Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sunshine, rain, hail, and repeat.

Such has been the weather as of late in Glasgow. Currently it is overcast with high winds that blow my perfectly coiffed hair about. How do people in this country stay clean and dry? On my way to an interview this morning, water puddles splashed all over my calves and then my panty hose got a run - almost sending me into a panic.

i have officially been in Glasgow for two weeks now but i am not at all settled yet. Although i have a flat (i move in on Monday) and a temporary job slinging coffee at a cafe, i feel anxious. i just want to set up my own place, open a bank account (they are very strict about such matters here), and solidify a permanent job.

Next week, i have an interview to get my National Insurance Number which, oddly enough, you can ONLY get once you have a job. Strange, as a Canadian, because you can't get a job until you have your Social Insurance Number. A lot of things are backwards here - not just the driving.

It's funny being an immigrant - albeit a privileged one. Although Glaswegians are kind and helpful people, i can't help but think that if i were a non-white immigrant who didn't speak perfect English, i might think that this country discourages immigrants. Although the transition hasn't been hard for me and i have had a lot of people help me out, it feels as though there is prejudice within the government system. For example, i have an actual interview in order to get my National Insurance Number. i have to take lots of papers with me to prove my intentions and what i am doing in the UK. Fair enough, i suppose, but i can't help but catch that smirk when i'm asked if i want to claim benefits.

i mean, really, do you think i left Socialist Canada to come here and claim benefits and go on the dole?! i have a sense that some people assume you're going to try and cheat the system somehow and yet it seems to me, that the people who are cheating the system, are UK natives. It seems to me, trying to get one over on the Council tax is a past time in Glasgow. Or maybe it's just my friends.

i am loving the curry here, however. And the chocolate. And the sweets. i'm also enjoying the hair straightners that are in the female public toilets here - which can be used for £1.00 for 15 minutes. The ladies here understand what the moisture does to hair. i'm also enjoying being told about the history of Glasgow by taxi drivers and being referred to as "love" and "hen". i also love how strangers talk to one another in public places and don't get gawked out (i.e. as is often the case in Toronto). i love talking to strangers so it's fucking great - not so great when some people hear your accent and look at you as if you have a wee jobby coming out of your mouth.

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