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One Year Later

I've been here for a year.

I don't know how the time crept up on me so quickly. I was aware of it, of course, but in a distant sort of way. End of June = One Year in Scotland. Sorta like how Christmas is really far away, and then boom it's December 21st and I've forgotten to buy presents.

And here I am.

It feels good.

I love Scotland. I love the lifestyle to which I've become accustomed here - I travel so much, I know these great people, I'm content with life in general. It seems so good right now, and I realised the other day that I'm not waiting for the other shoe to drop. I think I've come home after searching for it in other people so much. Here it is.

So, a Year in Review....

My first post on this side of the ocean was on June 21. That month I spent a lot of time doing touristy things, which makes sense since I was living on the Mile, in a hostel. I actually look back very fondly on that now, but at the time, I really thought I would go insane. Especially after I got the night job. I had such a hard time dealing with sleeping in a hostel during the day. But the people were so friendly. I occasionally run into people I met there, and although we can't always remember each other's names, we do remember each other, and where we're from. Aussie girl is working in a book store, and the other two Canadians went back to Spain after the summer. I was back there and used them to take my tour of Skye, and the person behind the counter recognized me, and that was cool.

I got a mobile phone right away, and I have to admit it was the smartest thing I did that week. I also got a mail box, which has been nice and useful but occasionally annoying. The guy behind the counter is an angel, but I wish I got more mail to justify the expense. (Yes, that was a whine, just ignore it.)

July was all about hating the heat and protests and the like. That was G8 and Make Poverty History. I managed to avoid them (still working the job that I began to loath pretty darn fast), except for the bit that I was still living on the Mile. Other than that, it was okay. That was the month I got introduced to the orangest drink in the whole world, Irn-Bru, and warned by the people I'm renting my flat through that it stains everything and never comes out. I found my flat that month, and eventually got a paycheque sorted out so I had a lot of money finally. And I had my first birthday overseas. There were deep fat fried mars bars - they really exist!

Women Talking
August was the month I started travelling, and fell in love. Lindsifarne I can never stop talking about, of course, as it really did feel like finding home to get there. I also ducked off to Paris for a long weekend that month, renewing my love affair with that city. That's where I cam up with the cunning plan of being an international pastry thief.... I really want to go back again, unsurprisingly. I was talking to a friend about it, and he pointed out that I want to go back everywhere. I'm so fickle, I think everywhere I visit is where I should have moved. Well, except Cardiff, which is nice enough, but really is Little Canada. I'm sure the rest of the country isn't so... Canadian.

Daisy, Daisy, Give me your Answer Moo!August was also the Fringe, and Apocalypse the Music with the cow that looked like Levi. Wow, am I ever looking forward to the Fringe this year... I think I may try to book some time off and just revel in it. I suspect it's even better if you're not exhausted when wandering around.

Oh, I think July and August were both bad months for feeling homesick. It was also the month I realised I wanted juice mix *really really lots*. (Margery & Raven have both sent me some, because they rock, and Joe brought some when he came across. I have a bag I'm bringing to Canada that will come back to Scotland full of juice mix. Because I love the idea of that bag being search in customs.)

September was when I quit my job. I have never made a better choice in my life - I got paid at the latest job today and this having money thing kicks ass and takes names. That whole panic pretty much dominated the month, though. I tend to be like that. *grin* It also started my obsession with the fact that no one cooks in Scotland. Or, at least, no one bakes. *sigh* I *still* can't get a good sized bag of flour here, and when I'm really going nuts about baking I can go through three or four of the little bags in a week. (This is less annoying now that I'm all bourgeois and have my groceries delivered.) It's also when I started angsting about the weather over here. The seasons here are so weird in that they occur with enough variety to notice.

Archway to HeavenOctober seems to have been all about proving I am weird and random. It's when I started picking places to go out of hats, basically. And Linlithgow is still fun to say. I pondered differences between Edmonton and Edinburgh, did more touristy things, like free musuems and Holyrood Palace, sans Queen. I went to Kelso and started my goal of collection all of the Scottish Border Abbeys (just one more left!).

October was the month it dawned on me I was happy. I still occasionally feel guilty about this. Because I am weird that way.

November started with a bang: Guy Fawkes day! I still remember the cotton candy very fondly. I went down south to Glastonbury (and the World Famous Somerset Fair that no one's heard of) and saw Stonehenge and felt strangely unmoved. For Christmas I saw the Nutcracker for the first time in my life, and started going to the German Christmas market. And then people tried to teach me English. Or British. Or something.

Then December happened. There was Sinterklaas and cookies made out of bad little children (that taste yummy in chai, if you were wondering). I got all giggly about Hogmany, and popped down to London for a day just because flights were cheap and I could. Christmas Eve service was beauiful, and I remember listening to the bells at midnight and being enchanted.

The only thing that could have made it better was snow.

Hogmany brought 2005 to a close with many explosions and the kissing of many strange boys.

Good year, that one was. I give it four out of five stars.

{I'll do the last six months of this year in Scotland in another post.}


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