Buckle in kids. It’s gonna be a long one.
Hello dear reader. It’s been a while. How’ve you all been? How was your Christmas? Hanukkah? Kwanza? Boxing Day? New Years? Other holidays? Random Tuesday mornings? I hope they’ve been good. Ours have been good. Especially those random Tuesdays…
The Bergman sisters have been living in Scotland for over 2 months now. What the what? When did that happen? We’ve been here long enough that Edinburgh isn’t really a new city anymore. By no means have we viewed every inch of it, but it’s fair to say we know our way around pretty well. I haven’t given you guys any information on what I’ve been up to in the past month so let’s get on that shall we?
We’re both working. Kelsey mentioned her job in her blog post, so you all know about her crazy, insane, how is she still alive, work schedule. Mine isn’t nearly so hectic. I work for a coffee house called Fredericks. It’s right off Frederick street (Inspirational name. I know) and when I go out the door and turn right I have a direct view of the castle. It’s pretty sweet I must say. While I never thought I’d be a barista again, and I certainly never thought I’d be a waitress, I actually enjoy my job most of the time. My coworkers are all fantastic people (save one…curse you, foul human) and it’s a joy to come into work every day. Waitressing isn’t something I’d ever done before so I wasn’t sure how I’d adjust, but it’s just like any job. You do ok, better with practice, make mistakes sometimes regardless of how good you are, learn, repeat, etc. It’s by no means a permanent job, but it suits me for the time being.
I’m now officially registered with a GP. ‘GP’ if I haven’t mentioned previously, stands for General Practitioner. Essentially this means I have a doctor now. WOOHOO!! This is on the top list of prioroities really seeing as I have a crap ton of health issues. While I’m here, I’m going to take advantage of the (essentially) free healthcare and cram as many doctor appointments in as I can. Everything is slower to get done here, but free. Did I mention free? Free. Also. Fun fact. Birth control is free here too. Yup. Like…seriously USA. Get on Scotland’s level.
I’ve also joined a gym. And I go. A lot. Pretty much every day after work. I didn’t go today (I chose instead to buy a laundry basket and write to you guys..) but I did walk 2 miles because I felt bad not running 4. I don’t know who this person is who’s all into this regime, but it’s pretty cool. My fitness and health are the most important things to me at the moment as
- I have the time to focus on them
- Kelsey and I have zero social life so temptations are few
- Fitness is something that is 100% self inducing. You are your own champion. And I need something like that at the moment I think.
It’s not just exercise but food too. I’m eating like an insane health fanatic. If I drink, it’s only once a week. I prep all my meals so I know what I’ll be consuming for the week. I weigh my food. No, seriously. That’s a thing I do now. I even try to make sure I’m eating a certain amount of grams of protein, carbs, and fats every day. I’m proud of myself for sticking with it and trying to become a better, healthier, me. It’s working too. I have all kinds of energy throughout the day, and I’m fairly certain the reason I have the energy to workout after shifts of being on my feet all day, is because I’m eating all the right things. Not gonna lie though it’s not always easy. The struggle is real being surrounded by cakes, muffins, and scones at work all the time. It’s just…so not fair. Nor is it awesome watching Kelsey eat bourbon vanilla ice cream (right!?) at home while I’m “splurging” on an extra orange. Haha. But it’s my choice, and I can always change my mind if I want to.
Kelsey promised pictures so I am delivering on them. Here is an unofficial tour of our flat. There’s no picture of Kelseys room as I took these while she was at work (when is she not) and I didn’t want to invade her privacy. Everything else is here though.
Our kitchen is pretty amazing. We lucked out completely on this flat. The previous tenant had lived here for 17 years and only left because he met someone and moved in with her. As a result, everything was refurbished for the new tenants once he left. We have a fully stocked kitchen and even had basics when we first moved in. A cutlery set, basic plates, cups, bowls, and even 3 pots! We also were given a hot water heater (for tea. Of course.), a microwave, a toaster… seriously. The best.
Bathroom is rather basic I spose…We have zero shelving space, and that’s the only mirror in the place, but we make do; there’s only 2 of us after all. Plus we have completely different schedules so there’s no fighting over bathroom time.
Living room. We spend absolutely no time in here. It’s basically become our clothes drying room. Everything you see, save for the few kitchy things came with the flat. We’ve never turned the TV on. (Screw that TV tax. So not worth it) Never used the fireplace, and it’s rather dark due to the shade over the lamp. We do however, have a couch bed and it has been tested by our friend Ellika, and is considered to be very comfortable. So you are in good hands should you come visit.
Last but not least, my bedroom. Or part of it anyway. Feel lucky. This is likely the only time you (or I) will ever see it clean. It’s pretty bare at the moment (save for my picture wall which is directly behind where this picture is taken) but I love my room. It’s warm, and inviting, and comfortable. To the left of my bed is a huge window and the opposite wall has my closet.
So, that’s our flat. Nice huh? We really love it a lot. We also were told about how small flats in the UK are so the fact that we have one with so much space is even more of a luxury. We felt at home our first night there, and it’s only gotten better since.
There are some crazy differences in the UK vs the US though. This is an obvious statement, but there’s things that you don’t think would even register in your mind, that you suddenly take notice of.
- Electric: We pay our electric bill through a key that is inserted into our closet. You can “top up” (add money to) your key and that’s how you’re charged. It’s kinda nifty actually because you know exactly how much electricty you’re using every day as opposed to getting a bill at the end of the month. No fear of overcharging either. We use very little electricty (due to never being there) so while we can be charged monthly should we choose, this seems better.
- Laundry: So most flats come with a washing machine. And they’re always in the kitchen. It’s just the way things are done here. Laundry rooms are just not a thing. Few places have dryers though. That is considered a vast luxury. Instead we have drying racks, and when it’s warm outside, drying lines. As a result
of this, laundry time can become ridiculous as we’ll hang our clothes, sheets, and towels all over the flat in an exasperated attempt to dry them quickly. Best by far is draping them over the heater, but there’s only so many heaters in one flat…
Few other differences:
- Outlets have three prongs instead of two. They also have switches that allow you to shut off the electricty to that particular outlet
- The mail trucks are red. Not blue.
- Filter coffee is almost impossible to find at coffee houses. Good luck.
- Tipping isn’t really a thing here. Many do, but it’s not mandatory. If you do decide to tip, it can be as little as 20p. It’s gotten to the point where if I receive any tip at all I’m grateful.
- Pants are called trousers here. Pants are underpants
- The internet is kinda shit
- You’re constantly going to have spare change due to 1 and 2 pound coins
- Food has quick expiration dates. You’re lucky if things last a week
- Contact-less credit cards: Seriously. Best thing ever. No need for a pin or anything. You tap your card on the pin pad and you’re on your way. The future is now.
- Scones. Americans don’t know what scones are. Those triangle things at Starbucks are not scones. We need to incorporate scones into our diets.
We’ve also learned a lot of new slang terms that we’ve adapted into our vernacular. While in no way natives or experienced yet, I think it’s safe to say Kelsey and I aren’t tourists anymore.
I was gonna write about our holidays as well, but I think this post is long enough. I did warn you it would be a long one. Thanks for sticking with me to the end. Happy New Year!