Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Trials and Tribulations in Edinburgh: An Expat in Reverse

 I've been back in the UK for two years now, so sometimes I can barely remember what it feels like to be an expat. With this in mind, I wondered what it feels like to be the expat in my home country? As a sort of 'expat in reverse', if you will. Andy Hayes obligingly enlightens us with his experience of living in Edinburgh

"I hadn’t heard of the term “expat in reverse” until a conversation with Kate, but life in reverse certainly explains the disorientation I felt on landing in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I was born in the US, but arrived in Edinburgh via several years in Amsterdam.  I loved the Dutch lifestyle and laissez-faire café culture, but due to the European banking crisis, my job moved to Scotland, and thus I moved with it.

When I was offered the opportunity to move to the Scottish capital, the idea of being back in an English-speaking country again certainly piqued my interest. Ironically, language ended up being one of the biggest divides I found in integrating with the local culture.  British English was the language spoke at my old job and many of my friends in Holland were not Dutch, but other European nationals, so even today, a couple of years on, I still find it hard to write “neighbor” without the u, nor can I explain the Americanised version of “aluminium.”

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Having it large: Eating in Indianapolis

Fish and chips, Sunday roast with all the trimmings, a full English breakfast, a cream tea: traditional English food doesn't exactly warrant the label 'light'. So why is it that whenever you mention dining in America, your average Brit's eyes widen in alarm and they mutter something about the huge portion sizes? Unless they've been to calorie-conscious California, they'll also probably allude to either the grease factor or the sugary sweetness of the cooking on offer. Although 'typical' British grub may not be lean cuisine, healthy eating campaigns have made us all much more aware of what we consume and its origins, while the UK's ethnic diveristy has helped to broaden our palate and open our minds to different tastes.


When I boarded the plane for Indianapolis, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect when it came to my first post-flight meal. Would I be faced with a lard-fest of epic proportions? Or sugar-coated goodies guaranteed to send the tooth fairy fluttering my way? As a pescetarian heading to a meat-loving country, I was a little daunted. I was going to be staying with an English expat family, but given that testing out the local cuisine is one of my favourite things to do while on holiday, I hoped there would be enough for me to enjoy over a ten-day stay.

Turns out I needn't have worried. Indy might be in the heart of corn country, but it turns out Midwestern cuisine is heavily influenced by central and northern European cooking. Just as in the UK, meat plus carb-of-choice (veg optional) dishes are standard fare, but thankfully for my pescetarian palate, there's far more on Indy's menu than home-style cooking. From seafood to stonebaked pizza to tapas to hearty American breakfasts, I tried it all in the name of research.  

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