Dinner and a movie. The most classic (and somewhat cliche) idea for date night. Most of the time both of us try to be ultra inventive to “out creative” the other on our week to plan date night. This week was my week to plan and I chose to forgo creativity in favor of dinner and a movie. But I had a really good reason!
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 was just released here in Scotland and we were itching to see it. I’ve been waiting for this movie since they announced they were filming several years ago. We leave for our anniversary trip to Italy this Sunday meaning we wouldn’t be able to see it for a few weeks if I didn’t use my date night to see it.
Even though it’s a chick flick, I didn’t feel too bad about taking my husband to see it. My Big Fat Greek Wedding is without a doubt one of my favorite movies of all time so it gets played in our house quite a bit. He claims that it’s one of his movies also. Whether he says this because he truly enjoys it or because he is the best husband in the entire world and would do anything to make me happy I’ll probably never know. What I do know, is that he is always willing to enthusiastically quote the funniest lines of the movie with me any time of any day in any place. I don’t know how I got so lucky.
Anyway, gushy stuff aside, we had a great “cliche first date” date night!
As I mentioned before, we leave this Sunday for a fantastic anniversary trip to Italy (more on that later)! To help save a little bit of money before leaving, I chose to make the dinner part of the “dinner and a movie” date night at home. I made my recipe for chicken parmesan since we are in the Italian spirit (have I mentioned that we’re excited about Italy?) which I’ll post later on this week.
In Edinburgh, there are a TON of movie theaters. Every time we see a movie we try out a different one. Many of the theaters are smaller, boutique style theaters with just a couple of screens and a small snack bar. A lot of them are located on a single floor of a building that has houses other businesses as well. For two first time city dwellers, the whole buildings housing multiple businesses thing takes some getting used to.
For this date night, we went to the large theater just around the corner from our flat. While the boutique style theater is nice, there is definitely something to be said for the feeling that you get when you walk into a big time movie theater. The smell of freshly popped popcorn, the long lines at the snack counter, posters and TV screens displaying all the big box office hits…
And in Scotland, a candy bar! This fill your own bag style of candy bar is more of a staple in Scottish movie theaters than freshly popped popcorn. It’s true. We’ve been to more than one theater that didn’t pop their own popcorn, but we’ve never been to one without one of these.
The Scottish people love their candy.
While most of the aspects of a Scottish movie theater experience are similar to an American movie theater, there are a few significant differences that I feel are worthy of a mention.
First and foremost, freshly popped popcorn is not a necessity. This was shocking to me when we first moved here. I’m pretty sure it’s all I talked about for a least a week. Not only can you not buy freshly popped popcorn at every movie theater, you also can’t buy microwaveable popcorn in most grocery stores! As someone who loves to snack on popcorn, I had severe withdrawals. My mother-in-law attempted to send us a few bags in the mail, but unfortunately, we opened the box to find soggy, somewhat exploded bags. When we arrived at this big movie theater and discovered that they had popcorn machines I was thrilled, to say the least.
Second, at most theaters, you buy your ticket at a kiosk. The kiosk is kind of a nice feature. No matter if you need to purchase a ticket or if you already purchased a ticket online and just need to print, you visit the same little machine and it walks you through a few easy steps. You have the ticket in your hand in under a minute.
Third, in Scotland, you can sometimes PICK YOUR SEAT in the movie theater! We haven’t seen this at every theater, but at a few of them you really can pick your seat when you buy your ticket! This system works perfectly for a compulsive planner like me. No more trying to rush in before the crowds, arriving 30 minutes early, or even forgoing popcorn (the horror!) to try to get the best seats. With this nifty feature you can pick the best seats in the house and they will be saved for you until you arrive. I think this should be implemented worldwide.
Fourth, if you are a planner and have chosen to buy your tickets ahead of time online, you get a significant discount at some theaters. In the U.S., I recall being charged extra (some sort of online fee) at our local theater for tickets bought in advance. I’m just glad that there is a country that rewards my compulsive planning. It makes me feel appreciated.
It seems like it’s always the little differences that surprise us most here in Scotland. When you move to another country you expect the big things to be different. Things like culture, accent, language, food, those things you’re prepared for. It’s the little differences like not selling popcorn that will catch you off guard.
One thing is for sure, every day in Scotland is an adventure for us. We absolutely love learning more and more about this place and its people. Even the cliche date nights have an exciting element of discovery for us here.