06 September 2009

My stay in Scotland

It's been nearly three months since I left Scotland and, as I catch up on some posts I wanted to do, I decided to write a little about my experience in Edinburgh.

I first lived with a great friend of mine from my time in Ghana. It was staying with Sena and his family, and to play uncle for several months. I also enjoyed my experience at Harmeny School immensely, and I believe it'll help me a lot as a teacher in New York.

Cramond Island, Edinburgh, in February 2009

Part of the idea of moving to Scotland and not back to DC was to see how I liked life in the UK, and to have a quieter existence after finishing up in The Gambia. I made some good friends from my Sunday football group, Papa, Sena and Delali, my Wolof student and fellow West Africa aficionado, and my coworkers.

While in Edinburgh I was fortunate to have several visitors from the U.S., as well as a couple of friends staying around London. As Ousainou was in the UK, I had the opportunity to practice Wolof on the phone often, and during his visits. Since Harlem has an area called Little Senegal, so hopefully I'll get to keep up on Wolof.

For the last eight months or so of my stay I moved into a flat closer to work. This allowed me to bike to work, or take the bus, in 30 minutes - a nice improvement over the old 75 minute commute. Plus it was a little more spacious. Just before Christmas I discovered a weekly pick-up basketball game. Great fun, although I was surprised how popular basketball is with Polish people (or "Polanese" as Ousainou puts it) - of our 15 regulars, 6 were from Poland.

One major downside of living in Scotland was a general inability to pursue a teaching certification there. This was principally due to my unwillingness to spend several hundred Pounds (and a couple of evenings a week) on a couple of English courses, which would help Scottish universities establish that I had sufficient command of the English language to teach in Scotland. Bachelor's degrees from fairly reputable American universities, plus experience in Scottish schools and attendant recommendations, don't suffice. As a result I was beginning to disengage from life in Scotland and very relieved to get into the teaching programme in New York.

Other disadvantages included the weather and my second job at TESCO three nights a week. The latter helped me to save a little money, though.

Cramond Island on a sunny day in May

So I had a good stay in Edinburgh, although I didn't manage to travel as much as I'd have liked. Plus I mostly missed the festival as I visited the U.S. in August 2008. It's possible I'll return again, assuming a U.S. teaching degree has some value there, and enjoy the luxury of government provided healthcare!

1 comment:

公車 said...

If you can not be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.............................................