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Zarah and Jonathan: The EdinBurgers

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in Scotland makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Scotland, etc.

My name is Zarah and I moved to Scotland 10 years ago this summer. I'm originally from Co.Tyrone in Northern Ireland. I moved over to Glasgow to study, then moved to Edinburgh for a job and met my fiancé. Not quite sure where the time has gone! I can also be described as a holidaying, shopaholic, chocolate and cheese loving foodie; occasionally found with a glass of prosecco in hand dancing to dodgy tunes.

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

We originally just started blogging as a record for ourselves of where we'd been to eat and what we enjoyed about it. Since then it's grown to cover lots of food related things in and around Edinburgh. We still do restaurant reviews but you'll now find them alongside foodie events and bios about local producers. The blog will be two in August! So we will need to do something special to celebrate!

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

My favourite blog entry is a tough one. I'd struggle to pick between our recent trip to Ducks in Aberlady  and a day we spent at Foodies Festival. Both showcase the great food on offer in Scotland and the pictures make us hungry every time we see them! We're so lucky to have these great places on our door step.

Tell us about the ways your new life in Scotland differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?

Scotland is very much like Northern Ireland. The people are very friendly and the climate isn't very different. Except that Edinburgh is much colder in winter. You still need an umbrella in your bag just in case! There are some things which I'd never eaten before but meeting Jonathan (other half of The Edinburgers) has changed my eating habits and things which I'd never eat back home like black pudding and haggis are now commonly found on my plate both at home and out. I think the food I now eat is very much different from that back in Northern Ireland. It's made me much more adventurous.

Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Scotland? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?

When moving the best thing is to be open-minded. Moving away from your social group is often hard but the great thing about Edinburgh is that there are lots of social groups to join and there are plenty of other people in the same boat as you. Moving into a shared flat was the best thing I could have done when moving to Edinburgh. I'm still great friends with one of the girls. The only thing I might have done differently is pack some more of my warmer clothing in preparation for winter, but you can always head to one of the many shops in town and fill up your wardrobe.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

Being a country bumpkin there aren't a huge amount of trains around so I have been known to stand back on the platform in case the train thinks I want it to stop (I didn't know they stopped regardless). With different accents there has also been much confusion and hilarity around what has been said or asked.

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Scotland?

  • Have a coat in your wardrobe for all weather!
  • Invest in a great camera and a pair of good walking shoes!
  • There is lots to see and do out there so make sure you get out and see it.

How is the expat community in Scotland? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

Once you get over the initial "oh my goodness I am so out of my comfort zone" phase you begin to realise that there are a lot of others out there thinking exactly the same thing. A good place to meet like-minded foodies is Scran Salon and if dancing is your thing there is a huge dancing community. All you need to do is get yourself along.

How would you summarize your expat life in Scotland in a single, catchy sentence?

My life in Scotland has been one big adventure and there's still a whole lot more to experience.

Jan-Peter van Tijk

"I wish I'd found InterNations sooner: It would have made my first few month as an expat in London much less overwhelming."

Therese Yeboah

"For me, the InterNations events are the best part. I attend almost every get-together and always get to know lots of friendly fellow expats."

Global Expat Guide