Edinburgh Castle

25 Telltale Signs You’re an Expat in Edinburgh

When you move abroad, you don’t expect to change that much.

Fast forward a year or two and you’re definitely different: your accent has become indiscernible, you’ve inadvertently started picking up local words and phrases, and everyone back home tells you “you’ve changed.”

This was the case for me after living in Edinburgh for two years. And if you can relate, there’s a good chance you’ve been living in Scotland’s capital for too long.

Here are 25 undeniable signs you’re an expat in Edinburgh.

1. You start correcting people when they pronounce Edinburgh wrong.

It’s Edin-bruh, not Edin-borough or Edin-berg.

2. You know it’s best never to speak of the referendum election or the construction of Edinburgh’s trams.

Or Brexit, for that matter.

3. You find yourself saying trousers instead of pants.

And queue instead of line, chips instead of fries, crisps instead of chips.

4. People can no longer place your accent.

Irish? Scottish? Australian? Definitely not Canadian.

5. You order chips with salt ‘n’ sauce.

You still have no idea what brown sauce actually is but you know it’s delicious.

6. You can understand phrases like this: I dinnae ken.

You basically had to learn a completely new language in Scotland.

7. You wear a parka year-round and you haven’t worn shorts outside in years.

You’re also the palest you’ve ever been in your life.

Sunset on Calton Hill Edinburgh

8. You don’t understand why the tap water in Edinburgh tastes so good.

Where’s the chlorine?

9. You know not to pronounce every word phonetically.

Like Cockburn, for example.

10. The local lingo becomes part of your everyday conversations.

That smells rank.

11. On any night out, you inevitably end up at Dropkick Murphys.

..Even though the average age in this place seems to be shockingly young.

12. You cringe when people refer to them as Princess Street and Carlton Hill.

Princes, not Princess. And Calton doesn’t have an ‘r’. It’s not hard, people!

13. You get really angry when people walk slowly on Princes Street.

Especially in August.

14. As soon as the sun comes out, you head to Princes Street Gardens or The Meadows.

Or any patch of green space that isn’t already covered in humans.

Victoria Street Edinburgh Scotland

15. You’ve become weirdly obsessed with the weather and talking about the weather.

But have you seen next week’s forecast?!

16. You know that as soon as the sun comes out, every male in Edinburgh will be shirtless in approximately 30 seconds.

“Taps aff” = an onslaught of tribal tattoos.

17. You have yet to actually use the trams.

Lothian buses are so convenient, though.

18. You never leave the house without an umbrella and at least 4 layers of clothing.

Just because it’s sunny now doesn’t mean it won’t be raining sideways in an hour.

19. You vow to climb Arthur’s Seat on a regular basis and then curse yourself every time you actually do climb it.

The first part is always the worst.

20. You’re still amazed by the fact that there’s a castle in the middle of the city centre.

And you have approximately 324673 photos of it.

21. You start saying “hiya” to everyone.

And you continue to greet people like that even when you go home.

Cockburn Street Edinburgh Scotland

22. You’ve experienced some of the worst hangovers of your life in Edinburgh.

But you take comfort in the fact that Scotland has the best hangover food.

23. The longer you spend in Edinburgh, the more anxiety you have when the Fringe Festival comes to town.

The first year was fun, but now you just want to be able to walk down the street in August without having a mental breakdown.

24. You had to seek professional help to overcome your macaroni pie addiction.

No? Was it just me then?

25. Once you’ve lived in Edinburgh, you know you’ll never be able to live anywhere else.

Because it’s just so goddamn beautiful.

Can you relate to any of these? How did you change when you moved abroad?

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  1. Loved this one. I’m an expat living here and giggled at most!

  2. Very funny post. I guess that when you live long enough in another country, their customs and language become a part of yourself. Very amazing pictures by the way.

    1. Thank you, Henry! Very true – you definitely start to pick up local customs and language when living in another country (even if you don’t initially realize!)

  3. Haha this post made me laugh. I think you’d cringe if you heard me pronounce Calton Hill :p
    You must miss this place… Edinburgh is so beautiful. Ahem.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Shing 🙂 and I’m definitely curious to hear you say Calton Hill now haha. I do miss that city fiercely!

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