My hame toon is Seattle, Washington US; I was born and raised here. Ten years ago I made friends with a neighbor who is a Fifer, fae Bowhill, and who has lived in the US for some time. He introduced me to all things Scottish, including a language I didn’t understand. When his mum and children would visit from Scotland, they had fun speaking this language in front of me and then ask, “Did you understand us, Susan?” No I didn’t, not at all. I was told this was “slang,” and George also referred to it as “impolite” speech, but I was fascinated. He told me if I wanted to go to Scotland, he would act as tour guide and prepare an itinerary.
His mum’s birthday was in early March and he wanted to spend it with her, so we left Seattle the last day of February, 2010 (March is a great time to visit; no tourists, no midges, and we had sun all but two days.) We stayed in Glenrothes four days and toured the “Kingdom.” I was enthralled with the scenery, the visible history and the people who were warm and inviting. I learned what banter was, and I found I loved this way of teasing. I was sometimes tested on what I knew about Scotland (example: how haggis were raised, hunted, and their habits. Haha! You can’t fool me!) We visited 21 castles while there, spending a total of 12 days touring and we put 1200 miles on our rental car.
(I realize my backstory is lengthy, but I’ll get to Jill and Doric TV soon.) After I got back home I found myself hamesick for Bonnie Scotland. I joined a Scotland group on Facebook. I found the folk there using what I now know is Doric in their posts, and I understood little of it. So I started just posting photos of my trip, and they would comment, understanding I was American, and I made many friends. This group also had many American “fans” of Scotland and they’ve become my friends as well. Several of them, who only knew each other on Facebook went to Scotland in 2011, to meet up with Scottish Facebook pals, who only knew each other on Facebook also, for a pub crawl/tour. They’re hoping to go back in 2022, and I plan to join them. My Scottish pals have all been patient with my endless questions about Scotland, and we are truly friends; not only learning about each other’s countries, but a wee bit about each other. I value this more than I can say.
Fast forward to 2020, and I discovered Jill, her website and her youtube videos. I was immediately hooked, not only in seeing her beloved Aberdeenshire and other locales, but with Jill’s warm and inclusive personality. And I learned that this language I had heard and seen written so much had a name: Doric. To my surprise and delight, I understood her when she spoke; I didn’t need her subtitles. I don’t understand all the folks she interviews, but most. And I found all the interviews and her hikes so interesting and compelling. I felt a connection, and watching her videos almost made me feel as if I was there. And the folk she introduces are so interesting! What a find for this American who has virtually made Scotland her “hobby.”
So, Jill, keep up your devotion to your language, and your sharing of the beauty and history, and the people of your country. Clearly, the Doric language has been a significant part of the Scottish culture; I think it must remain that. And importantly, to my mind, it must lose the stigma of being “impolite.” I’m sharing your website and videos with everyone I can think of; I know that the other fans of Scotland will not only enjoy your presentations and education, but your way of making us all feel we’re there . . we’re hame.
Susie Carruth – Everett, Washington, USA
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