When I moved to Edinburgh (for the second time) in May 2010, I had just graduated from college and was incredibly reluctant to leave my boyfriend, friends, and family back in the US. A 40+ hour work week and the realization that the situation was only temporary prevented me from going out and actively meeting people. (The fact that I am not exactly the world's most outgoing person added to this as well.) Even a visit from a friend (Chris!) and my boyfriend halfway through the summer failed to ease the homesickness that I felt. On top of this was the fact that shortly before I left Edinburgh in June 2009, I was the victim of an event that not only changed my life, but cast a shadow upon my entire time in Scotland. It was this event that made it so incredibly difficult to return to Scotland in 2010...but I did it because I hoped to put the past behind me. Although I did make significant advances in coming to terms with what happened and learned to appreciate Scotland again, mostly thanks to the kindness and wonderful times shown to me by my (now ex-)boyfriend and his family, I was not entirely successful in my endeavor. Whereas I had loved Edinburgh prior to 2009 (it was my favorite city, hands down), even after the good times of 2010, I still remained hesitant about returning.
It is amazing the difference that a mere 8 months can make in one's life. In that time, I've spent 7 months abroad, lost a friend in a car accident (and almost lost several others in other incidents), been hit by a car, had my heart broken, written countless essays, and, as a result, matured in ways that I am only just becoming aware of. Living abroad changes you...for better or worse. It toughens you. And so when I returned to Edinburgh this past weekend, things were immediately different. Somehow, in the past 8 months, I developed the necessary toughness needed to finally conquer Edinburgh...and put the horrific events of the past behind me. I am pleased to note that almost 2 years after the attack...I am finally at peace.
|View up the Royal Mile|
|View from Holyrood Park towards Calton Hill & Leith|
|The top of Arthur's Seat|
Saturday (*If you are not interested in reading worthless soul-searching statements, skip ahead*)
Saturday was all about overcoming the past, and so I started off the morning with a visit to the club where that terrible night began. In summer 2010, I generally avoided the entire area (a bit of a bother since it is located on a convenient road in the city center) and even when forced down to the Cowgate never ventured up the side street where it is located. Even thinking about it used to bring back the few memories that I possess of what happened that night, thus provoking all of the associated memories and fears. By visiting the club, I confronted these fears directly. The strange thing was that none of them re-surfaced when I saw it. I had braced myself for the worst - and I felt nothing save for a bit of anger and sadness at how things had ultimately turned out. Heartened by this, I continued across the city following the events of that night (so much as I have pieced together). It took the better part of the day, but was well worth it in the end. Each place visited was a fear conquered, a part of my life regained. And when I emerged back into the Old Town on Saturday afternoon, I was finally able to move on and allow myself to fall in love with Edinburgh again.
I was exhausted by all of that soul-searching, inner-battle fighting, and running up and down Arthur's Seat, so I figured that the wise thing to do to prepare for the half marathon would be rest. Instead of heading to the pub for a dram (or two) of whisky like I so desired, I headed to the Omni Centre to take in a movie. Not having had access to a TV for the past 4 months means that I have absolutely no idea what is playing at the cinema. ("What do you mean that Black Swan is not still in theaters?") So I blindly chose to see Tomorrow, When the War Began. It's an Australian film about a group of teenagers who, while on a camping trip in the Outback, miss the start of World War 3. When they return to the homes, it is to find that a foreign army has invaded Australia and have rounded up the locals into concentration camps. The teens thus become refugees, alternating between trying to save their asses and launch guerilla-style warfare against the enemy. It was an interesting premise but never fully developed. The movie ends promptly when things begin to get interesting and has no resolution, leaving the viewer (or me at least) distinctly unsatisfied. Still, it killed a few hours on Saturday evening and prevented me from walking around unnecessarily or going back to the hostel at 4pm.
Sunday...The Edinburgh Half Marathon...coming soon!