Hi mark !
Thanks for replying. My real name is Ali, by the way, and my husband is Dave.
How do you like living in Scotland ? I keep being warned about how bad and dreary the weather is. I think I can cope though. Edinburgh is such a beautiful city ... We visited briefly on my first trip to Scotland last year.
I used to live in SC! Columbia though. Actually never made it to Charleston. Columbia was really fun though. Also lived in Maryland and Tennessee.
Have you been able to make some new local friends fairly easy ? Are there any ex pat groups you're part of ? I keep reading mixed things about meeting people and it being difficult.
I would take any advice you have to give !
I do think it's a bit difficult to meet people here. But not so bad if you're working or going to school. I've made a few casual friends, but no close ones to speak of yet. I probably need to get involved in some group activity stuff. I don't know of any expat groups in the Edinburgh or Aberdeen areas, but that doesn't mean they aren't there. i know there are usually a lot of Americans in Aberdeen due to the oil business.
As for the weather- I like it for the most part, although the rain can get a bit depressing when it lasts for 2-3 days (fortunately, that doesn't happen too often). The key for me is to just ignore the weather and go ahead and do things. You'll find yourself buying a lot more coats & jackets than you needed in the States- haha! That said, last winter wasn't too bad- In fact, it was pretty mild. I don't think we had any days below 'freezing' after the Holidays.
I recommend you invest in a good quality technical jacket- Something with 'Gore-Tex' or similar that will keep you dry without being too hot or stuffy.
Here a a few ideas for you to kill extra time (if you have any):
*You can get a 30% off Rail Card if you and your husband are traveling together, so it makes 'Day Trips' a little less expensive. Pitlochry & Inverness are good places to go.
*There are a lot of things to see and do in Edinburgh (and Glasgow too). The Edinburgh Festival is going on just now with a multitude of shows and food stalls. Edinburgh Oktoberfest is in early October, then the Christmas Markets start setting up in late-Nov/early-Dec. Also, Edinburgh Playhouse has a lot of good shows, including some of the 'West End' Musicals from London and you can find good deals on hotels making an overnight here a nice getaway.
*There's a 'night-coach' train from Edinburgh to London where you get a sleeper-car room. If I remember correctly, it leaves Edinburgh Waverly around 11:00 PM and arrive at London Paddington? the next morning about 7:00.
*Check out the 'charity shops' (almost every town of any size has a few) as you can find some cool bargains for things you may need and it's fun to look around.
*There are some great deals on 2 & 3 night package deals to Amsterdam, Bruge & other places on the continent. We recently had 3 nights in Amsterdam at a 4* hotel with return flight included for 229 Pounds each. We usually try and take a quick trip to Munich, Nuremberg or one of the other German Christmas Markets in mid-December as airfare is pretty cheap.
And, try to stay focused on the 'good'...I do get a little homesick & miss my family, but all-in-all, it's a pretty good life here.
Have you tried your hand at driving yet?