I realized the other day that after our trip to Heidelberg and Edinburgh last year, I never posted anything at all about our time in Edinburgh, and now it’s almost a year later! It’s not that I’m completely scatterbrained, though we did have a whirlwind summer starting with that trip, and not that I never sorted through the pictures, because I actually sorted and edited them on the return flight home. It actually has more to do with my knowledge that it would probably take a little something out of me to write about it.
Before we lived in Scotland I had never experienced missing a place before, even though I moved numerous times after graduating high school. I could say that I miss Akron, but really I just miss my family and a few good local restaurants. I could say that I miss Cincinnati, but really I just miss the great friends that were there, and all of the amenities that come with living in a big city like that. Luckily, I can return to Akron and visit my family, or we can visit with friends in Cincinnati, or whatever other city they have moved onto, and get a taste of the things that we miss. But we can’t do that with Edinburgh.
It must be because Edinburgh is kind of like it’s own entity in our minds, with all of those things mixed together. It’s kind of like when you say, “Oh, I miss college,” and by ‘college’ you mean spring break with your friends, a low(ish) stress part-time job, the time to exercise 5 days a week if you want, stamina to pull an all-nighter writing a paper (and goofing off), and the metabolism to eat whatever you want, among other things.
I feel like saying that “I miss Scotland” encompasses so much that it’s almost difficult to talk about. We had such an incredible existence when we were there. I loved my job and my co-workers, and Chris loved the research and writing, his colleagues and his superiors. We loved the pedestrian lifestyle. Walking to church, to work, to dinner or breakfast, or to the gym was surprisingly enjoyable. We had ample time to talk about our day, what we thought about everything, and just unwind. Walking around gave us a good amount of exercise every day, and living on the edge of the city allowed us to enjoy the best of both types of the most beautiful scenery: gorgeous old buildings against blue (or gray) skies and bright green grass, or a vast park lined with a few beautiful hills. We had favorite restaurants, at which we had favorite courses, and favorite servers, including several who we became friends with.
We had a fun group of friends who we loved. We were probably closer because we all had to be closer in a situation like that. No one had family around (or those “like family” lifelong friends) to lean on when things were rough, when we failed, when we were lonely or down. We just had each other. So we celebrated accomplishments with genuine joy because we had all “been there.” We rejoiced over submitted chapters, successful proposals and vivas, and well-received presentations with our other student friends. We celebrated finding jobs, or quitting that crappy job that we had originally taken just to get by. We shared news of our pregnancies, how we shared the news with our families at home, and wondered how we would cope with having our babies in such a different situation than what we had always expected. In a short time, we became each other’s families and lifelong friends.
I’m feeling all sentimental this week because this is the week that we moved home, 3 years ago. Each year when mid-March rolls around I get particularly reminiscent about our time in Edinburgh, and sad that it is over. Every once in a while a job in Edinburgh will pop up on Chris’ radar and he’ll bring it to my attention with his eyes gleaming, and I’ll say what we both know, that that stage of our life is over. Returning now would be an entirely different experience, and even though I’m sure we would love that too, we wouldn’t be returning to the “Edinburgh” that we remember, with the people that we love and the lifestyle that a young couple without kids can live. But it does give us a minute to smile over those old memories, remind each other of some little tradition that we loved, and dream for a minute.
I realized a bit ago that I was worried that I would become one of those people who always talked about that “one thing that they did a long time ago,” and my “one thing” was living in Edinburgh. Shortly after, I realized that even if that became true, I didn’t care. Our life in Edinburgh is a part of what makes me “me,” (and us “us” for that matter). It is just as much of my make up as my college, my spitfire first born son, a desire for my t-shirts to be folded tidily in my dresser or our weekly mandated pizza date. It is as likely that it will surface in conversation as a story about Jayce having a new favorite dance, Chris publishing another book or me making something for the house. It will happen, and I’m happy about that. Sharing it reminds me that it actually happened, that it wasn’t just a beautiful dream, and helps me to miss it less when I want to just go visit those old friends or go for a walk on that beautiful road.
These pictures are all from our trip last May. I’ll post more later in the week along with what we actually did while we were there. But as I said initially, I was afraid that starting to talk about Edinburgh would lead to a floodgate of words and emotions, and I was right. But that’s okay.