I should have listened when pretty much everyone told me I was crazy to start my job two days after arriving in Glasgow. But I didn’t, and so today was my first day at my new job! I’m doing administrative and communications work at one of the local universities (the same one where my partner works, but in a different department and building.) The people are all lovely, and as one might expect, I don’t have access to anything yet. I dropped off my credentials (visa and Master’s degree) at Human Resources today and should have email and the ability to get an ID card tomorrow. This is critical because all the doors require an ID card scan to get in; I can’t get into my office without it (or without someone else letting me in.) That gets annoying fast.
I will say that I am having a hell of a time with all the different accents here. In my office, I think two people are English (I can actually understand most of what they say) and there’s at least one lifelong Glaswegian that is really, really hard for me to understand. I really hope this gets easier fast because I feel terrible always asking people to repeat themselves. I also had cell phone problems today (again) and lost access to mobile data about 45 minutes before I left work (alone) to navigate the streets of Glasgow (alone) without a map, and without being able to reach my partner (I could still dial out, but by the time I realized I had a problem, he was in a meeting and couldn’t answer.) Oh, and I had to ask what a “tattie” was at lunch (it’s a potato! And the only thing on the menu I could actually eat at the little cafe we were at!)
After all of this, I’m exhausted, and I guess this is what people meant when they warned me there would be days when it would be really frustrating to be in a foreign country. I feel like I’m asking kind of stupid questions, it takes all my attention and focus to understand the words coming out of people’s mouths (even though I speak the language!) and I’m just kind of constantly uneasy when I’m outside of the flat. I know I need to give myself a break, as I’ve really only been here less than three full days, and no one can be expected to have it all figured out that quickly.
On the plus side, I’ve gotten better at using pounds, and have made dinner two nights in a row. I also managed to use the washing machine and the dehumidifier. Killing it at home.
In other really big news, tomorrow the Scottish people vote to decide if they want to become an independent nation, i.e. leave the United Kingdom. This referendum vote is expected to be extremely close, with polls showing the Scottish people are pretty evenly divided on the subject. Whatever happens tomorrow, about half the country is going to be really disappointed come Friday morning when the results are finally announced. Our upstairs neighbor, and from what I can tell, most of my co-workers, seem to be very much in favor of an independent Scotland. It’s been very interesting to be here and hear the arguments for and against, and the multiple accusations by the “Yes” contingent that the BBC coverage of the issue has been very biased against independence. There’s a huge “Yes” rally happening near the city centre now (I walked by it earlier this evening) and we’ve been invited to watch the results come in tomorrow at the neighbor’s flat (which is tempting, as we don’t have a television here.) There’s excitement in the air, and I imagine tomorrow will be quite exciting to see, however it turns out in the end.
What do you think, friends? For or against Scottish independence?