American Expat Living in Scotland - Interview with Ashley

Published: 19 Jul at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Scotland
Ashley is originally from Florida, but made Washington, DC her home. She moved to Scotland two years ago, due to a thing called love, and started Cheers Blondie to share her adventures and unique outlook on living and working abroad. Ashley's expat blog is called Cheers Blondie (see listing here)

On my Scottish Hen Do
On my Scottish Hen Do

Here's the interview with Ashley...

Where are you originally from?
I am originally a Florida girl, but call Washington, DC home!

In which country and city are you living now?
Edinburgh, Scotland

How long have you lived in Scotland and how long are you planning to stay?
I have lived here for two years and plan on being here for the foreseeable future.

Almost looks like Summer in Edinburgh
Almost looks like Summer in Edinburgh
Why did you move to Scotland and what do you do?
I was swept away by a Scottish stud, who is now my husband! We met in Washington, DC and he’s originally from St Andrews, Scotland. He had been in the states for several years and wanted to move back to Scotland. I let the accent influence me and packed my bags and moved to Edinburgh!

I work for a creative agency in New Town, Edinburgh.

Did you bring family with you?
My husband, who is from Scotland.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
I didn’t quite comprehend how difficult it was going to be to live in another country. I thought because they spoke English the culture shock wouldn’t be as difficult. That proved to be ridiculous. I had a wonderful new family and good friends in Scotland that were really supportive and my family and friends back home were very encouraging about the move. But at the end of the day it’s life-changing and hard. And it’s one of the reasons I started my blog, it was really cathartic to share what I was going through and in a light-hearted way.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
The majority of my friends are Scottish as I’m married to a Scot and I am not around expats as much. There are a few American groups you can get involved with, but I haven’t found them super helpful. I like being immersed in the culture and no better way to do that then having Scottish friends. However, I do think it’s important to have at least one American friend that can empathize with you about how cold it is or how dumb driving on the left side of the road is.

Our wedding day in old town
Our wedding day in old town
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Edinburgh is a beautiful city and full of different neighbourhoods. I would recommend exploring and appreciating what each area brings. New Town, Old Town, Bruntsfield, Leith and the Grassmarket all have something that is unique to them. There are so many wonderful restaurants and bars throughout Edinburgh and my favorite times of the year are during the festival in the summer and Christmas time.

What do you enjoy most about living in Scotland?
My work-life balance is much better than the US. They work to live instead of live to work. They think holidays are important and have excellent universal healthcare.

How does the cost of living in Scotland compare to home?
Cost of living is less than Washington, DC, but more expensive than a lot of other areas in the US. Salaries reflect cost of living, in my opinion.

Traveling with my husband in Europe
Traveling with my husband in Europe
What negatives, if any, are there to living in Scotland?
The weather is crap, I need more closet space and I miss American football! Plus I have found people here either love or hate Americans. Negative stereotypes are prominent and I have never been so patriotic in my life. I feel like I have to stick up for America a lot.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Scotland, what would it be?
Don’t come with expectations. Don’t think it will be easy. Embrace the culture and appreciate the good that Scotland has to offer and appreciate the good that US has to offer. Feel lucky that you get both, instead of sad that you are missing out on one.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Getting used to the different culture. All the little things that I wasn’t used to back home.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I think if I were to go back to the states it would take some time to get used to the way of life again. I always appreciate my creature comforts when I go back to visit and miss things from home, but I have reached that point with living abroad that it feels like home here now too.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Tea is offered 100 times a day and you are expected to make it for all of your colleagues. I’m not a waitress and I can only take so many cups of warmed flavor water.
  2. They call ketchup red sauce and then there is this mysterious brown sauce. No one can tell me what it actually is, I would recommend staying away from it.
  3. Biscuits are cookies, chips are fries, juice is soda and Haggis is actually really good, get on that.
  4. Travel as much as possible! In Scotland and Europe, take advantage of the opportunities living abroad.
  5. Don’t come with expectations. Don’t think it will be easy. Embrace the culture and appreciate the good that Scotland has to offer and appreciate the good that US has to offer. Feel lucky that you get both, instead of sad that you are missing out on one.
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
Cheers Blondie was initially my way to share my new adventures with family and friends, however, turned into a more public forum because I realized how much I enjoyed reading others thoughts on expat life. My approach is light hearted and pokes fun at the differences of living abroad.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Instagram: cheersblondie

About the author

Expat Blog ListingAshley is an American expat living in Scotland. Blog description: I am originally a Florida girl, but made Washington, DC my home. I am now settling in Scotland, due to a thing called love, and sharing my adventures and unique outlook on living and working abroad. Enjoy!
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