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From Dried Fish To Haggis and Neeps

Author: Lorena

I came from a country
Of smelly dried fish, shimmering sun
Emerald beaches and poor wages.

More than a decade ago
I knocked on doors-
The doors of the world.
But doors were shut
I didn’t give up!

Till one day, I woke up
To Scotland, I was signed up.
“Scotland? Where is that?”
(Forgive me of my ignorance)
The nursing agency told me-
“Your job is in an old folk’s home
In Aberdeen where flowers bloom.”

I arrived mid-November
Thought I was in the coldest freezer.
The first night in a flat
I slept with jacket and gloves
Hugging hot water bottle.
A bowl of hot porridge
For breakfast. “Do you have rice?”
I asked with a smile
The lady gave me a look of surprise.

The nursing home nestled in the woods.
Cute red squirrels snacks on nuts
As old folks (glued on chairs) watched.
I tried to speak good English
But the Aberdonians nae.
With my black hair and brown skin
They called me Bonnie Lassie.
Glaswegian workmates
Called me Hen,
I thought it was because
They saw me eat
Stir fry chicken feet.

A friend from my native land
Told me of her confusion at work:
An old lady asked for her frock
She thought, frog.
On her knees, she searched
And searched and sweated
Until the old lady shouted,
“The yellow polka dot one!”

My first summer,
I hopped on double decker buses.
(Soon I realized I didn’t prepare
For the four-season weather.)
I explored museums and zoos
Visited botanic gardens
Drooled on fish and chips
Watched seals and puffins.

Years gone by
I learned to cycle for miles.
My mother, knowing what I was like
Thought I lost my mind.
I couldn’t believe my eyes
When I first saw
The Isle of Skye.
It’s flowing streams
My mountain dreams.
And Harris!
The emerald beaches
and golden sands
Reminds me of home
Minus the sun.

Yes, there was one or two occasions
When I felt like going home.
When I was told by an unfriendly voice
“Go home, serve your own people.”

But I love Scottish people!
They greet strangers in the streets
Invite you to their homes,
Feed you with haggis and neeps
and lochs of cups of tea.
I think they are the most generous people
In the whole world.

I love Scotland,
For the people and the landscapes
for freedom and fresh air.
It is not only my place of residence
But my home.
Scotland is my school of life
Where I learn
I grow
I dream
I fly!