Take

Let’s talk culture. First off, I’m starting to get the feeling that Scots don’t wear shorts very often. I’ve seen a mere handful of guys in cargo shorts and only ONE woman in regular shorts. Everyone else has been in jeans or pants. I know it gets cold here but Saturday was so warm a t-shirt and shorts was more than sufficient. So Mike and Steve wore cargo shorts and I wore khaki shorts… I’ve never gotten so many looks in my life! Not sure if they were all meant to be flattering or not, but I might as well have been prancing down the sidewalk in a string bikini and high heels. Fortunately I’ve still got a bit of a tan from pool days in Texas, so perhaps it wasn’t the legs that shocked everyone so much as the color. Meaning they’re not white because everyone here is pretty pale.

So when we ventured out for our first grocery-buying excursion yesterday—we went to Asda which is Scotland’s version of Walmart and actually owned by the brand—I toned it down and wore Bermuda shorts for the trip. Still got a couple of looks, like one guy that was unlocking his door and did a complete 360 on his stoop, but hopefully this time they were just noticing my chiseled calves. Which leads me to my next point…

The walking is a pain. I know I’ll get used to it but we walked over two miles just to get groceries. Granted there were stores closer to us, but even then you still have to carry home everything you buy. No flat screen TV for Steve until we get our cars and can drive to Asda and load up on goods. It’s the one place in town that seems to have a parking lot. A concept non-existent anywhere else in Aberdeen. (We joked that our Nissan Micras we’ll be driving are almost the same size as the buggys we were pushing around in the store, and that we should’ve just pushed the Micra to Asda and loaded our groceries in it.) In fact, the parking is so scarce that it’s pointless to drive just about anywhere. So it’s back to the walking, which everyone seems just fine with except me. I think I got passed by an old man with a cane today.
Next is the space concept. For any of you that been to the UK or Europe, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Everything is downsized instead of supersized. And being a Texan, it’s pretty noticeable. My Avalanche I drive at home could easily eat its way through the mini coopers, Nissans and bug-sized sedans crowding the streets here. And our house we left in Houston, which is a humble size compared to the average home in Texas, seems likes a monstrous mansion compared to many of the flats here. I spotted my first actual full-sized home yesterday and wondered how much the homeowner sold his soul for to acquire that much real estate. It even had a tiny front yard which had been freshly mowed and sported a mini, thigh-high fence that I could have easily hopped over if I’d felt so inclined. Must be to keep all those pesky yard gnomes out.

I just got word that our shipment has arrived and will be delivered to our flat on Wednesday morning. Hallelujah! There’s some things in there that’ll definitely make us feel more at home, most notably the curtains I packed to replace the flowery, antiquated ones in the flat right now. (Our flat is a little better off than Steve’s though, he’s got fringe-laced lamps, turquoise green velvet couches and old-lady china hanging on the walls.) I did make our first home cooked meal last night… fajitas! We spotted some Old El Paso tortillas in the international aisle at Asda (more like the international corner) and bought avocados, garlic and tomatoes for guacamole. Add the Pace salsa and HEB fajita seasoning we brought from home and we were golden! Terri and Steve grabbed Sauza tequila and Jose Cuervo margarita mix for some delicious ‘ritas. After dinner, we started talking about country bands and stand-up comedians and ended up listening to Mitch Hedberg on Mike’s laptop. It’s nice to know we can get a good dose of home when we need it.

It’s such an odd feeling to be disconnected. After we bought our cell phones the other day, we were walking down the street when Mike’s rang. He didn’t notice it all and kept walking, then suddenly we all three realized we now had phones and frantically scrambled to find them to see who was lucky enough to actually get a call. I will begin a job hunt soon. My plan is to find something simple, easy and close. I’ll probably start with some boutiques in my area, but first I’ll need to apply for my NIN (national insurance number). Something I’ll hopefully get to this week. Mike just got home from his first day at the new office and things sound like they're going to go great. He's already being recognized for his more extensive work experience with Mustang and should be placed well on a project. He has to wear a tie to work every day now, but it just makes him look all the nicer when he gets home!

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