No one has ever asked me how I feel in Scotland, almost three months since I moved here. I will tell you, because I want to help those who decide to move to a foreign country and they do not know what to expect. I also want to be able to easily remember over the years how I felt when I moved here.
My first day in Scotland was wonderful. I walked through the shops, bought me all sorts of things, I made hundreds of photos, as if it were days in the bag, as we say. I think my face was a delight to discover a special country, because everyone smiled and greets me. In the evening, when we returned to the apartment we live in, I told my husband:
-I do not go back to Romania!
I made cards on all the shops in the area, I made a bank account and I was getting my work permit NINo (If you do not have a National Insurance number, you have to apply. Once you are in the UK, you will have the right to work or study in the UK to get a National Insurance number.). I walked my dog through the town where I settled and taught him not to run after the bunnies who graze freely in the grassy places.
The days passed quickly, and I knew better that I did not master English well enough, that it was hard for me to understand what the Scots were talking about. I started to be afraid. Will I be able to understand with them? Will I ever get to figure out what they’re talking about? They will ever accept me among them or they will always consider me a stranger in their own country, as George Mikes wrote in How to be an alien? Can I ever get here, can I feel “home”?
Then I found a job. There are Romanians, Poles, Indians, as well as many Scottish people. In the early days it seemed very difficult to me because some Scots people I understood what they were talking about, others I did not. I was afraid to speak, lest I be ashamed of not correct using verbs and prepositions. Sometimes I wanted to talk and there was no word in my head, as though I did not know English at all.
Some Scottish people looked at me with sincerity, they smiled at me, encouraged me to talk, and helped me learn about my job. Others looked at me for a moment, noticed that I was not of theirs and were turning their heads elsewhere. Others smiled for a moment, then the smile disappeared as suddenly as it appeared. Like everywhere in the world, I understand that there are people in Scotland who gladly accept foreigners and people who would like to see everyone left in the countries they came from.
Because of some health problems, I had some terrible pain for a while, and then, in a moment of rage, I told my husband:
-I hate this country and this job! The bad idea you had to come here.
It was not true, but the pains made me stop thinking coherently. I wanted to be home, to be able to talk to my native language and someone in my native language to console me and tell me they will pass.
I took a few days off work, to take care of my health. I spent many days lying in bed, remembering the time spent at work. I realized that I do not know the names of my work colleagues (with a few exceptions), but I can say about every Scottish person whether it is good or not, whether they likes strangers or not, if they’s a trusted persons that it will help you when it will be hard for you. It even started to miss them.
There’s too much peace in my house. I feel strange in a foreign country. I wish I could hear the Scottish talking about weather with that accent impossible to imitate. I miss seeing them smile, even fake. I would like to laugh at their jokes again and then stop, too scared and too ashamed to try to answer them. For the time being, the pain I do not allow me to go back to work. I stay in the house and dream of the day when I will not feel stranger anymore in Scotland.