I think it's the little things that always throw me in a new place. I can deal with the idea of being in a country where sheep outnumber people. I can deal with the idea of living in a place where everything (and I mean everything) is built on a hill. I can cope with being a foreigner.
What I cannot cope well with is popcorn.
See, I love popcorn. Hot, buttery popcorn from movie theaters is my not-so-secret vice. I have an ex-boyfriend I miss (more than one, now that I think about it) who would make me popcorn, either on the stove, in the microwave, or (eventually) in our shared popcorn maker. And man, do I miss that popcorn maker. One notable ex even bought me a specific-for-popcorn big glass bowl.
They don't... do popcorn properly in Scotland.
I found myself hooking up with a friend yesterday to finally get around to seeing the Narnia movie. (One comment only: Tilda Swinton is my master now.) Having not been to a movie despite living in a country where they host the International Festival for movies, I was quite excited. Popcorn! And moving pictures! And popcorn!
(I don't own a t.v., you see, so moving pictures are occasionally very distracting... they talk! I don't have to read to be entertained! Yay!)
So, like an excited four-year-old, I rushed off to the snack bar to buy myself some hot, buttery, gonna-kill-me-young popcorn.
"Okay," said the man behind the counter. "Salty or sweet?"
To which I responded with a graceful "Huh?"
It seems in Scotland they don't make hot, buttery, gonna-kill-you-young popcorn. Their popcorn in movie theaters is cold. And either comes salty, or sweet, like cold candied popcorn.
I was terribly heartbroken, and went with the sweet stuff.
My date for the afternoon was very understanding, and did put up with a lot of me randomly saying "But... but... the popcorn is wrong!" Occasionally I'd just stare into it, hoping that it would suddenly turn into buttery, salty, hot goodness.
Then the movie started, and I didn't care nearly so much. Because movies in Scotland start with incredibly and surreally bad advertisments.
Remember, I don't have a t.v. For all I know, these wretchedly awful advertisements are the norm here. From the really bad, stereotypically-gay PR agents in an advertisement for cell phones to the laughably horrible ads for cars, I spent most of the first 15 minutes in the darkened theater with my jaw dropped open. (Simon kindly kept lifting it up for me. He's such a nice boy.)
I don't know what it is, maybe my mind just doesn't accept advertising anymore. Unless there's a huge buzz on the 'net, I don't see ads at all outside of print media, and even then my eyes mostly just go over them. Have they always been this awful? Is it a cultural-awfulness? I have no idea.
(There were some very good ads for good causes. The one where they show a Tim Burton-esque scene while describing what childhood abuse does to someone was excellent, and the one reminding people to turn off their cells and pay attention to the road was stark and to the point. But that was about a minute out of 15. Yes, 15 minutes of ads. Then the trailers for new movies.)
This all ignores the most important part of the movie going experience: There were nice, comfortable seats, with lots and lots of legroom, and a place to put my disturbingly cold popcorn and my oversize cola product.
But really: Tilda Swintin is totally my master now.