I have been neglecting my writing lately because if I’m honest, I’m feeling a bit blue. I miss my American life. A LOT. I miss my amazing son and lovely daughter-in-law, great friends, easy lifestyle and the summer weather. On this day, 4th of July 2017, I really feel …. lost?
I’m writing this on yet another dreich (translation: crappy, rainy, grey, windy) Scottish day. Which doesn’t help. I think we’ve had maybe 5 summer-like days. Edinburgh has had the most rainfall ever recorded in June with 180.6mm or 7.11 inches. Scotland as a whole has seen 75% above its average! I long for American summers, especially on days like today.
BBQs, sunshine, going to the lake or the beach, convertibles, wearing shorts, sundresses, sandals and having picnics. The ease of summertime life. My missing them makes all my memories bittersweet.
Enjoy every moment. Take nothing for granted. As Americans, I think we tend to forget how great we have it. Happy 4th of July.
Not with a fairy godmother. THAT would have been soooo much easier! Remember that wicked witch I mentioned last time?
Theresa May. Well, not her exactly but UK Visas and Immigration. Maybe considered one of her flying monkeys.
IF you decide to move “across the pond” (or more than 4,500 miles like I did) I cannot stress enough the importance of doing it the right way. Going through all the hoops like a crazed circus animal will make you want to give up and test your willpower. Not to mention break your bank if you’re not financially prepared.
First off – if you plan to come and stay in the UK “just to try it out”, GET A VISITORS VISA. This way the chances of you getting tossed out on your ear is reduced. The routine questions you’ll be asked if you travel in Europe on your American passport while visiting your paramour will be tedious, endless, seemingly stupid and sometimes, degrading. But if you’re absolutely sure it’s what you want, check this website for up-to-date visa info:
UK Customs and Immigration
Bon voyage 🥂🍾
Suddenly, from across the crowded room, you hear a voice (cue sexy Sean Connery as James Bond voice) and your knees go weak. He walks your way. Offers to buy you a drink. Fills your head with tales of exotic places and how wonderful life in the UK is. So much slower paced than America, back to nature, less pollution, rolling hills a la the Sound of Music, great transportation system because they have TRAINS and there’s no congestion on the roads and…and…and… It sounds like a magical fairytale land far, far away.
Soon you find yourself daydreaming and before you know it, you are obsessed with getting to know all about things like cream teas, crumpets, full English (breakfast), chips (which are French fries) and crisps (potato chips), Downton Abbey, Fawlty Towers, Monty Python, castles, The Beatles, and on and on and well, you get the idea.
Before you know it, you’ve left your family and friends behind as you find yourself on a plane ✈️ on an 11+ hour flight heading towards what you’re sure with every fibre of your being is your destiny. Your happily ever after.
Cue the wicked witch tomorrow…
Both my parents were Marines. My brother was a Marine. Many in my family have served in some capacity and I am proud. Not just today, but every day. I miss US holidays. The comradeship, sense of belonging, what brings a nation together. Sure, there’s a lot of superficial hoopla that goes along with it – and I miss that, too. But just for a little while, everyone feels as one. Peaceful. Happy. The BBQs are lit and families and friends gather to celebrate everything that is good and euphoria prevails. I miss it. I sit here in Scotland and the rain splashes against the windows and I look at my Instagram and Facebook and see all my family and friends and I am grateful. Even though I’m not there, they are with me. And I smile.
It’s beautiful days like the last few sunshiny ones we’ve enjoyed here in Scotland that make me feel almost normal. By that, I suppose I mean I’m happier, more relaxed, in tune with myself, and just generally more like my old self. Content.
The differences I feel since moving to Scotland permanently from Portland, Oregon 2-1/2 years ago are mostly superficial I suppose: shopping, food, nightlife. More deep rooted senses of loss are seeing my son and daughter-in-law or just knowing they’re a few miles up the road – not a continent away. I miss my friends. I have older friends who aren’t doing so well healthwise now and I believe I should be with them. I miss volunteering. There were so many great days spent helping various charities, from breast cancer to children’s charities to the arts. Here in Scotland, I’ve tried volunteering only to be rebuffed. The charity routinely begs for volunteers, yet rejects me because I’m American?! Really. That’s the reason.
So now I’ll go sit on our lovely American 🇺🇸 style patio, read a book by a Scottish author, and enjoy some English Gin 🍸and just enjoy today for today.
As I sit here on day 3 of recovering from keyhole knee surgery, I am looking at Facebook memories and smiling. Great times shared with great friends, suspended forever in a social media time capsule. What seemed like endless days of sunshine and laughter are now just digitalised images. Were they really as amazing as I remember? Or is it just because I’m now living in another country, thousands of miles away from these people and places, that make the memories that much more poignant?
Even though I have an amazingly wonderful, kind, loving husband (who is also my BFF) and amazing friends here in Scotland, a piece of my heart will always be in PDX. For many reasons. For now, I’ll focus on today and enjoy the rare but welcome glorious Scottish sunshine ☀️ 😎