(Sidebar: Check out the article I wrote for Expat Hub here, on how to make the most of your study abroad experience!)
I love Edinburgh. I really do. But like any city or any home it’s not always perfect.
With just one week till I head to Texas, there are lots of things I’m going to miss and of course, a few things I won’t.
No Garbage Disposal
Okay, honestly, I don’t think having a garbage disposal in your kitchen sink is common outside of the US (or maybe Canada?) but it’s a convenience that I’m used to having back in Texas and one I miss.
I get that it can be seen as a waste of food, but I am good about composting all our food scraps in Edinburgh. I put them all in the decomposable bag from the city and into the nifty little bin we have. I carry a soggy bag of rotting food down to the food waste recycling bin outside our building.
I do it. I don’t hate the earth. I don’t want to waste food.
But you know what? Sometimes I clear a dish into the compost bin and sometimes it still has food on it. Then when I wash the dish small chunks of food still end up in the sink.
And then halfway through a load of washing dishes, the sink gets clogged and I have to reach my hand into the soapy water and pull out wet mushy food out of the sink drain grate.
I’m completely used to handwashing dishes and not having a dishwasher. But even the most expensive homes I’ve been inside in Scotland, do not have a garbage disposal.
cleaning out the juicer is always a battle with the sink drain grate
Not Being Able to Drive
Although one of the perks of life in Edinburgh is not needing a car. I do wish I was able to drive here sometimes.
Technically I can drive with my US driver’s license (for up to a year in the UK!) but Ruaridh’s car is a manual transmission and unfortunately I can only drive an automatic. Although I have driven a friend’s automatic car here in Edinburgh (and I can drive on the left side of the road like it ain’t no thang), I don’t have regular access to an automatic car.
Scotland does have different cultures and a mix of people, but it’s definitely not as significant as it is in Houston. And although Texas can have a poor and incorrect stereotype abroad for being racist or close minded, I will say I’ve faced more racial situations in the few months I’ve lived in Edinburgh than I have in 20+ years in Texas.
Like that time the guy at the car repair shop basically asked Ruaridh if I was a Thai mail order bride.
(hint: I’m not)
Or the numerous times I’ve had men approach me with “Ni Hao.”
(hint: I’m not Chinese)
I have a very thick skin when it comes to Asian jokes and I won’t claim to be the most racially PC person, but there was a night here in Edinburgh where I nearly lost my temper in Tesco to a rude guy.
I would say that 99% of my experiences in Edinburgh are completely fine and without any harmful prejudice or stereotype, but it’s the other 1% of the time that I’m surprised and disappointed.
There are Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants in Edinburgh. And they’re not awful. I’d go as far as to say they’re not that bad.
But they’re nothing like the restaurants in Texas. Obviously.
Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I just want a breakfast taco. Which is a concept completely foreign to the Scottish. I could go for a bacon roll or a fry up for a hearty breakfast, but the idea of a taco for breakfast is ridiculous here.
As Ruaridh would say “Just because you put it in a ‘wrap’ and then put ‘taco’ at the end of it, doesn’t make it a ‘taco.'”
But actually…it does…and it’s not a ‘wrap.’ It’s a tortilla. And man do I miss fresh, warm tortillas.
I’ve also seen restaurants with directions on how to eat fajitas
I know most of these “cons” to Edinburgh are minor and insignificant, but I guess that does reflect how lovely this city really is even despite some faults. The rain can be a bother. And the Pound is kicking the US dollar’s butt, but at the end of the day, Edinburgh has been an amazing home to me.
What faults have you found in your city? What things have you found difficult adjusting to when living abroad?