Maria's Blog: Call for International Students: Do you relate?
Raindrops are hitting my window and it sounds like an angry teenage drummer. Or at least… that’s what I’m expecting to happen.
Why is it not raining? I’ve been here for more than one month and I think it’s only rained like 5 times. And that’s totally normal since it’s autumn! I left my home country with a fifty kilo luggage of unrealistic expectations. You know all of these ideas that foreign people have got implemented in their heads about the UK that are totally unhelpful for someone who actually wants to come and live here? That’s what my head was filled up with...ideas that weren't accurate! Well… except the fact that Scots love their meat. Not meaning to offend any vegetarians around here, it’s just that I couldn’t have imagined ‘black pudding’ to be a thing in my wildest dreams, and also I heard a story of a girl who once told a Scottish pal she doesn’t like bacon. Poor girl…
Well, anyway... even though it’s really windy around here, my belief that carrying an umbrella around everyday was shattered. But other interesting beliefs took its place. Like the one that I never have to forget my smile at home. Or my place in the bus queue… that could have serious consequences. Jokes aside, British people are renowned for their politeness and although I knew this before moving to Edinburgh, it keeps surprising me everyday how nice people are around here. Luckily, I don’t come from a place where people are fighting on the streets all of the time, but I don’t remember 'bumping into strangers while hurrying to catch my train and even hitting them with my bag by mistake but still getting a wide smile when I look up' was a thing in Romania. And if it happened, it didn’t on a regular basis anyway (Yeah, it’s true, I bump into people pretty often). One person even apologized to me after I bumped into her. The conversation went like: “Sorry.” “Uh… What? Noo! I’m sorry.” “Oh right… Well, anyway, you don’t have to be. Have a good day!” Yeah… did I mention it was also 8 am? I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not that nice so early.
Another thing that was interesting to me was the ‘waving at the buses’ policy. I have to admit that it’s a useful trick for preventing buses from being late to actually pick up people that are waiting to be picked up, but… for the outsider dummies squad it can get pretty difficult. I remember this one night in my first week. I was hungry, freezing, and I really wanted to go to the toilet. I’d been waiting for my bus for about 15 minutes and when it finally came… it left without me. While I was filing a complaint to Lothian Buses in my mind, I saw the girl standing next to me waving at her bus driver. It all started to make sense. I finally felt at ease and prepared for Edinburgh city life.
…until this happened...
Remember how I was hungry and freezing? Yeah, my brain wasn’t helping me concentrate on what I have to do in order to actually get home. My thoughts sounded more like: “Food. Hot bath. Blankets. Hamburger. Yummy.’’ We all have these moments, right? So during this internal monologue about eating and taking a bath, I started wondering ‘’why have I been sitting before this traffic light forever? Is this bad karma? Am I starting to trip because of hunger so then maybe I’m not perceiving time like a normal human being?’’ Can you guys guess the answer? It was lot more simple than that: I’d forgotten to press the button.
So yeah… Moving to another country is exciting, fun, at times really weird and embarrassing… but I guess all of us international students are on the same boat and I’m always curious about hearing other people’s stories. Maybe there aren’t many countries like mine, where pressing a button in order to cross the street would be too much of a burden for its citizens. But I know for sure that there are small differences like this wherever you come from. For example, my friend who just moved here from America is, in her words, ‘’still adapting to military time’’ (13, 14, 15 being used for measuring time). Anyway, I think we can all agree that no one should ever feel bad for taking their time to adapt. And I think we can all agree that Edinburgh is a wonderful city that can make you feel like home so fast… no matter how far your actual home might be.
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