Friday, 26 September 2014

Goodbye Summer...

After two awful days (including waking up in Scotland, 5 hours in Germany, one day and one night in Amsterdam) I am free of a curse which lay over me. What was otherwise a horribly unplanned day and night  in Amsterdam was made better by the kindness of strangers. I did make the most of my time too, stocking up on gelatine-free fizzy cola bottles at Candy Freaks and walking along the pretty canals. Edinburgh is windy but the air somehow feels calmer, the atmosphere less hostile and far more welcoming. In the last few weeks I have walked around Edinburgh a lot, drank many cups of coffee and renewed friendships which I had almost on pause during my year abroad. I have become closer to people, less nauseous and more optimistic about the future. I also woke up with a comforting feeling in my chest. As that cliché goes, look beyond the storm and there's a rainbow. I am finally allowed to enjoy the present moment, which is currently lying in bed "doing translations", i.e. taking a study break.

Not quite as nice as when I was here in May...

When he asked me how many cola bottles I wanted, I replied "all of them".

I have been invited to go to Atlanta for Christmas to spend time with my brother with a trip to New York for new year. I am back to feeling motivated about progressing with my studies after being a little distracted for a while. For next year I have many options, but no rush to decide is required. Whilst I will still be applying to teach in Asia, thoughts of doing postgraduate studies in New York have been resurfacing (an old dream). Subjects in my mind range from Chinese language and Oriental art to International Development. No idea where I end up, but I hope I end up doing something meaningful. Oui, la vie est belle. For now it's time to enjoy the last bit of time I have in Edinburgh.

Arthur's seat from Salisbury crags

Victoria street, Edinburgh

I was pleased to see that Scotland didn't get its independence and remained a part of something bigger with no borders. More chances for a socialist Britain. Conversely I am glad to have my own independence back after quite a few years. I can finally step out and do things without feeling guilty about dragging someone along or leaving someone behind. 

Backing track to my life right now:

And to finish on a cheesier note, I walked up to the top of Salisbury crags to the place where the film One Day was filmed. Admittedly I must face up to the fact that I am a helpless romantic, knowing that the film is set in Edinburgh makes it resonate more with me.

Salisbury crags

“Live each day as if it's your last', that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn't practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at...something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.”

-David Nicholls, One Day

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

After a couple of weeks in Cambridge, a 10 hour drive from south to north and two days saying goodbye to my beautiful feline friends and my parent's home in the highlands (and helping to box up my things), I am back in Edinburgh.

I said goodbye to this...

My home for the last 4 years.

and hello again to this... The meadows

During my year abroad I largely avoided winter. With the exception of a two day coldspell in Grenoble and a -12 degrees celcius weekend in Berlin, I had a very long summer. But now, it must be said,"winter is coming".

Whilst down south I did have a bit of the post-year abroad blues (mainly when thinking about Grenoble), but I am extremely happy to be back to my busy schedule here in this city... Even if winter is on its way. I am back to friends (new and old), cosy coffee shops, great teaching, interesting courses, live Doctor Who, the V sign clearly written on every package, climbing, yoga, a pretty flat and a beautiful new neighbourhood. There is a wee bit of pressure and stress to follow, but nothing too painful I hope.

I am not sure whether or not this will be my last year in Edinburgh, but I love this city.

Tomorrow the Scottish referendum will take place. After much deliberation I decided I will be voting no. Mainly because I am not a fan of nationalism, prejudice nor borders. I believe in uniting nations, not dividing them.