Megan has a new bio bio:
Formerly the Women’s Community Development Coordinator at HIV/AIDS Resources and Community Health in Guelph, Ontario, Megan now resides in Glasgow, Scotland, with her husband and cat. Newly transplanted, Megan is learning to love haggis and whiskey while exploring the local cultural attitudes towards equality, accessibility, harm reduction, and HIV.
Introduction to my new world
I could be at the Red Brick Cafe, or any coffee shop in Canada. Around me is the sound of clinking spoons and rattling china cups and the sound of milk being steamed in the cappuccino make r. . .
Except I’m not, I’m in Scotland.
Some things I’ve noticed about Glasgow so far: People are friendly here. At least I think they are; I often can’t make out what they’re saying. But people talk to each other here - more than they do back home, especially in Toronto, where everyone tries to pretend the other doesn’t exist.
In Glasgow, it’s not uncommon to be offered help if you look lost, or have a stranger initiate conversation with you while you stroll down the street, or see a lively debate arise spontaneously among strangers.
As for the important stuff, (the food and drink, of course) Scots do love their haggis; I thought it would be the kind of food that exists more in the imagination of foreigners than in real life - kind of like how people outside Canada might imagine that Canadians drench every meal in maple syrup. But not true: there is an abundance of opportunities to taste haggis here, both in its original form and in many “modern”interpretations. One can find haggis burgers, haggis salad, haggis pie, haggis rolls, haggis ready-meals, haggis paninis, haggis pakoras, even haggis flavoured potato chips. Of course, I’ve had to take the opportunity to try as many different formulations as possible. (So far, nothing beats the classic).
Glasgow seems to be great a city. It’s exciting to be in this city that is bursting with opportunity. It’s a city packed with culture: music, theatre, sport, food & drink, literature and history. But it’s difficult to start over, leaving behind my family, friends, community, most of my belongings, my house, my car, my job - a job I loved - and everything I know to be familiar. Every day, every task, is a new adventure - and if I’m honest, a new challenge.
Guelph, Ontario is a special community. It contains a lot of people working to address HIV, trauma, poverty and violence in a meaningful and constructive way. I’d worked in nonprofit organizations in the past where the staff were drained of compassion or motivation. But in Guelph, there are countless inspired - and inspiring - people devoted to bettering the community. Guelph, it seems, is a magnet for people thoroughly committed to cultivating compassion and inclusiveness. It’s not without its problems, like any town, but never have I felt so connected to a city and its people than in Guelph.
I’m devoted to finding “home”here, though. And despite leaving many things behind, I’ve still got the same interests and passions as I had back home. You can expect to hear more from me, with my expat’s eye on local - and Canadian - issues affecting HIV, harm reduction and equity. And haggis.