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Scottish Chinese Food

by Caitlin Snook

I seek distraction in many different things that make me happy. This is not to escape ever thinking about possible outcomes, but in order to finally stop thinking about them. And one of my favorite distractions is: American Chinese Food!

However, it came to my attention recently that, along with many other things, Chinese food is something that Americans have adopted and modified into something far from its original form. Nevertheless, I have grown to be an avid lover of American Chinese food and it became something I take comfort in. Bad day? Chinese food. Problems with friends? Chinese food. Nothing wrong whatsoever? Chinese food. I’m clearly lucky to have somehow remained a slim 125 pounds…er…57 kilograms (seeing that I am a second-year transfer student from the United States, I did need an online unit converter to figure that out).

From September onwards, my beloved comfort food will be only one of many things changing. Having never been to Europe before, two years at an international institution is an extremely daunting, yet exciting prospect. My mental worry consists of cell phone plans, new money units (or I guess new units for everything), a different climate, and pretty much anything else other than basic human functions. These past months I have been subconsciously scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of things I hadn’t yet realized would be a part of this change and then it dawned on me: Scottish Chinese food.

Scottish Chinese food must be different from American Chinese food, the same way that American pizza isn’t the same as authentic Italian pizza. A thought that usually passes through my mind is: “What will I do without that comfort that I had always been used to?”. This can be a terrifying realization for many people moving away from home. I don’t doubt that I’ll find comforts in Scotland just the same as I have in America, but it is unsettling to think of having to leave the familiar habits behind. It was at that point that I realized exactly what I had said earlier - Americans adopted and modified Chinese food, specifically into something that I have loved all my life.

Just like this, Chinese food became a metaphor for the transition I am about to go through. The profound (and funny/goofball) part of my mind told me that in this situation, I am Chinese food. My coming to Scotland will modify me, but it doesn’t mean that I’m disconnected from my life that exists in the United States or that I’m not who I was before my coming to the UK. In fact, I might find that I feel that the version of me that exists as a result of this experience will make everything in my life more enjoyable and easier.

My conclusion through all of this is that new experiences don’t overwrite and get rid of the other parts of your life. Past and new experiences complement each other and, together, they shape the person you are. It’s the same continuous life, just experienced from a different perspective than before, just like Scottish Chinese food.


And who knows, maybe I will grow to love Scottish Chinese food as much as the American one, and one day maybe I will get to try the original and love that as well.

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