So it was the night of the referendum and I found myself for the first time a little bit homesick for Edinburgh. I had spent a good day chatting to my friends at home about the celebrations and demonstrations that seemed to be going on all over Scotland. Regardless of whether or not you believe in the “Yes” mantra (which by the end I was convinced by) and whether or not you voted to remain part of the UK, it was definitely a momentous and historically significant day that I was sad not to be a part of.
But I was in Berlin, I was miles away and I still wanted to be involved in the discussion and decision that would affect the rest of my life as a Scottish citizen. I was a bit ridiculous actually because I went to three different news stands to buy three different German papers on the Referendum and strike up conversation with the newsagents, who kept their thumbs pressed (fingers crossed in German) for me! But I imagined that in Scotland the atmosphere would be amazing…
So I gathered my two friends in Berlin – one a firm yes supporter like me and one a Better Together advocate (he’s English so probably just sad to see us go! :P) and took them to the only Scottish pub in Berlin!!
When I walked into the pub it was like walking into a pub in Scotland! It was really Whisky and ale oriented and served proper haggis with neeps and tatties. To my surprise the bartender, however, was Irish. When I questioned him, he intimated that he pretended to be Scottish a lot, playing on his red hair and the fact that German’s often didn’t know an Irish from a Scottish accent! The pub was called “Das Gift” (which contrary to what you’d guess means “The Poison”!) and it was in a little corner of Neukölln.
They’d set up a giant projector screen and hooked up to some STV for the results to be screened and we settled down in the back room. It took about an hour for the place to be completely heaving. The entire Scottish population of Berlin appeared to have congregated in this bar and I met a few lovely people, most of whom were rooting for independence! One family asked me if I was voting yes, when I said I was they gave me a shot and a cake… so I profited!
With the reults came disappointment in the bar, the atmosphere did unfortunately take a turn for the worse, with many ordering consolation drinks and lamenting. The news reporters had gathered and were asking questions about why we thought Scotland should be independent, if you’re at all interested in the cause you should check out the ‘Green Yes’ campaign and also my facebook if you want to see why I changed my mind to vote “Yes”. All in all, however, I think everyone agreed that the referendum which prompted % of Scots to register to vote in contrast with % of previous years, encouraged all to engage in politics and to really think about the country’s future, which can only be a good thing. When I bit into my little cake which said “Aye” I was disappointed that our country had voted against change but I supposed that a great change like that would perhaps have made me more anxious to be back at home in a way. It was nice to have found a little slice of Scotland in such a different culture!