Bonnie Scotland, Slàinte Mhath!
You guys, I MADE IT TO SCOTLAND. I'M HERE.
The last time I managed to write anything, it turned into me baring my soul through my emotional storm over my sister while struggling with options for my next move. I was lost, battered, and struggling to breathe.
I'm elated to share that not only is my baby sister making leaps and bounds in her absolutely miraculous recovery from the brink of death, but I successfully made the brave jump to Scotland - in the middle of a pandemic. This adventurous expat has officially moved on to her next adventure into the land of bagpipes, kilts, and all the rolling green hills one could ever hope to see. The Scottish countryside is like heaven on earth and I couldn't be happier. I'm rediscovering myself while falling in love with the country and people. The kindness and hospitality of the native Scots has blown me away. Life is feeling good and I feel whole again. Filled with gratitude for the opportunities I've been presented.
For anyone who might be wondering, yes I AM still stuck outside the US for the foreseeable future. However, I'm no longer at odds with it. I've made my peace and chosen to focus on the bountiful blessings that keep multiplying. You may be wondering HOW I managed to make it here given my previous monstrosity of a predicament. Through extremely careful strategizing, plenty of sweat and tears, loads of flexible arrangements, an absolutely treasured friend I made on the internet, and a moderate dose of desperation mixed with faith... I took a deep breath, purchased a plane ticket to Edinburgh, and made the leap. (May the odds be ever in your favor- Effie Trinket)
I narrowed down the options presented to me to carefully decide what to do next. My intuition was my guide. Thankfully I’ve become incredibly well-versed in European travel! I’ve learned a lot of ways to help other Americans who might ALSO be travelling Europe without permanent residency. Especially navigating it all, during the Pandemic times (ha ha). Through all of this on-the-road-training I've acquired, I have formed plans A-Z for my survival for the rest of COVID-19. But I'm not here to talk about all of those right now. No, I'm writing this entry because I'm in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and I just gotta share!
Scotland has welcomed me in with open arms like a mother reunited with her child. Tears and joy abound. I feel like a long-lost relative, returning to a home that's brand new but strangely familiar at the same time. I've been here just under a month, and I already feel more like myself than I have since January. It’s like I've been holding my breath underwater for nearly 6 months, and just now am breaching the surface for air. The people of Scotland are easily some of the kindest, easy-going, and generous souls I've ever come across. I haven't met a single one who wasn't more than happy to offer me coffee or tea and swap life stories (or hear mine). When I arrived I was welcomed into the home of a "friend I hadn't met yet". This home is brimming with the warmth and safety I've been craving for months. I'm so well fed I have to be rolled out of the kitchen after each meal, and this truly feels like home. I have an overwhelming wellspring of gratitude for all the warmth that's been shown to me-that's opening the path to healing. A part of me will always be here, long after I move on to my next adventure.
A few snapshots of my tour through Pollock Park and George Square in Glasgow*
There is so much culture to learn from! My gracious friends and hostess have been imparting history, language, and traditions to me since the day I arrived. For example, did you know the Gaelic alphabet is vastly different from the English one? Or that Scottish midges are a well-known nightmare (think mosquitoes, but virtually undetectable if they land on you, and leave the worst evidence of their assault). Scottish colloquialisms are some of the best ones I’ve encountered in my travels so far. Braw is good, a fanny is NOT your bum, and a bumbag is a fanny pack (catch my drift? hehe). Insults are commonplace but context is absolutely everything. "Alright?" is the short but sweet version of, " hi, how are you?" and you respond the very same. I've heard various ways of pronouncing "Edinburgh" but the consensus I've seemed to reach is "Edin-bruh". On and on it goes.
I came here partially for security (as I was in a difficult position in Poland-despite my love for the country), but also as a quest to discover some of my ancestral roots. I've made some headway with discovering my family roots, and have been excited to learn that there are definitely people in the country I'm distantly tied to! I'm still working out the details and narrowing down the list. I'm psyched at how much I've already found and I’ll definitely include some updates in my next blog!
Having only just arrived, I've got loads to explore and plenty of time. From the highlands to Glasgow, Inverness, and Edinburgh, and everything in between, I'm ready. Though the skies may be literally grey a majority of the time, the figurative ones are clearing, and the sun is beginning to shine again. The world around me is blooming into vibrant colors again in all hues and layers, and I am feeling lighter and lighter. My carefree spirit is returning, and I'm giggling with child-like wonder at the beauty and magic surrounding me, drawing me in. I'm dancing without a care in the world. Drinking in the magic and vibrance of Bonnie Scotland. Happy Birthday to me!