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Ashley Finlay, Edinburgh

Who are you?

My name is Ashley and 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 my blog to share my adventures and unique outlook on living and working abroad.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

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!

What challenges did you face during the move?

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. 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.

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Are there many other expats in your area?

There are some and a few American groups you can get involved with. I haven’t found them super helpful, but I do think it’s important to have at least one American friend that can empathize with you about how cold it is or how dumb driving on the left side of the road is.

Ashley's wedding in Edinburgh

What do you like about life where you are?

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.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

The weather is crap, I need more closet space and I miss American football where there is actual contact and scoring. I can only watch guys run around kicking a ball for so long.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

I have never talked about the weather as much as I do now, which is usually the same. Wet and cold. Customer service is not really a thing, but neither is tipping so at least you don’t have to pay for bad service.

Celsius does my head in, I don’t know how many cm tall I am or why someone needs to be weighed in “stones”. Band aids are plasters and rubbers are erasers, yea that last one took me a little while to get used to.

What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

Wine comes in small, medium and large glasses. Why?

Tea is offered 100 times a day and you are expected to make it for all of your colleagues. I’m not a waitress and I can only take so many cups of warmed flavor water.

Edinburgh on a rare sunny day

They really like bacon rolls, which is just bacon on a roll without egg or cheese or anything. They call ketchup red sauce and then there is this mysterious brown sauce. No one can tell me what it actually is, I would recommend staying away from it. Biscuits are cookies, chips are fries, juice is soda and haggis is actually really good, get on that.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Don’t come with expectations. Don’t think it will be easy. Embrace the culture and meet Scottish friends. Have at least one good American 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 US has to offer. Feel lucky that you get both, instead of sad that you are missing out on one.

What are your plans for the future?

To plan more holidays, keep growing Cheers Blondie and to figure out what brown sauce is.

You can keep up to date with Ashley's adventures on her blog, Cheers Blondie.

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