Monday, January 9, 2012

My First Time in Europe

I was a different person when we first moved to Scotland. I was still sarcastic and optimistic, but after living amongst British humor and an entirely different lifestyle other than 'biggger, better American living' I have become more sarcastic and more open to other ways of life. I also had a completely different idea as to what would be good travel wear on the longest flight I had ever taken.

So what did the Maggie of September 2009 do when she first moved across the country and across the pond? She thought it was best to wear a comfortable silk wrap around skirt and her comfortable leather 3 inch heels, which were actually short for her. She hated the fact that she had to wear her glasses and not show off her inherited long lashes, displayed by her typical 20 minute mascara routine, since she would be flying for so long and couldn't sleep well wearing contacts.

After a flight change in Chicago, we had one more LONG layover in London's Heathrow before our short flight up to Edinburgh, where a van awaited to pick us up. I discovered along the already 14 hours of flying that I CAN'T sleep on planes, no matter how exhausted I am! As we sat for 5.5 hours in Heathrow, I had already been up for over 24 hours, I had cabin smell, my heel on my right shoe was stripped down to the nail from the metal escalator surface, and my legs were really not enjoying being next to each other without some fabric between them. I was miserable. Chrissy even tried to tell me before I left but I pooh pooh'd her and said that this was what I was used to wearing.

Finally, after 20 some hours of travelling, we landed in Edinburgh and found the driver of the van. The wind also found my skirt and I had to play the game of holding my skirt down while pulling two 50lb. suitcases behind me, while also sporting a backpack and carrying a Ukulele and purse. We were dropped off at our B&B where we had to carry over 200lbs of luggage up a large flight of stairs and fit it in our small room. At this a point, all I wanted was a shower! I couldn't stand the look, let alone the smell of myself, so I immediately stripped down and bolted for the bathroom.

The sweat on my body started to cool rapidly as I tried turning the shower on. I hit a button, turned a dial, and got nothing. I turned the dial and turned off the button, but still nothing. I fiddled and fiddled with it but could not get a drop out of that shower! Now, patience is not a word I know well (heck, I'm lucky enough to know how to spell it!), so I frustratingly called Branden in to try and figure out how in the world to get the shower on! He did the same thing I did but for less time and then said, "Have you tried pulling the string in the corner of the room?". On the opposite corner of the room, above the sink, there was a long string hanging down from the 10ft ceiling. I looked at him as if he was crazy and may as well asked me to do a rain dance. "Why on earth would a random string hanging from the ceiling on the far side of the room turn the shower on???" I nearly shrieked at him!

Not wanting to get into a debate with his shivering, crazed, smelly, and naked wife, he simply walked over, pulled the string, and the shower came on. My jaw dropped, and even though I was happy that I could finally take a hot shower, I still stated, "That's the stupidest thing I've ever seen!".

I've learned a lot since then. The types of showers that you have to turn on with the string is actually really nice! They are called power showers or electric showers, and when I first saw that term, I said, "Where we come from, electricity and showers don't mix!". Our flat in Edinburgh had one and it meant we didn't have a hot water tank as the power shower heated the water as you needed it. We never ran out of hot water and never had constantly heating water sitting in a tank, sucking up our electric bill.

I also learned that heels and cobblestones don't work. Branden finally insisted that I give them up for good after picking me up off the side walk for the umpteenth time. It was a tough thing to give up since I was known back home for always wearing high, high heels for everything and had well over 50 pairs (I had to give most away when we moved). Skirts in the wind aren't pleasant either, so my dresses are basically just great closet decoration. I do still see women wear them and I've even asked them how, but I still never seem to figure out how to do it. I guess I'm just more uncomfortable with showing my nickers on a blustery day than the locals.

One thing that hasn't changed though, is my love of animal clips. A friend posted this on Facebook and I swear it's NOT a Bud Light ad...I would never encourage people to drink that crap.


  1. :-) The shower string reminds me of a trip to Boston, where I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to drain the tub.

    Who knew there were so many ways of doing such simple things!


  2. I'm with you on the patience thing...I'm just terrible with that. :)
    As usual, a fun, Maggie story! Hope you and Branden had the best weekend.

  3. OK, I NEVER would've thought to pull a string across the room, so, you're probably in with majority of Americans. But you have confirmed the fact that I will always travel in pants...preferably sweats or something of the yoga variety...:)

  4. Pearl, thanks for stopping by! I seem to remember being in California once and not being able to figure out how to plug the tub!

    Stephanie, patience may be a virtue but it's non existent in my world! I am really hoping you had a wonderful weekend with Rudolph (and maybe we get to read about it) ;)

    Paige, Even though I wanted that shower, I was a bit pissed that the stupid answer won. I definitely travel in pants now and I've got some nice black pj pants that I think may be upgraded to travel pants when the day comes again to journey back to the States. My yoga pants would mean I'd have to shave my legs and that's just ridiculous!

  5. I'm glad, as, I'm sure. everyone around you is, that you were finally able to take a shower!

  6. This would be THE BEST movie ever! :0) Oh and I've been through the heels and cobblestones thing--no fun lol :)

  7. A string hanging from the ceiling? Really? Those British people are so funny. These also have the hots for two taps - one hot, one cold - rather than only one that mixes the two. Slightly annoying. As for sleeping one the plane, I have the same problem, but I suppose it's because I'm almost six feet tall. I'm fairly sure I'd be able to get some sleep if I traveled business class...

  8. how freakin' stinkin' cute! That dog just totally made my night. I loved it so much that I bookmarked it.

    You had to pull a sting to turn the shower on? ...Interesting, but hey! it works, right?!

  9. lessons to be learned here
    1. never poh poh Chrissy.
    2. Chrissy is always right
    which leads me to my next point
    3. take Chrissy's advice and pin rocks into the hem of your skirt.

  10. That was awesome! lol Isn't it funny how animals can react to things? As for your trip... Oh man does that bring back memories. As you know.

  11. The showers in europe are often different. Maybe its where I stay but every time I am over there... they are so freekin small. Im a big guy and its a nightmare.... basically all I end up with is water all over the bathroom floor and still soap somewhere on my body?

  12. I love the random string hanging from the ceiling.

    And I like reading about when you first came to Scotland!

  13. The Wife likes to joke that I have the patience for both of us. I require a power shower in my house, stat. Anything to get me hot water in the morning again.

  14. I found this on that side bar thingy.
    The only real shower I've even been in is in NUI,G. There was a five inch hot water pipe on the other side to me with water being pushed by a Big Ass Pump(BAP)in the parlance. It would make you groan so deep teh jets hit muscle.
    The trick with the dresses and skirts is the weight of the fabric coupled with the lining making an heavy un-bendable hem. Plus you tend to have vastly more fabric folded into a knife pleat where since there is room for movement you don't get that vacuum effect/up-draft. Or to put it another way, you won't have the hem very evenly distributed half a foot above you head with everything from you bellybutton south washed by the breeze.


Does this straitjacket make my butt look big?