Edinburgh Napier University
On our first weekend trip outside of Scotland, my new friends and I went to the Mediterranean Island of Malta (Gorgeous! Go there!). On the way there, we flew over the Alps which were completely stunning. With my entire iPod on shuffle, The Sound of Music Prelude happens to start playing as I’m peering out the window at the craggy magnificence. First of all, yes, I’m so cool as to have The Sound of Music soundtrack on my iPod and, secondly, I had just completed a life goal that I wasn’t even aware of having: living the opening scene of my favorite movie. That Sound of Music experience has inspired me to make a short list of a few of my favorite things that I have found here in Scotland so far.
1. Raindrops on Roses: It might rain here relatively often, but, when it does, it isn’t the drenching kind that requires a raincoat and “Wellies;” it’s more of a misty drizzle that’s more likely to make you drowsy than really get you that wet.
2. Whiskers on Kittens (or Puppies, in this case): I’ve said it before, but it still amazes me; Edinburgh is home to some of the most well-behaved dogs that I’ve ever seen, which is probably why they’re allowed in many establishments. It seems like everyone here has a dog trotting along behind them as they walk through the park or even down a crowded street. There doesn’t appear to be a leash law, but it isn’t an issue at all because all the dogs either trot alongside their owner or frolic nearby in the grass only to come running at the quietest call.
3. Bright Copper Kettle: A kettle is a marvelous kitchen appliance that I had never encountered before coming here. While ours is of the stainless steel variety rather than copper, I find myself using it all the time even though it seemed so pointless the first time I saw it (just boil water on the stove or in the microwave!). It is so incredibly convenient, though. Especially with my newly acquired tea habit. I just might have to invest in one when once I’m state-side again.
5. Brown Paper Packages Tied-up With String (or criss-crossed with packing tape): Living so close to MC, I never get care packages in the mail. I don’t have too much to complain about considering this means they’re instead hand delivered or picked up on a trip home, but I have to say the joy of signing for a package is hard to beat. I just got my first one and it’s made my life. Thank you for the Reese’s and stick deodorant (2 things impossible to find here), Mom!
6. Crisp Apple Strudel: (This is a bit of a stretch, but, hey, they’re both bakery items!) I’ve fallen head-over-heels for Pains au Chocolat (aka chocolate croissants) which, I know, are A. technically French and B. available in the U.S. However, I have only discovered their deliciousness here and my favorite ones are from the grocery next door. Ten seconds in the microwave makes those things heavenly!
7. Doorbells: The doorbell itself isn’t one of my favorite things; it’s what happens when the doorbell RINGS (which is not what you might expect). You’re probably thinking I’m crazy so let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start (cha ching- another Sound of Music reference): There’s a door to each of our 5 bedrooms, the kitchen/lounge, and the three bathrooms—all of which are supposed to remain closed at all times because of the fire code. But, really, the only thing the flame-retardant doors deter is flatmate interaction, so we naturally all bought door stops in the first week of being here. Now, since every time the doorbell rings could be a random room inspection, there’s a flurry of hilarious chaos as we race around grabbing doorstops and stuffing them in our pockets. Multiple doors are sure to slam in the process and our running feet definitely cause a racket, eliciting yet another Sound of Music reminiscence in my mind; it sounds just like when the Captain whistles for the children and all you hear of the kids coming is their pattering feet and slamming doors. Inevitably, it’s a friend from upstairs or the mailman ringing the doorbell, but the threat of inspection has struck terror into our hearts so the comedic routine ensues with each ring.
8. Sleigh bells: I feel so European when I hear the police and ambulance sirens; they’re so different!
9. Schnitzel with noodles: While Schnitzel is a national dish of Austria, anything deep fried is apparently a national dish of Scotland (apparently the Southern Scots-Irish descendants came by the propensity honestly). Sure, everybody knows about Haggis, but that’s actually hard to find on menus and seems to be more of a tourist attraction than anything. What real people eat is the fried stuff found at “chippies” on every block. From fried fish to fried cheeseburgers to fried pizza to friend Mars Bars, they will throw anything in boiling oil. I’m determined to try as many dishes as I can without keeling over from a heart attack. I could really get used to this Scottish 4th Meal!
10. Girl’s in White Dresses with Blue Satin Sashes: Primark is a beautiful place. I might not have purchased a white dress or a blue sash there (yet!), but I have sure bought a ton of other items. It’s Forever 21 (or lower) prices with H&M style in sizes that can actually accommodate normal-sized people. It might be heaven on earth for me—at least the materialistic, deal-loving side of me. Everything is cute and everything is cheap so I’m a complete gonner whenever I walk inside. I will have a major problem if they ever expand to the U.S.! So these are just very FEW of my favorite things about living and studying in Scotland. There are many more already and sure to be more to come!