Featured Slider

Am I Really An Expat? (is this an expat blog?)

....Are we human or are we dancers with the title of this post am I right ha ha? Sorry, I still have Glastonbury on the brain! Did you see any of it? I loved The Cure, my inner 16 year old not quite a goth but definite theatre geek with goth tendencies really came out watching them! And I thought The Killers were great too, it was fab they brought out Johnny Marr and The Pet Shop Boys too. No I didn't watch Stormzy, well a little but but I just can't get into grime, or numerous other hip with the kids dance music either, Billie Eilish was just like...I don't know, making me feel a hundred, I don't get it at all (saying that I was all about Sigrid, obviously!). I'm fickle. I was annoyed they didn't put Lauryn Hill or The Proclaimers' sets on the BBC iplayer though. Come on BBC the olds want to see music too!

Anyway...yeah. So I don't know, the title of this post is about how I have questioned calling this blog an expat blog for some time now, but I struggle to label my blog with ANY niche and it's the only one that sort of technically fit.

Once in a blue moon I will write "American in Scotland this is weird" or "I'm homesick" type posts, but they're pretty rare really. And while no one here thinks I sound remotely Scottish (despite what American friends say about my accent!), the truth is I don't really relate to most Americans who live in the U.K., but very specifically my town.

In my four and a bit years of blogging I have seen quite a few American expat bloggers come and go from this town, it's just that most who move here tend to do so for jobs in the oil industry, or maybe (rarely) college, and then they mostly seem to move elsewhere after a couple of years. It's a bit of a nomadic, exotic compared to my longtime married to a Scottish guy lifestyle. Like, this is my home, for the foreseeable future, yes I still struggle with it sometimes but barring some major life upheaval I'm not going anywhere. It also means my blog doesn't contain the kind of content most expat blogs do -I did much of my "life in a new country" exploring years before I started a blog.

I still occasionally visit new places and I might share them, but it's mostly old hat to me at this point to be honest! Like I just can't fake enthusiasm for stuff I'm used to (I know no one is asking me to, but every time I read an expat blog, it's all "Look at this shiny new thing/taste/place I've never experienced before!"). Which is great, for them, but it's not where I'm at.

I had a pretty different experience moving here to be with someone that is from here than most expat experiences I read. Yes, lots of things were a novelty, and some still occasionally are. But I had an inbuilt, native tourist guide. I am not saying this didn't have drawbacks, I do feel like it means that I have been sort of absorbed into this foreign land in a more automatic way than would normally happen, that has at times made my national identity feel kinda mushy/confused. Of course saying that I am often reminded that I am an "other" here when I meet someone new, but I "speak the language" (you'd be amazed how different it can be), so I don't feel like a complete outsider, either.

I had an automatic set of friends from the time I first visited, because my husband has a large circle of friends, who luckily, were all awesome, and mostly seem to put up with me too! Yes, I've made a few of my own along the way, but I never even knew there was like, a society for American women in my town until recently, because it just didn't occur to me to seek that out.

It's only since I started a blog that I realized that the American women and transplant couples here sort of clique together and do Scottish themed or American themed or whatever themed stuff. My curiosity is piqued by it, but like....I just don't have it in me to play the "I've lived here forever" tour guide either if that doesn't sound terrible (not that I have seen everything in the U.K., most short term expats make a point of exploring every inch of the country, whereas I still have a lot to see, and maybe I feel weird about that too!).

Most Americans who move here do so in a couple, make some fellow expat friends, maybe some local friends too, and then move on to someplace else. I'm not disparaging that life at all, it sounds super exciting and novel, in a different life maybe I would have enjoyed it myself. But it's not my experience, and I've just realized maybe I shouldn't be labelling my blog "an expat blog" if that's what people are hoping to find. I do find it kind of weird that most of my page views are from America, maybe this is not uncommon for most blogs but it makes me feel a bit like I'm letting the side down not chit chatting about the "American in a strange land" stuff more often.

I did intend to write more expat themed posts when I started the blog, but they're sort of high concept at this point and I'm lazy about that kind of thing. Then again at one point I had a "compilation of British swears" post that I thought was hilarious...but um, yeah, I don't know!

If any Americans read this blog and have ever wanted to ask me anything about life in Scotland/the U.K. please do, maybe it will prompt me to talk about it more! I also tend to feel like a lot of the stuff that is "different" about living here isn't that different or interesting unless you are planning a visit or are coming to live here, but I know I am just used to most stuff also. Like when Americans (mostly my Mom) come to visit, they're like "What's this switch? What is this weird thing? Why do Scottish people do this? What does that mean!", etc. about any number of things.

I think what got me thinking about this too was my recent trip to Norway (which um, yes is much more exciting than this drivel but I want to separate it into ack, maybe three blog posts, because we saw a lot of stuff - mainly fjords ok, but they're so pretty!).

Anyway, on our trip there my Mom and I met all of these Americans on one of our tours, it was quite a small group, and we eventually all got to chatting/knowing each other's business because it was a long,12+ hour day.

And some of them were doing these quite (to me) ambitious vacations, seeing several countries at once, like it was no big thing. There were two sisters from San Franciso who were super helpful and nice who shared their journey so far and how they planned things, and I just love hearing about that stuff. And this one older couple visits the Edinburgh Festival every year, we bumped into them the next day in an art museum and it was like "hi fellow Americans, we are old friends now because we were thrown together that one time", and THAT is something you don't really get living in the U.K. (in my experience).

Sometimes I miss American extroversion - I wouldn't even call it that, sometimes people are not even particularly outgoing seeming, but we just make an effort to get to know each other, and aren't aloof or weird about stuff. Don't get me wrong, British people can be very friendly once you get to know them (and for anyone saying "I've met super friendly Brits on vacation, they are hilarious!", I say to you, the British person abroad is a different species. They (some of them!) sudddenly start lapping up the attention their exotic accents get them in America especially, and even the quiet ones become wild extroverts!). They are on vacation and they are ready to par-tay! (I see a lot of this in Florida anyway, I think it's all the Vitamin D and um, cocktails! ;-0).

But here, on this rainy island there are these invisible walls sometimes that make me feel like a bit of a fish out of water. And I am super duper introverted, trust. So it was surprisingly nice to go to a strange country and unexpectedly hang with some Americans, weirdly! It kind of felt like we were a little, very temporary crew, and I think possibly it made me miss having American friends to gab with, which got me thinking about the whole "I feel a disconnect/like I have little in common with Americans in my town, that sucks/is weird" thing. Which brought me here. So that's my recent "expat" story, for what it is worth!


Findhorn: Scottish beaches, pretty but cold, swim at your own peril!