…but you can’t take Scotland out of the girl!
I remember being on holiday/vacation as a child and meeting new people and being asked where I was from. I would say ‘Scotland’ and I’m proud to be from Scotland although that isn’t the end of the story. I was born in England (Norfolk) and lived there until I was 4 years old when we moved to Scotland. My Dad and his family are from Scotland and my Mum and her family are from England so, although I am proud to be ‘from Scotland’, I would call myself British too. I know this may raise some political debates amongst friends but lets put them aside – it’s not that sort of blog!
That said, now that we are no longer living in Scotland, I find myself drawn to all things Scottish in a way I never was before. We have made several friends here that have connections to Scotland and have given us some great tips for where to find some home comforts, in particular Irn Bru. If you have never drunk Irn Bru, I really don’t think any description could do it justice, you just need to try it! It is also one of the best hangover cures. Enough said. I did like it when I was at home but it has never been such a treat as it is now.
I’m finding the same thing is true of Scottish celebrations. For instance, the patron saint of Scotland is St Andrew and St Andrew’s Day falls on November 30th. It isn’t a national holiday in Scotland and it isn’t often marked in any significant way that I’m aware of but when we were in the USA for it I found myself wishing people (on Facebook, not in real life!) a Happy St Andrew’s Day. That may be the first time I’ve ever done that.
In Scotland we tend to celebrate Robert Burns more than St Andrew. He is known as Scotland’s Poet and he wrote many poems and songs. On January 25th, his birthday, it is traditional to eat *haggis, neeps and tatties and there are also formal dinners, known as Burns Suppers, where some of his poetry is recited. We discovered that the local Scottish Society was holding a Burns Supper so we went along with some friends.
I’m not sure if our expectations were too high but we didn’t enjoy it as much as we had hoped. Realistically, it was never going to be exactly like a Burns Supper in Scotland but it felt ‘not right’. It didn’t help that the bar ran out of single malt whisky before the meal was over, a disaster at a Burns Supper! We didn’t hear another Scottish accent all night and by it’s nature it was an American version of a Burns Supper, so instead of making us feel at home it made us miss home and the traditions of a ‘real’ Burns night.
We can’t complain too much though. It was a night out with friends and we ended up at a local bar so the night ended on a high. Luckily we had a supply of Irn Bru in the fridge for the next morning too…
*Haggis is made from offal mixed with oatmeal, suet and spices. Very tasty when made correctly! Neeps is turnip but I think it is called rutabaga in the US. Tatties are potatoes!
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