Thursday, November 20, 2008

Spotlight on .... Scotland!

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~Waving~ to my friend in Glasgow!

WHERE to begin on this magical country. Nowhere else do you get so much in so little a place. History? Architecture? Natural beauty? Contributions to culture? Way off the scale. That's only scratching the surface. And always, Scotland keeps surprising, just when you think you've got the country neatly pigeonholed in cliches.

For instance, Loch Lomond. You know, "You take the high road, and I'll take the low road" etc. Did anyone ever stop and realize how staggeringly beautiful Loch Lomond really IS?

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And how about that whole caber-tossing thing?

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Here's a stalwart lad who is, basically, throwing a TREE. Other cultures celebrate strength by, I dunno, brandishing yer six-iron, or putting on scary costumes, or batting a goat around. Scots prove STRENGTH. Period. End of story.

Let's move on to the under-the-kilt thing (please! *wink*):

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(Okay, so that part is true. Ah. Yes. Mmm-hmm.)

Now, being an absolute worshipper at the shrine of history -- and romance -- long ago, I succumbed to the mystique that surrounds Mary Queen of Scots, and Holyrood House -- which, in its own right, could consume eons of meditation:

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But Scotland isn't just its history. Scots, like all of us, live, grow, learn.

I've often wondered what it must be like, being from a country with such long, rich, historical tradition, and being labeled -- and perceived -- by same. The truth is, Scots are people, too. Scots worry about paying their mortgages, and making sure dinner is on the table.

With a cool accent :)

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In truth, since most of the world only sees Scotland through historical cliches, the perception is different from actual reality. You only have to see "Trainspotters" to know Scots suffer from the same ills as anyone else. And yet ... and yet ....

I can confidently destroy the popular myth that Scots are dour, cheap, unimaginative, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam. Scots know how to surf.

Take a look at this classroom. THIS is the rebuttal against popular perception. Today's Scots are not only open to change -- despite, perhaps, their own reluctance -- but embracing it, because Scots KNOW HOW TO SURF. They always have, and always will.

(Even though the waves around the Shetlands et al. might actually kill them, LOL :)

I mean, just LOOK at these kids. They are the new Scotland. They're neither "dour," nor "cheap," nor any other cliche. They are Scots.

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My dear mom is a native of Nova Scotia -- "New Scotland" -- in Canada. She inherited the tradition of thrift -- which, when all is said and done, is Scotland's greatest contribution to humanity.

"Thrift" means using every resource as wisely as you can. It must never be confused with "meanness." Please meditate on that, when glibly laughing at anyone for being "Scotch." Scots have the patent on everyday human wisdom. My mom cheerfully washed and ironed her three dresses each week, working her way through college during the depression, because you really don't NEED more than three dresses.

And, finally, I love Scots because:

My Maggie was an exchange student who was able to visit Scotland a couple of years ago, and she shared this with me:

She was on the tube in London, and she happened to engage a young Scot lad in conversation. She said: "I LOVE your accent." And he said: "Yeers is bay-ter."

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