They are the little things that make the difference

IMG_4207Back to the wonders of life in Scotland. So, there are things I like, such as the accent, and things I don’t like so much, such as the rainy-always-autumn weather. It is pretty easy to get used to that kind of big differences whether I like them or not. The little differences are the ones that make Scotland still feel strange. They are the differences that make every country and culture feel different from each other.

Scotland has left hand side traffic. Okay. It took a while to get used to look to the right first before crossing a road, but that is okay. Down in London it reads “look to the right” on the pavement at the crossing, but here we do not have that luxury. Here they do not seem to be interested in making pedestrians life easy anyway. Cars do not have to stop for pedestrians at the crossings if there are no white stripes painted on the ground. And there usually are no stripes of any kind, just a little dent in the curb so that you know that this is where you should try to cross.

Also the traffic signs are different from Finnish traffic signs and for example give a way -triangles are often painted on the pavement. It took me half a year to realize that. I never knew who should go first because I didn’t see the triangles and I didn’t know if the left hand side traffic reversed all the rules as well! Luckily I didn’t drive or bike among the traffic before that enlightenment. Now that I do bike everywhere I have noticed that cars do not use lights during the day. It makes it difficult to know wether they are moving or not. To make it even more difficult to know which cars are moving, cars can park on both sides of the road which ever way they want to.

The traffic is not the only thing that is upside down here. Why do the doors open inwards? I have understood that this is the case in most of the countries, but it is strange to me. Should we not be able to get out of the house easily in an emergency situation? I also think it is more logical to have doors to open to open space (hallway, yard, street…) instead of to the room.

Why do the light goes on when I turn the switch down? My logic says that down is off and up is on, it just makes much more sense. Why don’t they have double windows here? It would prevent the wind and damp coming into the house and reduce heating costs a lot. Why is everything carpeted? Why is grass always super green? Why are dirty outdoor trainers allowed at the indoor gym? Who do they not have simple old fashioned can openers? Or cheese cutters? Why do they not have grounded cardamom in Tesco? Why is skinny milk red and whole milk blue?…

There are little things that I ran into my everyday life. Some are obvious, some are not. They might make me feel out of place but not every strangness is negative. I really love the mountains in the horizon, and being able to go to the mountains for a day is something I can not do in the Southern Finland. People are also welcoming and warm. It is really nice how strangers open and hold the doors open for others and how older people call me “dear” or “hen”. I am quite willing to pay £2.40 for a latte if the lady at the counter says “Tha’s two forty darlin”

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