Early morning on September 24, I boarded a flight from Boston to Aberdeen (in the North of Scotland).
After a quick stop in London (where they apparently don’t announce departure gates until less than an hour before the flight…?) I landed and was picked up by Stuart, one of the few true Scotsmen living at Findhorn. This turned out to be quite an adventure:
Typically when entering other countries & cultures I am prepared for things to be a bit different and for there to be a learning curve before feeling comfortable. Somehow, knowing that I was going to a country that also spoke English I expected things to be relatively the same. Boy was I wrong!
Beginning with approaching a row of cars, having him stop at the back corner of one, walking past him to stand at the back right corner (passenger side) and having him open the trunk to his left. Most of you, like I did, probably know that the driver’s side is the right side of the car in the UK and you drive on the left side of the street, but it’s quite different (and a bit scary) when experiencing it for the first time.
As we drove the two hours to Findhorn and I tried to make conversation, it soon became clear that the majority of social niceties and jokes I tried to make didn’t really land. As we drove past road signs that had some of the strangest combinations of letters I have ever seen in the English language, I felt the awkwardness of my American-English words falling out of my mouth and expressed to him how foreign it all seemed.
I think he had had similar expectations, of things being relatively normal between two English speakers, yet as soon as I shared how I was feeling we settled into the strangeness together as we both recognized that language isn’t everything and culture is much broader and deeper than that. We’re certainly off to an exciting start