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Edinburgh: Scotland's irresistable charm

  • Old course Scotland
Interview
Published last week

Ashley, an American expat in Scotland talks to Expat.com about the romantic (spoiler) reason behind her decision to move to Edinburgh, Scotland, and how she can now enjoy the best of two worlds. Driving on the "wrong" side of the road and coping with the wet and cold weather have been good enough reasons to give Ashley a cultural shock, but Edinburgh is an easy going place to live in, full of personality and genuinely nice people who will welcome you. 

cheersblondie

cheersblondie

My name is Ashley and I am originally a Florida girl, but made Washington, DC my home. I am now settling in Scotland, due to a thing called love.

Hi Ashley, can you introduce yourself and tell us about your projects in Scotland?

I am originally a Florida girl, but made Washington, DC my home. I moved to Scotland two years ago, due to a thing called love, and started CheersBlondie.com to share my adventures and unique outlook on living and working abroad.

Why did you choose to live in Scotland?

wedding in Scotland
Image by Footstone

I was swept away by a Scottish stud, who is now my husband! We met in Washington, DC and he’s originally from St Andrews, Scotland. He had been in the States for several years and wanted to move back to Scotland. I let the accent influence me and packed my bags and moved to Edinburgh!

Was it easy to integrate in the society?

Absolutely not. I didn’t quite comprehend how difficult it was going to be to live in another country. I thought because they spoke English the culture shock wouldn’t be as difficult. That proved to be ridiculous. Now don’t get me wrong, I had a wonderful new family and good friends in Scotland that were really supportive and my family and friends back home were very encouraging about the move. But at the end of the day it’s life-changing and hard. And it’s one of the reasons I started my blog, it was really cathartic to share what I was going through and in a light-hearted way.

How would you describe the Scottish culture?

The only thing I really knew about Scotland before moving here was that Will and Kate met in St Andrews and bagpipes. Now having lived in Scotland, I have learned quite a bit more. First of all, they are very proud and think they invented everything important in the world. Which you gotta give them credit for things like the telephone, penicillin and Harry Potter. They love to have a good laugh and enjoy a pint or several in a pub. Most Scots are pretty easy going and genuinely nice. And they are very patriotic when it comes to sports, even though they aren’t very good at anything (laughing).

What does your everyday life look like in Scotland?

My work-life balance is much better than the US. They work to live instead of live to work. They think holidays are important and have excellent universal healthcare. I have never talked about the weather as much as I do now, which is usually the same. Wet and cold. Celsius does my head in, I don’t know how many cm tall I am or why someone needs to be weighed in “stones”.

How's the local job market? 

Edinburgh is heavily focused on the financial and travel industries. I work for a creative agency and there are really good opportunities with several agencies in the area.

Have you travelled in Scotland? Which are your favourite places?

Edinburgh

I live in Edinburgh, but go to St Andrews a lot, as it’s where my husband is from. St Andrews is very cute and a great weekend getaway. It also feels a bit like home because there are a ton of Americans. Between the university and the golfers you will find far more Americans in St Andrews than Edinburgh. I have also spent a good amount of time in Glasgow, North Berwick and travelling along the coast. But overall, I prefer the charm of Edinburgh. It’s really easy to get around and for someone who is scared to drive in this country, it’s ideal for public transport and walking.

How did the Scottish reacted to Brexit and the possibility of a second referendum?

Most Scots I know were not for Brexit or the referendum. They were very upset after Brexit and in complete shock that it happened. The few I do know who were for Brexit are now against another referendum because they were more concerned about getting out of the EU than being independent from the UK.

Do you have an advice for the soon-to-be expatriates in Scotland?

Don’t come with expectations. Don’t think it will be easy. Embrace the culture and meet Scottish friends. Have at least one good friend that can empathize with you about how cold it is or how dumb driving on the left side of the road is. Travel as much as possible, inside Scotland and Europe. Appreciate the good that Scotland has to offer and appreciate the good that your home country has to offer. Feel lucky that you get both, instead of sad that you are missing out on one.

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