Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

You can take the girl out of Scotland ...

by : 
LouiseH

You can take the girl out of Scotland ... but you can’t take Scotland out of the girl!

My name is Louise and I am an English language assistant this year in two primary schools in a Basque town in the south-west of France. I am usually a student of French in Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow,  where it rains on average 201 days a year. So, moving to the beautiful Aquitaine region of France just over a month ago was a culture shock. Coming from Scotland has proved a great conversation starter with the teachers I work with and the people I have met on my travels. Although I absolutely love working with the children in my primary schools and am really enjoying exploring my new home for the next seven months, sometimes I just can’t help missing home ...

I was brought up in one of the northern-most cities in the United Kingdom, Inverness. Inverness is the capital of the Highlands of Scotland, a beautiful region renowned for its whiskies, shortbread, and strong Gaelic-Speaking farming traditions. Inverness is nestled in a valley, surrounded by mountains covered in purple heather and teeming with Scottish wildlife like stoats, golden eagles, hares, and deer... and some even argue monsters which live in deep Highland lochs! Every year it snows in the north of Scotland, sometimes for a couple of months at a time around Christmas when the days are so short that as a child I would go into school in the dark and come out in the twilight.

The questions I am usually asked about Scotland are: Is it really that cold? Have you ever seen the Loch Ness Monster? Do you really eat haggis?  My challenge to you is to consider finding out for yourself one day.  Take the scary but amazing jump of choosing to move away from your country and see what waits for you there.  If you choose to live in Scotland you are guaranteed a warm welcome (despite the weather!) and will get to know a place full of history and culture. And who knows? Maybe you will even catch a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster yourself ...

Discussion

What do you love most about your country? What questions do visitors ask you about your country or region? 

Comments

gianggiang's picture
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gianggiang 22 November, 2015 - 00:58

Hi LouiseH
I almost forgot, I would like to know some folk songs of your hometown ( or songs which relate to your hometown ) Could you recommend some of them ?
Many thanks.

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gianggiang's picture
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gianggiang 15 November, 2015 - 09:36

I like this expression: " you can take a girl out of Scotland, but you can't take Scotland out of the girl. ( I feel that Scotland is an important part in LouseH's heart )" The author really adores her hometown and so do I.
If someone asks me what I love most about my country, I will smile and reply that I love everything which belongs to it: amiable people, green paddy fields, small ponds, starry skies and sounds of falling leaves.
" What is our hometown, mum?
My teacher taught that we had to love !
What is our hometown,mum?
All people miss it so much !

Our hometown are everything you love
We only have a hometown like we only have a mother.
If you don't love your hometown, you will never grow up !
( A Vietnamese poem I learned when I was in elementary school :D )
Sure, you love your hometown, and then you love your country !. Please love it from tiny and simple things.
Finally. I mention to the author's question " Is Scotland really cold?" --> No, it;s very warm ( at least in my heart.)

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LouiseH's picture
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LouiseH 20 November, 2015 - 15:09

Hi Gianggiang,

You are right -my home country has a very special place in my heart! I think your country does too?! It sound like a beautiful and friendly place.  Where do you come from?

I love the Vietnamese poem you quoted.  In the UK we have a similar phrase: Home is where the heart is.  It means that wherever you go, if you find love there, you are at home!

Keep writing,

Louise

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gianggiang's picture
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gianggiang 21 November, 2015 - 10:29

Hi LouiseH
I come from Vietnam :D. It's a country in South East Asia. If you see in the world map, Vietnam has shape looks like the letter S, it's next to and below China.
In my opinion,. Hometown is a airport where our planes can take off and land safely:D. Hometown is a part of our soul, we feel warm when thinking of it.
Do you know Ho Chi Minh president ? Before he passed away, he just would like to listen to one of folk songs of his hometown. Unfortunately, all the nurses couldn't sing any of them. Finally, a nurse was allowed to sing a folk song of her hometown,After listening that song, he smiled, said " thanks" and died in silence.
When someone becomes grateful, they just want to feel simple things.
"What is our hometown, mum ?
- Our hometown is streets
Our hometown is small bamboo bridges
Our hometown is everything you love and miss.:)

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LouiseH 25 November, 2015 - 13:59

Hello Gianggiang,

Vietnam sounds absolutely beautiful! I loved the story about President Ho Chi Minh - music and songs are definitely an important part of a place's identity (and a great way to study languages!)

Here are a couple of taditional Scottish songs. 

Traditional Scottish music is often sung in Gaelic (a Scottish language) played with instruments such as the bagpipes or the clarsach which is a small harp. I hope you enjoy these...

The first one is my personal favourite! Caledonia is the name of my local area in Scotland. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wP8A9rtg0iI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCzUSJo5zqI

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gianggiang's picture
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gianggiang 1 December, 2015 - 10:34

Hi LouiseH
Thank for meaningful songs. I like the first song so much. It's like a stream flowing into my mind.While listening to this song, I could imagine white sheeps, they are like clouds floating on the sky and I saw high mountains in the distance. The weather is misty and then, it gets warmer and warmer because of sunshine.White sheeps, green mountains,the blue sky... Oh, sorry, I've wandered in my imagination, I'll comeback to the main idea now.:)
Although I don't understand the second song, I could imagine a woman praying in a church.
Vietnamese folk songs have taught me how to love my country and now, Scottish folks song showed me that " Hometown is everything I have". In most villages in Vietnam, when a child was born, the mother often sings folk songs to lull it to sleep. I was too lucky because my mother used to sing lots songs when I was small, Up to now, folk songs have brought my soul up.
I like discovering new cultures through folk songs. If my country were the universe, Vietnamese folk songs would be stars. Human wouldn't discover the universe if it had no stars.I wouldn't be completely dedicated and enthusiastic if VNese folks songs didn't exist in my soul.

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AlexandrePetion 9 November, 2015 - 21:16

Hi LouiseH, umm What do I love most about my country? umm let me see, my Country is big and beautiful, Here We have many kinds of climates, the people is easygoing, There are many beautiful landscapes. The typical meals are so delicious...I guess that the possible question that people ask me about my country could be: Are your country in war ? How is the weather? How is the transportation system? I don't know I am not a writer and is some hard for me to write...

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LouiseH 10 November, 2015 - 14:57

Hello Alexandre!
You are very good at writing! Your country sounds very beautiful - where do you come from? Some things are univeral I think - a lot of people ask me about the weather in Scotand as well!
Keep writing, Louise

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