Since my arrival in Edinburgh a week ago, I have discovered that life in Scotland is not so radically different from America as to cause major culture shock. However, there are numerous small differences in word choice and custom that can create confusion.
The first barrier is the Scottish accent, of which there are many different dialects, ranging from ‘could you repeat that?’ to ‘are you speaking a language other than English?’. The further outside of the city one travels, the less likely they will understand what is being said. Then there is the alternate wording used to described things. I have discovered that if you ask for takeout at a restaurant you will be stared at blankly- it is ‘carry away’. And rather than throw away your garbage, you must ‘bin your litter’. With driving occurring on the opposite side of the road, I have realized that it has been ingrained in me to look right before left when crossing the street. Unfortunately in Europe this increases the likelihood of being hit by oncoming traffic.
Yet all of the cultural differences become unimportant when one is in the pub having a pint; we have found only friendly (if somewhat direct) locals eager to learn about our home and share travel destinations. This combined with the incredible beauty surrounding me everywhere makes this a fantastic place to be, and one I am certain I will sorely miss when I leave.