01 Jan Bellshill to Boston
Thomas Stirling is a website designer (Massachusetts, USA)
1) Where did you grow up and when did you leave Scotland?
I was born in Bellshill and grew up in the suburbs of Glasgow in the small village of Bargeddie, then lived for a year in the city center before moving to the Boston area of Massachusetts at age 27.
2) What is your job/sector and how many countries have you lived in?
I am a website designer currently employed at Kaspersky Lab, a world leader in Anti-Virus protection. I work in the Woburn office just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. I have lived in Salem, Massachusetts for the past 6 years since I left Scotland.
3) Do you sometimes visit bonny Scotland?
I visit usually once a year at Christmas & Hogmanay, but haven’t been home recently due to the arrival of my first son, Owen, who is now 3 months old. I hope to return in the Spring or Summer of 2013 to show my son his homeland.
4) What do people in your host country think of Scots and Scotland?
I think some people have a stereotypical view that Scots are whisky-loving bagpipe players. However, my accent has probably helped to open some doors for me and people have been very friendly and accepting. Most Americans upon hearing my accent tell me how they have Scottish heritage in their family tree and seem extremely proud of it.
5) Should haggis be a protected species?
Absolutely! The haggis should be able to roam free and without fear.
6) Has living abroad changed the way you think about Scotland?
It has made me realize that there is no place like home and the people of Scotland, and my friends back home are the best in the world for me!
7) What do you miss most and least about the auld country?
I miss simple things like turning on TV and hearing a Scottish accent, going to the local pub and meeting my friends. I even miss the Scottish weather. I often find myself feeling more at home in Massachusetts when there is a cloudy, rainy day. I guess the thing I miss the least is NED culture!
8) What about the independence referendum coming up? How will it affect you and Scotland’s international image?
I think like most things it has pros and cons. It’s good to make our own decisions and be 100% self sufficient, but also it may have some pitfalls such as needing a passport to cross into other parts of the UK. To be honest I will consult with friends back home before making my mind up as I don’t want to cast an ignorant vote. When I lived back home, I disliked hearing about celebrities and such that had big opinions on Scotland, but didn’t live there, and I don’t want to ever be that guy.
9) When are you coming home for good and do you have a message for Scots back home?
It is uncertain when I will return. Ideally I would love to be wealthy enough that I didn’t need to work again, but the employment factor was always tough at home, and here I have been able to succeed, so now it looks like I am away for the long haul. But that’s not to say I can’t dream of returning one day to the land I call home.