It was hard when I first arrived in Scotland from Texas, USA. Even though it was “summer,” it was 25 degrees cooler and I went from wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts to wrapping up in three layers of clothes, a coat and a wooly hat.
Cars drove on the wrong side of the road. There were roundabouts – paved circles with no stop signs or traffic lights. Cars spin in and out of roundabouts without stopping and drivers use right turn signals – even though vehicles turn left entering a roundabout. Many roads are poorly marked or not marked at all. Signs are in both Gaelic and English, with the Gaelic on top. Since the lettering is small, it’s nearly impossible to read it.
Meals are called “tea,” so when you are invited over for tea, you don’t know if you’re joining friends for a cup of hot tea (which I don’t drink anyway), or a meal. Cookies are called biscuits and biscuits are scones. Toilet paper is “loo roll” and dish soap is “washing up liquid.” Sidewalks are called pavement. While waiting for a bus, the driver shouted at me, “Get on the pavement.” I was confused because I was standing on the pavement.
Favorite is spelled favourite, color is colour, program is programme, and long lines are called queues. Oh – and dog owners don’t like to have their dogs called “pups” unless they are actually puppies.
Church services are strictly timed to finish within an hour. Songs are usually accompanied by slow, ponderous organ music. Following human traditions is more important than following the leading of the Holy Spirit.
There are virtually no convenience stores and long trips are miserable because of the lack of public restrooms. Once, out of sheer desperation, I hunkered down in the back of a store that hadn’t opened yet, squatting between wire racks. Existing restrooms usually have thick-walled stalls from the floor to the ceiling with such painted-over metal hardware that I never lock the door because when I do – I either cut my fingers or am afraid I won’t be able to unlock it again.
When you order Italian food like lasagna in the U.S., you get hot bread, a salad, the main course, and refills of iced tea or soft drinks. In Scotland…you get lasagna. No refills on drinks.
Words like schedule, proven, resume and laboratory are pronounced differently. Words like garage and aluminum are pronounced so differently that I didn’t know what they were at first.
God brought me to Scotland. He’s helped me bloom. I still say “y’all,” and haven’t said “aye” yet, but I actually invited someone to have “tea” with us – meaning a meal! The hardness and trials have translated into blessings. We live where everything that is green blooms, and everything is green because of the surplus of rain. In any direction one looks, there is no blight, no ugliness. The people are warm, friendly, generous and independent. They remind me of Texas folks.
And my second Miz Mike mystery-romance-suspense is about to be released by Sunpenny Publishing Group, here in the UK. God has transformed hardness and confusion into rose petals and sea breezes.
It is possible to bloom amid rocks and hardness. Trust God to turn the hard circumstances in your life into garden spots.