Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Scotland: Cultural Differences Part 3 (Or Seven Things What Will Shock my Seven-Year Old When We Return to America)

First, they don't call the whole continent "America." Over here, the U.S. Canada, Mexico, it all seems to be combined into "America." when her friends ask "Where are you from?" Audrey says "America," but soon she'll have to be more specific.
Second, there are no school uniforms, and as a result, U.S. kids care a lot more about their clothes. Don't get me wrong, kids in Scotland do care about their clothes, especially (for seven year olds) tracksuits and party dresses, but they really only have 2 days to indulge that interest. The other five days are back to the pinafore, or skirt, or (very occasionally for girls) trousers.  The related item to this is that (shh, don't tell my Scottish friends) only old ladies iron in the United States. Everyone irons here. It's like a national pastime. We've speculated that it's related to the dearth of clothes dryers.

Practicing with her uniformed "Dance Team" in the schoolyard
Third, there is no blackcurrant juice. Only grape. I am not sure how blackcurrent managed to take hold in the UK but it is everywhere. You can have blackcurrent, orange, or apple. Those are your choices. 
Okay this is actually a novelty Ribena radio, but it was the best blackcurrent picture I could find!
Fourth, you don't have to walk nearly as much, and only if you choose your home very strategically will you be able to walk to school (especially in Tucson). On the plus side, you won't be walking up two steep hills in the rain and "fresh breeze" to school every day. 

Fifth, some holidays that are minimally celebrated here in the U.K. are a BIG deal in the U.S. I have already been prepping her for Halloween. Of course the rise of Halloween (and Dia de los Muertos in Tucson) means that something else has to go - the "Bonfire Night" fireworks (and yes, bonfire) celebrating Guy Fawkes attempt to blow up Parliament (generally, in Scotland, or, celebrating that he failed, depending upon your location in the UK and your politics) won't be a fixture anymore on November 5, nor will there be Christmas Light Night in mid-November. 

Bonfire Night fireworks
Sixth, it's called a bathroom or a restroom, not a toilet. And a faucet, not a tap.  And a hundred other language differences.

Seventh, no one can sing the lyrics from One Direction's latest album.  At least, I hope they can't. For everyone's sake.

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