I miss Scotland, but I’d also miss the U.S. if I wasn’t here. I know this unequivocally because I’ve experienced it in the past. I spent a year-and-a-half in PA and went home to Scotland in late November 1997. It was a rough adjustment at first. It was also a rather interesting experience. Scotland is a *touch* greener than the east coast. ‘Why’ I hear you ask? Partly due to the 150 inches of precipitation per year we experience. I missed my family greatly, and I spent the first 4 days home telling them they “talked funny”, to be met with the “you sound like that too” defensive rebuttal. I was therefore grateful I had not lost my (alleged) accent.
I also had a greater appreciation for the old architecture in Scotland, and old things in general. I had someone in Pennsylvania tell me, “This house is a hundred years old …” I tried to look awe-struck, flabbergasted — anything really. But in reality, all I could think about was the protected tree outside my church in Scotland that had been around just as long. The irony of the story was the woman showing me her home was from Hull (England) originally. Interesting.
I had been living back in the U.K. for 2 years when I decided to come back to the States, just for 6 months though. I missed something, and I still have no idea what it was. Six-and-a-half years later (at the time), I am still here, my immediate family remaining in Scotland. I was talking online to my younger brother yesterday, a blessing in itself. It’s comforting to talk to him, even if the conversation is the demise of Scottish life with the infestation of neds (non-educated delinquents, aka chavs).
During our casually ramblings, my dear brother decides to flash miniature photographs of my hometown in the Messenger window. My reaction was a lot like it has been in the past when I have seen it in pictures. I felt strange, hollow almost. Something was missing from me for that small moment. And yet, a connection, a feeling of security swept over me. It’s something I know, recognise, identify with — whatever you want to call it.
My night dreams are still based in Scotland with America mixed in for good measure. Sometimes I feel like I am in a country purgatory, neither here nor there. It’s especially noticeable to me if I watch “The Weakest Link” on BBC America and try to answer British questions, only to realise I don’t remember anything, and am so behind the times – 6 years to be exact. So I take comfort in the fact that I have somewhat of a longevity here and watch “The Weakest Link” on GSN, and I am beaten down quickly as I come to the realisation that I don’t know as much as I thought I did. Maybe I should stick with “Jay Walking” on the Leno show. I know more than those people, especially politics and American history. But then again, they never show the smart people.
Anyway, maybe I wanted to point out to myself that it’s amazing the things we all take for granted. But I really endeavour not to. With everything. I promised myself when I got married that I would always tell my husband that I loved him at least once a day, and I have lived up to my own promise, 1826 days later. It’s not a hollow “I love you” that reverberates against tall buildings or sinks in shallow waters. I treasure him, he is precious to me.
So why the introspective comments and serious demeanour of this post? I feel the need to pay homage to life, give it the respect it deserves. And in doing so, proclaim that there is nothing more strengthening or humbling than being that of an ex-pat.