Sunday, January 10, 2016

Folk Night

So Friday night my colleague invited me to "folk night." I wasn't entirely sure what it was, but I went because why not. I cannot even express how glad I am that I went. It was unquestionably the best thing I've done in the week I've been here.

Folk night is a gathering of the SNP family from Livingston, the area where I work. SNP, or Scottish National Party, is the now-dominant political party here whose most fundamental tenant is that Scotland should be independent from the rest of the UK. They were the big orchestrators of the the 2014 referendum. So it's a close-knit fiercely nationalistic group of about 40 gathering together to celebrate Scottish folk culture. The average age was probably 55 and I'm pretty sure we were the only sober ones in the cafe by the end of the night, but it was a dream come true.

The night started off with Auld Lang Syne. There were about 6 guitars in there and we spent hours and hours playing and singing. Some songs were written by people there, some were old Gaelic songs, and there was lots in between. Some sang alone, some everyone joined in, and some were a little bit of both. There was a "rap battle" between Trump and Angry Alex Salmond  (they checked with me to make sure I don't like Trump and I was like "I'm embarrassed for my country that I even need to answer that question"). There were a few poems, too. They wanted us to do something, so I sang "Come Thou Fount" in Ukrainian. I really don't sing and it seriously sounded so so so so so so so bad, but it was nice to contribute. I guess it was a pretty casual thing, so participating seemed more important than saving face. I've been listening to Scottish folk music pretty much nonstop since, so that next time I'll be more prepared to join in. I'm learning the "unofficial national anthem" Scots who Hae right now.

We ate Haggis for dinner, so I crossed that bridge much sooner than I thought I would after getting to this country. It really wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. The mashed potatoes were way good. The meat was basically just like a meatball, but with much more of a black pepper spice than other spices that typically season meat. Here's a picture of us as we take our first bites. 

Towards the end of the night, once everyone was pretty well and drunk, someone said to me, "Hannah, I could see you falling madly in love with some Scot man and moving here and getting into Scottish parliament. It doesn't matter that you're not Scottish, we let all kinds of people into our parliament. You should do that." A drunk compliment is a drunk compliment, but I'll take it.

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