Thursday, 4 September 2014

Letters From America: A Couple of Bad Days

Hello Everyone, 

I've had a couple of bad days, and those of you who know me know when this happens, I just need to have a little rant to someone who understands. Now, I can vent to people over in the States, but they aren't going to quite 'get' what I am annoyed at. This is one of the things that I really need to rant about. 

Since I got here, most people have been very nice and interested in where I am from, or just accept it about me.It is just some ignorant people that have been getting on my nerves, the majority of the people I have met here have been very enthusiastic about Scotland, and seem to know a bit about it, or are interested. They will ask pertinent questions, which I am happy to answer, and although they are normally repetitive, I can deal with it. I will deal with my answers to these questions later, but first I am going to chat about something else. 

I am Scottish, okay? I study in Aberdeen, and I was born in Glasgow. But, although I am from another country, and although it is far away from the USA, we are not completely cut off from the world. In fact, we do have many things that you do not get in the USA, just as the USA has some things that we do not. However, I resent being asked if we have Google where I am from, McDonald's, Facebook, swearing (where do you think the English language comes from, Yanks?), or even a legal system. Yes, we do, the internet is not solely the property of the USA, and our legal systems are one the most celebrated mixed systems in the world. We do not 'simply box it out' as some people seem to think. I also do not feel the need to pledge my allegiance to the Queen at every possible moment either, and no, she is not very powerful in any real sense of the word. She is a figurehead who brings in a lot of tourism. 

Some questions I get asked frequently:

Why did you come to UNM? 
It is the only place that I got an offer from is the simple answer. However, there is a little bit more to it. I apply through my school, you choose up to five schools, and then after your exam results, you will get an offer to apply for one of them. Only ONE of them. This is because there are limited spaces to get on the exchange programme, so you can only get ONE offer. 

What's Scotland like?
Compared to Albuquerque, very cold and wet. It is very green as well. Where I am from the buildings are red and grey, especially in my area, where a lot of buildings were build with red sandstone. Aberdeen in very grey, due to the fact that there is a lot of granite. There is more to say on that matter, but I will stop there. 

Do you wear a kilt?
First of all, I'm a girl, and girls don't wear kilts. Second of all, no, we do not walk around in kilts on an everyday basis (we don't paint our faces blue and shout 'FREEDOM' everywhere we go either, but that's another matter). Kilts are saved for special occasions like weddings, graduations, and ceilidhs (a dance where we dance the traditional Scottish Country Dances). 

Do you play the bagpipes? Do you own a set of bagpipes? Do you know anyone who does?
No, no, and yes I do. It is not a skill that you are born with instinctively if you are from Scotland. Like every musical instrument, it must be learned and practiced in order to be played with any kind of skill. Not everyone can do it. I know a few people who can play the pipes, but not that many really. 

Okay guys, rant over. I hope you aren't too annoyed with me. I just needed to let off some steam, and I am trying to be committed to sharing everything about my year abroad on here, good and bad. My next post will be a lot happier, I promise.