Journalism at its Best

I mentioned before that we have a couple of Americans living in our village.

They're everywhere. 

Remember Chicken Run: 'over-paid......'

Well, one of them was in today, and I took the opportunity to interview her.

Yep, I have always dreamt of being a journalist, and today was the perfect opportunity to put my skills dreams into action.

So here we go.

World class Journalist (aka, Me): Tell me a bit about yourself. (I'm good, amn't I?)

American Interviewee (aka, Lesley): Ok. I'm 28 years old, grew up in Georgia and lived pretty much all my life there until I came here. In Georgia, I was a teacher, teaching secondary Science. Back in Georgia, I have Mum, Dad, younger sister, brother-in-law, and a dog who's way more spoiled now than he was when I was there.

Me: So - what on earth are you doing here?

Lesley: I got the opportunity to spend a couple of years working for a non-profit organisation, recording stories in Scottish Gaelic. And so I took it. I figured  - here's the chance to experience a different culture and language....go for it.

Me: So tell the truth - how does it compare to what you'd imagined?

Lesley: It's a lot more wideopen space than I thought. Truthfully, had no idea what living on as island was gonna be like. I love seeing wide open space all around me.

The people are very warm and very quick to embrace outsiders. On the island, people have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome, and that means so much when you are an outsider, and have no idea what people are gonna think of you.

It's much colder, windier and darker than I'd expected. I'd never figured on a 4pm sunset.

It's a strange feeling, but I don't feel as isolated as I know I actually am. I feel on one hand that I'm at the edge of the world, but it's been a pleasant surprise that I don't feel as isolated as I actually am.

Me: So how long have you been here for?

Lesley: I've been on the island for 18 months - been in this district for eleven of them.

Me: And how long do you think you'll be here for?

Lesley: Right now, the plan is to head back to US next April - so it'll have been a 2 year commitment in all. But I think I'll be back to visit 'cos I'm told that once you've been here, you never get the place out of your system. I reckon that's true.

Me: What do miss most from home?

Lesley: Truthfully, I miss...being around people who've known me a long time.....like, forever. I wasn't expecting that, but it's one of these things that sneak up on you. Though, strangely, I feel really at home here too. I have friends that I can turn to when things are good, and when things are bad. But there's something about a place in which you can .....exhale, and feel totally at home. And I think for me, Georgia will always be that place, no matter where I am.

Me: What's 'home'? A small town, village....what? Do you even have 'villages'?

Lesley: Home is a small town...... just a little town in north-west Georgia - nothing special, truthfully....other than the people that are there - folks I've always known. That's what makes it what it is.

Me: What is your work here?

Lesley: We record stories in Gaelic - primarly Bible stories, and some folk stories, and they're all recorded in colloquial Gaelic. The work is very reliant on the kindness of locals, because I don't speak or understand as much as I'd like to of the language. Quite a few folk have been involved in it in one form or another. Folks have been so good about it, cos although they have lives and work and families, they've been very eager to say 'yes' and help us with the work. That's been the only reason we've been able to do what we're doing. And - not that there's anything wrong with Stornoway (the town on the island)  - but the help grew significantly when we came to Ness - more people were willing to be involved.

Me: Any other surprises on the island?

Lesley: Yes! My jaw dropped the first time I came to visit here. Imagine my surprise when I came to the front door and saw in the office window one of these...

(Northerners, please hide your eyes)

......'a Confederate flag! In the UK! In Lewis, for crying out loud!'. I thought to myself..... 'these people are gonna be kindred spirits'. And we were!

I have to say I absolutely love living here and it's gonna be very difficult to leave.

So there you go. My Georgian friend.

Please, please, Northerners, I love you too. Reeeeally love you.

When you're from the island it's really difficult to 'see' the island from an outside perspective. Lesley helps me do that.

And remember, you Yanks - I love you. Have I said that before? Just in case you didn't get it the first time. Please don't leave me!

Hope y' all have a great day, and that none of you choked on your Starbucks.


  1. I only discovered this blog late last night (from reading your comment about buffaloes on Confessions of a Pioneer woman). And I'm an American, from the south, so I have trouble saying I'm a yank. I happen to love Scotland since some of my anscestors are from there - they immigrated to North Carolina, then later settled in Tennesee. But even more importantly, our son lives in Edinburgh now. And, most importantly he married a lovely woman from Scotland and I now have two wee grandchildren. We've travelled over, not as often as I'd like, but we love the Highlands, as well as Edinburgh. So, I'm enjoying reading all your posts, as it's very familiar to me. Thank you.

  2. Ahh, welcome! Oh, and the 'Yanks' comment was for the Northerners, that I was convincing I was loving loads!! I hope they have a sense of humour...! Lovely that you have such Scottish connections. Does your son like living in Edinburgh - strange how things have come full circle - your son back to where his forefathers came from. Lovely to 'meet' you
    Love, Anne x

  3. Awesome! A Confederate flag in SCOTLAND!!! Booyah :D

  4. We are in Arkansas and so seeing the Confederate flag (yes, I capitalize "Confederate" LOL) IS just like home. I think some "Yanks" do not realize that to many in the South who fly this flag--it is not about being racially discriminating-but rather about our heritage and our love of the South and the people in it : )

    I love your blog, BTW! We home school, too and just like you have a love for the USA, my Dad and I share a love for the UK--Scotland and Ireland especially : )


  5. It was lots of fun reading your interview of Lesley! I'm a Southwesterner with Southern roots and farther back British roots (Scot, Welsh, Irish and Brit,+ other nationalities). My mom used terms like plaiting my hair instead of braiding when I was growing up. It's fun that our roots are so intertwined.

    BTW, I love your blog and enjoy your families homeschooling entries. I'm a "retired homeschooler," having just graduated my youngest this last May. Keep up the good work.


  6. Love your blog and hope to visit Scotland one day! I am from Georgia so it was cool to read your interview today. What an awesome experience for her.

  7. Thank you all so much.....
    a) I only have Southerners reading my blog or
    b) The Northerners really did choke on their coffee!

    I hope all my readers 'get' my sense of humour ;)
    Love, Anne x

  8. I believe southerners have such an affinity with Scots because so many settled here. They came to the states and were drawn to our mountains in North Carolina, Tennesee, and in my case, on to the hills of Arkansas. We have many, many Highland games around the south and my best friend learned to play pipes a few years ago.(She is killer) Because so many Scots settled in hills and mountains they did not completely assimilate, so kept their ways and culture. Consequently we have kept many words, phrases, and habits that have survived. To this farm girl, there is much that is familiar in our cultures. so keep your musings coming - Carol

  9. I stumbled on your blog this morning and loved reading your interview!

    We are a homeschooling family from Georgia and we have always wanted to visit Scotland (and we will one day, I'm just sure of it, lol!).

    Just made me laugh to read this about a young woman from a small town in Georgia...then to see your "about me" and see you are homeschooling in Scotland...

    Thanks again for sharing the interview, it was great! :)

    Homeschooling in Georgia

  10. Well I am from a northern family but I live in Florida, which, even though it is south of Georgia, isn't really "southern". So I guess I could qualify as a yank. I enjoyed the post :)

  11. Okay, I just HAVE to comment on this! I happened across your blog yesterday while looking at more info on homeschooling for friends of mine. I thought homeschool in Scotland sounded interesting, especially since my good friend from college is working over in Scotland on a 2 year assignment. No, it's not Lesley, but it IS her housemate! I emailed Jenn for confirmation. She was so excited! Isn't it a small world?! I'll definitely be subscribing...love your blog and love to see the beautiful land that Jenn is enjoying every day! Blessings to you as you continue your homeschooling...and life...journey!
    And I am "northern" and not offended. :)

  12. Thank you all for visiting.....and thank you for not declaring war on me!!
    Sharon - that's amazing - that you'd come across me 'speaking' to the housemate of someone you know.
    Well, small world indeed. Really incredible!

    I can see how the Scots would have travelled to these areas, Carol. We would too, if we had some way ..... !

    Thank you all for commenting,
    Love, Anne x


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