The first, and most important, things you need to know about Stirling are these:
1) You can get amazing cell phone reception on top of the Wallace Monument.
2) I am afraid of heights.
What that says is "I have climbed the 246 Steps!", and damn it, I deserved that medal afterwards!
Stirling was lovely, but the rest of my week has been absolutely insane. I don't think I'll do this again. That is, have people move in, plan a massive Quest for a Con, attempt to keep work under some form of control, help with lots of outings, and then I edited out the rest of this sentence in order to keep my life sane (no, it was nothing bad). It's all just too much for one week, you know? I am, in a word, exhausted, and the week isn't over yet.
But, Stirling. We mostly just did two things: The Castle (of course), and the Wallace Monument. And not the one with Mel Gibson, but the one at the top of a very nice hill. My understanding is that it was built from public subscription, truly Of The People of Scotland. It's very well designed, with rooms every so often on the way up so you can take a break from the tiny stairs and learn a bit about Wallace. Kinda over the top, and the fact that the "Hall of Scottish Heroes" has no women in it kinda bothered me, but that's just me.
God, I'm really having a hard time gathering my thoughts about this. I feel like I should be gushing, you know? I went to Stirling! I climbed a monument! I've been planning this trip for months, looking forward to it, trying to coordinate my schedule with my friend in Stirling so we could at least hook up for coffee and hang out, and all I feel right now is exhausted. I want to be more supportive of Joe and Kristi and Moving To Scotland and yay and all that, but all I've got is a lot of exhaution and feeling confused by it all. I mean, to me, the moving thing wasn't that hard, and it really seems to be throwing Kristi for a huge loop. I'm finding it so hard to be supportive of her, because I can't really see what the problem is. And I feel so bad about that, like I should be better, and I just can't be. It feels like constant, never-ending stress between trying to get them into some form of "settled" enough to be comfortable, trying to plan this Con thing, trying to plan outtings around my incredibly varying work schedule, and doing all the other things that one just does when one is alive.
I mean, I loved it, but I just can't write about it right now, because I feel like I'm wasting time I should be spending doing Something More Important.
I've never felt this out of sorts about living overseas since I started it all.
I promised myself when I started this blog that I would write about the bad stuff as well as the Great Grand Adventures, and so I do express when I'm feeling out of sorts and culture shocked. Right now, I'm feeling very much "other"... I mean, I know expats who have just jumped into it with both feet, but I only know them through the internet. I was kinda expecting that, for Kristi, it wouldn't be that hard - she has me here, she's got the 'net whenever she wants it, she's been hearing about Scotland every day for months, there's someone handy to introduce her to people, help her find a job, help her with her paperwork, all that jazz, and I'm confused that it doesn't seem as easy for it. It makes me feel like... like I'm the strange one, you know? Like I never formed the right sort of attachments to notice them missing when I came here.
I don't think badly of her, by any stretch. I guess I just want to be the right sort of friend, and right now, I'm not.
So, consider this photo to be my thousand words on how great it was to be on the top of the Wallace Monument. The view, I'm telling you, is worth every step.