In the last few years I have developed a deep love for traveling. It’s something that is ingrained into the very core of my being. Exploring the world is much more than seeing cool things, getting away from reality for a while, passing time and frivolously spending money. Traveling is an experience. You learn to see the world through different perspectives and you learn that you are not the only and greatest person/nation out there. Rather you are marked by the people you meet and are changed by the wonder of it all.
Sometimes in traveling, because you are new and not used to how certain things are done in other countries, you can make some innocent blunders. My dear friend Faith and I call this ‘Pulling an American’. Lord knows I have had my fair share of these moments. At the time its rather embarrassing and you want to move on as quickly as possible, but afterwards they can make for some funny memories.
In honor of my second home, Scotland, a little tale I will share happened my very first day at Stirling University. When I first moved to Scotland I recognized a few things fairly quickly about their restrooms
- It’s called the Toilet
- The public stalls are a lot smaller than in the US
- The handle to flush is actually a push button on the top of the toilet itself
With that being stated, I had a bit of an issue my first day, with the toilet. I was wandering on a break from orientation trying to find said bathroom. I saw the men’s and handicapped but for the life of me I could not find the women’s toilet. Lets just say time was running out and so was the ability to hold on for my bladder, if you know what I mean. (Too much information?!? Sorry! haha) Basically I was desperate so, like a typical girl, I drug my friend Faith along and I asked her to stand guard. Took care of business but ran into a problem… The little button that was supposed to be on the top wasn’t there. I looked ALL around. Seriously felt like the biggest dork in the world because I couldn’t figure out how to flush this dang toilet. I looked up and saw a red cord hanging from the ceiling and thought, very logically I might add, if someone had a harder time with mobility putting the flusher on the cord right there by the seat was a brilliant idea. I pulled that red cord, waited a while and nothing happened. I quickly moved on and eventually figured out how to make the toilet flush. Faith went in after me and I while waited for her a man in a security uniform (or what I thought was a police uniform) rushed up to me.
In an extremely serious tone he asked me if someone was in there. I started panicking ( I hate getting in trouble). I replied yes my friend is and he rushes me well is she ok? What is going on? We had the emergency alarm pulled in there. **Pause** In that moment it all clicked and for an evil second I played with the idea of blaming it all on Faith. However, I couldn’t do that. Besides were weren’t that close yet! Jokes I just couldn’t do and still wouldn’t be able to. **Resume** I responded timidly umm… does the alarm happen to be a red cord near the seat? He responded yes and I slunk down even lower and admitted that it was me. I pulled the cord… I ahhh… thought it was umm.. you know the ah flusher… At this point Faith was now standing next to me and the intense security officer was quickly becoming amused. In that amusement he had “silly Americans” written all over his face; as well as slight annoyance. He corrected me, sent us on our way and told us he was going to check out the bathroom as protocol. Needless to say it was the first of many American moments for me in my travels. One of which makes me laugh when I think about it. Oh! and the womens toilet? Yeah, it was literally on the other side of the hallway, the sign was hidden behind a paper at the time. Haha
Man I miss those Stirling UNI days! Hope this made you giggle, and if you have had any American moments or whatever your nationality is moments in another country I’d love to hear them!