My name is Ashley and I am originally a Florida girl, but made Washington, DC my home. I moved to Scotland two years ago, due to a thing called love, and started Cheers Blondie to share my adventures and unique outlook on living and working abroad.
1. Why did you move abroad?
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. I let the accent influence me and packed my bags and moved to Edinburgh!
2. How do you make a living?
I work in client services for a creative agency. It wasn’t an easy transition from DC to Edinburgh in regard to work, but I have been lucky to find the opportunities I have and be able to continue my career abroad and have some money to live on (always a positive).
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
Thank goodness for technology! I love sending a message in the morning and waiting until the afternoon to receive a reply. Or scheduling a call at 1am and making sure I’m on Wi-Fi so my data doesn’t skyrocket. So, thank you WhatsApp, FaceTime, Skype and Google Hangouts, but if you could just figure out how to change this whole time difference thing then life would be ideal.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Scotland?
My work-life balance is much better than the US. They work to live in Scotland, instead of live to work. They think holidays are important and I can travel around Europe, if even just for a weekend.
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Scotland?
The weather is crap, I need more closet space and it’s a harsh reality to learn that not everyone is as in love with America or Americans as we like to think.
6. What do you miss most?
American Football, wheat thins and NyQuil. Also, my family and friends.
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
The majority of my friends are Scottish, as I’m married to a Scot, so 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 than 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.
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
They are very patriotic when it comes to sports, even though they aren’t very good at anything. ;-)
Also, 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.
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
They don’t all play bagpipes while drinking a pint and eating haggis. Ok, some of them don’t.
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
Cost of living in Edinburgh is less than Washington, DC, but more expensive than a lot of other areas in the US. It hasn’t made a huge difference in my life because salaries seem to reflect cost of living, so I can still do the same things I did in the states.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
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 the US has to offer. Feel lucky that you get both, instead of sad that you are missing out on one.
And expect to be offered tea one hundred times a day. I can’t drink that much warm flavored water, but perhaps you will be fine with it.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
Cheers Blondie was initially my way to share my new Scottish adventures with family and friends, however, it 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.
Ashley's blog, Cheers Blondie
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