Here, Raquel Roman from Chicago gives her thoughts as an exiled American on when her parents come to visit her in Scotland!
“My mom and dad in Scotland; oh that’s a funny one. I think the first thing that makes this an entirely awkward experience is the fact that my lovely well spoken mother insists on pronouncing Glasgow like Glass Cow instead of Glaz-Go. When I try to correct her, she gets upset. Fine. Mom says ‘Glasgow’ funny, deal with it. When in Scotland all my mom wants to do is shop and call pounds dollars.
My dad: giant camera around his neck, gleaming white trainers, map and jeans that weren’t even cool in the ‘80’s. When my dad is in Scotland all he wants to do is interact with the ‘natives’, take their picture, hear their story, ruin my life.
After the jet lag wears off, my mom and dad are ready to travel throughout Scotland and see the sights. My mom’s observations consist of: everyone in Glasgow wears black, the entire country is well equipped for people with disabilities, the strawberries in Scotland ‘are soooo good’, the eggs aren’t white, the shortbread is yummy (calories don’t count when you’re abroad), people are so pale (or orange) and it’s ok to drink 7 beers, because they’re half pints.
Meanwhile my dad stops every 2.5 seconds to take a photograph, and has no problem stopping a man in a kilt to get his picture taken with him. My dad thinks bagpipes are the cat’s pajamas and finds the sound really emotional. He attempts to get a photograph of every loch, castle and glen from 500 different angles and fills up his memory card in 2 days. This means we spend an entire day uploading every single picture onto my laptop. My computer now moves at a snail’s pace. Thanks dad.
Walking around Edinburgh Castle with my parents takes exactly 4.5 hours as my mom cleans out the gift shop and my dad literally CAN’T stop taking photos.
Due to my parents’ dissimilar interests my mom and I end up wandering around shops and stopping for coffee at hourly intervals, my dad ends up getting lost trying to find a museum and I get a stomach ache from all the coffee.
My mom insists on walking into cafes and saying ‘do you have lattes here’, as if we’re in some 3rdworld country that doesn’t have these type of things. Then my mom makes the most complicated coffee order ever. ‘I want coffee, a latte, with skimmed milk, it needs to be decaf’. The latte arrives, the sweetener is on the table and she’s disappointed that you get some stupid Splenda pill instead of the sugary type granules she loves.
My dad insists on ordering food that he’s not completely sure about and then complains that it’s not flavourful enough. He asks for hot sauce for his eggs, makes friends with the waitress and takes a photo with the owner. The funny part is that I know whoever comes in contact with my dad thinks he’s insane, and I know my dad has absolutely no idea what anyone is saying. Ignorance is bliss? Aye.”
Brilliant. So, a few American stereotypes here but it’s easy to see that a lot of the things we take for granted and can even find a bit embarrassing. they’re the very things visitors love! Also, it’s clear that wherever you travel, it’s all about the people. We need to make much more of this Scottish aspect because when it comes to ‘people’ we can be quite good at this.