So since I’ve been here a week and it already feels like quite a long time with all of the changes. Not only am I here learning in Glasgow, I’m also learning Glasgow itself. It really is a fascinating city with quite a bit of character. In many ways, it feels very similar to home, but in many other ways it is vastly different. So with one week under my belt, I wanted to talk about some things that I’ve learned so far about living and learning in Glasgow!
- Restaurants are a whole new world. Glasgow has an amazing amount of restaurants but surviving my first few excursions has been a challenge. First of all, etiquette at coffee shops is quite a bit different from at home in the states. If you are sitting in, you pay for your coffee and then go take a seat and it will be brought to you. No waiting around the counter. Then, when you’re all finished up, just leave the plates on the table and someone will come bus them later. This one really threw me for a loop. I kept thinking people were just being rude by leaving their dirty plates! But a kind barista took pity on me and explained my mistakes when I tried to bring my used coffee mug back up to the counter. I’ve also found one major difference in sit-down restaurants: your check is only brought to you if you ask for it. It’s considered rude for the waiter to bring the bill because it’s seen as rushing you.
- Grocery stores. As expected, grocery stores in another country are quite different from home. Generally stores are smaller and carry much less. People seem to get groceries much more often than I’m used to. Since the fridges are so small (seriously they’re tiny; think 1/3 of what you’d have in the States), people seem to get groceries on a day-to-day basis. This has already been hard to adjust to since in my dorm there are five girls sharing one minuscule fridge so stocking up is not possible. Also there are a plethora of butchers and fresh grocers around the West End so people don’t always get their fruits and veggies at the grocery store. Oh and you have to pay for bags everywhere you go. I’ve already started stockpiling them. And finally, you can buy alcohol anywhere. Take that PA.
- Being a Pedestrian is Terrifying. The pedestrian does NOT have the right of way in Scotland. People will run you over. Also they drive on the opposite side of the street so I look the wrong way every. single. time. On the bright side though there are a ton of pedestrian only streets and they can be quite charming. Like this one right beside the university:
- Screens don’t exist. That’s right, they don’t have screens in their windows. Which I guess is besides most of the year isn’t very buggy with the cold weather. But ew really? I still can’t leave my window open while I sleep. Who knows how many spiders will find their way inside.
- Signs are easily confused. For the first few days, I swear I mixed up the signs that said TO LET (for rent) and those saying TOILET at least twenty times.
- Haggis is delicious. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s so tasty, like a really rich meatloaf. And who doesn’t love meatloaf?!
There’s so many more, but that’s some of the main things I’ve learned. So far, I really like Glasgow! There’s so much to see and do and it’s so easy to walk everywhere. I’ve been doing so much walking that I can see how the Scots can drink as much as the do and still stay skinny. Can you tell what was my first day here?
There are a few things that I don’t like. One, of course, is being an ocean and several time zones away from all of my friends and family back home. Thankfully skype, facetime, and WhatsApp are making the distance easier but it’s still difficult at times. I also miss wearing flipflops (mismatching ones of course). Its way too wet to wear flipsflops over here unfortunately. I also miss my car, mostly for driving to the grocery store.
Overall, things are going well for my first week. Goals for the coming week:
- Figure out how the postal system works (A big mystery right now)
- Learn how Glaswegians keep the hoods on their raincoats up (Mine falls off at the slightest breeze)
- Find out what the heck flytipping is! I’ve seen it on a bunch of signs but I can’t figure out what it means.