Wednesday, July 24, 2013

First post

We moved to Scotland six weeks ago. Most of our stuff is unpacked. We've bought furniture and appliances and a car, set up a bank account and mobile phones and satellite television. Yet I have a lingering feeling of disbelief. The reality of moving to a foreign country and not just visiting for an extended vacation hasn't sunk in. We didn't buy return flights to North Carolina? Our (small) allotment of vacation days isn't being exhausted? We live here now? We live in Scotland? A place with castles and whisky and golf and haggis and tartans?

Culzean Castle
Culzean "Castle," which is really a seaside country estate built on the bones of an older castle.
Our lives just took a turn onto the road less traveled. As expatriates, we're certainly not unique; a few million U.S. citizens currently live abroad. Moving to the U.K. barely qualifies as expatriating, but rather as expat-lite. Nevertheless, about 99% of American citizens will never live outside the U.S. borders.

Now we're immigrants. We have new cultural and legal rules to learn. I've had half of a year to get used to the idea. Excitement. Pride. Commitment.

Whisky with a haircut
Whisky with my haircut?  Well, if you insist.
More strangely: I'm also now a blogger?

Blogging unsettles me. I lean mildly toward introversion. I can barely muster the interest/effort/courage/witticism to post on Facebook a couple of times a month. I enjoy hearing about your life, seeing too many pictures of your kid, reading your amateurish forays into political opinions, wondering about why you're friends with that moron, blocking all the updates about the games you play, hitting "Like" to support big events in your life. However, I'm not especially keen on sharing those details about me.

Yet here is my first blog post.

By blogging, I want to accomplish several goals, whether concurrently or variously or just occasionally. I hope it can help keep me connected to friends and family, to let them vicariously experience our lives in Scotland. Meanwhile, although it is unlikely anyone outside my small circle will read this blog, the possibility exists and so I will try to make it accessible to others.

Blogging also will help chronicle the life of my young son, Jackson. Since I'll be spending most of my time as a stay at home dad, my blog will be filtered through the challenges fun of raising a toddler.

Wandering in Anstruther
Jackson monkeying around in the fishing village of Anstruther, home of the best chippie in Scotland.
Viewed in another way, if I get hit by a bus, this blog may help little Jack know something about me when he's older.

I'm going to try to share some insight into visiting and living in Scotland, and by extension into visiting and living in the U.K. and abroad generally. We plan on traveling throughout Scotland, the U.K., and Europe. Despite the challenges of setting up life here and my wife starting her job three weeks ago, we've already spent time in the last six weeks as tourists in Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Stirling, and Glen Coe, as well as exploring our home city of Glasgow and environs such as Loch Lomond.

View down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh
A view down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.
I'm a history buff and will delve into historical trivia. I'm a musician who hopes to hear great music in the concert hall and find great bands in the pubs. I love museums and architecture and paintings and cathedrals. I'm a sports fan who just this week attended the British Open and a Celtic football match.  I'm a political junkie who will follow British politics, including next year's referendum on Scottish independence. I'm looking forward to describing the myriad flavors of crisps, what it's like to wear a kilt, and just how remote the Outer Hebrides are.

Swilcan Bridge on the Old Course in St. Andrews
Mattie, Kate, and Jackson posed on the 700 year old Swilcan Bridge on the Old Course in St. Andrews. Most Sundays the Old Course is open to the public for picnics, dog walks, and tours.
And, admittedly, blogging gives me something to do.

With luck, I'd like to inspire you to move abroad. You might have pondered it already. Perhaps dismissed it as impossible. Maybe somewhere in this blog you'll find a nugget to help you.


  1. Lovely first entry, though I suspect hell froze over as you wrote it. Am I the aforementioned person who posts too many pics of her kid on facebook? Whatever, you like it! My only question, in this last pic how did Katie end up with the dog and the kid and you with only the camera?

  2. Thanks, Kristen! I don't know if hell froze over, but it definitely got a cold snap. And too many pictures of your kid? If it wasn't for you, my kid wouldn't even make an appearance on Facebook.

    As for the last picture here, I took a three hour guided tour of the golf course with my bro-in-law, John. Our wives and kiddos met us on the last hole, and we posed for pictures on the famous bridge. Kate is a trooper about using the backpack to tote around Jackson.

  3. Stumbled on your blog while looking for information on the Jacobite train. We plan to visit in July. I was thrilled to see you had relocated from North Carolina. Me too, sort of! We have lived in Germany for the last 1.5 years with two little boys, aged 4 and 3. I am originally from Hickory, NC and moved to Baltimore in 2005, then Germany in 2012. I love that you are having this experience with your family. It is amazing, isn't it? I hope Jackson has a blast. He is very fortunate as he'll probably not remember most of the things but you've created a diary for him right here. Enjoy your adventures. I can't wait to experience Scotland in July. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks! We're having a wonderful time. I'm sure you're having a great time in Germany, too. I hope my post about the Jacobite was useful. Enjoy your trip in July!