I wanted to publish a post on Scotland ever since I got here but I decided to wait a few more days to get properly acquainted with the city, for now, Edinburgh, till I go on to explore the rest of Scotland.
It has definitely been a huge shift in culture for me, from Oman and India to the United Kingdom. Despite this difference, the transition has been a fairly easy one. The first impression of anything or anyone is always a lasting one, and if I could describe the people and the country in one word it would be ‘warm’. Not in terms of the weather of course. If Scotland was a person, I would imagine it to be a person with a warm heart and a warm smile.
Right from the minute I landed, I had people smiling at me and constantly asking me if I needed help to find my way. I was quite grateful, however, didn’t pay much heed to it since that’s the way most locals would try to behave when they notice someone new figuring out their city. It wasn’t until I finally settled into Uni life and got acquainted with the towns and shops of Musselburgh that I realized that the Scots are just like this all the time.
I was waiting to catch a bus once and apparently the look of quiet desperation was quite evident on my face since I wasn’t sure which bus I had to get on. Just then, a really old and fragile-looking man leaning on his walker read my face and asked me if I needed help. “Hello Dear, where do you need to go?”, he rambled on, this bus goes here and that bus goes there…etc, etc. Almost as if it was his personal mission to make sure I got on the right bus. I was so grateful to him because I was so certain I was going to get on the wrong bus as I had done the first few times.
I think I almost wanted to cry because he was so old and could barely walk himself but he wanted to make sure this foreign stranger got home safe.
Another instance that assured me I made the right move was when I was walking home from a church service one morning and people sitting in their front yards just pop out their heads and wish you, “Good morning” or “ Have a nice day!” I didn’t realize how much a smile or a kind word could do to lift up a spirit, especially one like mine. I just walked home feeling wonderfully thankful and grateful for the Scots have made it so easy for me to make Musselburgh my home.
The city is an optimal balance of the fast and slow life. If you are a downtown person and like to be in the middle of the busy streets and shopping centres, Princes Street and Waverly is a great place to be with all its fancy stores and so many cuisines to choose from. You can also never get lost in Edinburgh because there is always a huge monument or landmark in the distance that will give you some perspective as to which part of the city you might be in. Either the Scott monument, the Edinburgh Castle or Arthur’s seat.
If the big city is not your thing, Scotland’s little towns are will bring you the peace that you never knew you needed. Musselburgh for one, the town where I live and not very far from downtown Edinburgh is just 6 minutes by train, a place where you will find little lakes and swans crossing them with their little cygnets. You could easily go for a run and not expect too much traffic and just take in all the little chirping and the sounds that the winds make against the trees. For someone like me, who needs a little bit of both Musselburgh is like a haven.
I know this post sounds like I’m endorsing Scottish tourism but I think my soul relates to the aura of Scotland. The city which brings a comfortable balance to my soul. I have also made some really great friends at Uni and we can’t wait to get some free time to get to know the city better. It has been just ten days that I have been here and I can’t wait to begin writing my next post with some new experiences.
PS If anyone else has been to Scotland, do write to me with your suggestions of places to visit so I could try them out too!