Posts in: Expat

Homesick.

Over the past two days I’ve had three different conversations about my life in Scotland. By the time I got in my car to drive home, I was deeply homesick for it, mostly the friends and coworkers I miss, but also mundane bits like Christmas Eve in Waitrose, random herds of curious horses, learning how to ride the bus in a foreign land, and frost-covered moss. I was thinking of that moss when I encountered the frost-dusted leaf in this photo.

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Day 247 of Project 365: Missing Scotland.

The heatwave dissipated quickly, leaving behind the merest hint of autumn in the air. A few rainy days in a row were enough to wrangle me into heartier outerwear, and as I attempted to shove a wee bag of blueberries into one of my jacket pockets, my fingers caught on a couple of pieces of paper. I drew them out and smiled. Two tickets from Lothian Buses, dated last December.

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Day 99 of Project 365: At the post office.

The woman in line in front of me at the post office told me that she couldn’t put the Ray Charles stamps on her letters home to Tennessee. She told me to look out for the Jimi Hendrix stamps, and I was glad she did because I hadn’t seen them and they’re beautiful. The woman in line in front of me at the post office kept chatting with me while she was buying stamps, and then thanked me for chatting with her before she left.

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Day 38 of Project 365: Choice paralysis.

I thought I had prepared myself for possible points of reverse culture shock. Then I wandered into the candy aisle of our local Walgreens, pictured bottom-right in today’s photo. All I wanted was a pack of mints. There were so many different mints to choose from, and they were right next to a million candy bars, some of which I hadn’t even heard of before. We’ve only been gone for four years!

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Day 30 of Project 365: Waiting for the N.

[caption id=“attachment_91954” align=“aligncenter” width=“687”]Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset[/caption] “It’s getting real” is a phrase I unabashedly love. I love it because it’s fun to say and because it indicates a transition from unreality. This unreality is exactly what I have been experiencing in the beautiful enclave of Marin County, reinforced by the fact that I am dependent on others to get in and out of it. It got real tonight when I took the bus over the bridge, then another bus, and ended up at 19th and Judah, waiting for the N.

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Day 26 of Project 365: Soft landing.

[caption id=“attachment_91932” align=“aligncenter” width=“687”]Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset[/caption] First things first: Zen is safely with us. When I posted yesterday’s photo, I was pretty worked up about Zen being stranded in Newark, but I knew that I wouldn’t be of any use if I didn’t try to get some sleep until the morning. I had barely drifted off when the landline rang. FunkyPlaid jumped up to answer it. The caller was someone asking if we were going to pick up our kennel (their word) or if they should send it via the delivery service.

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Day 25 of Project 365: Customs and welcomes.

[caption id=“attachment_91927” align=“aligncenter” width=“687”]Processed with VSCOcam with t2 preset[/caption] I’m not going to bury the lede: Zen is stuck in Newark due to Storm Jonas. I’m distraught both by the circumstances out of our control and by the lack of appropriate action taken by our pet transport company. But with any luck she will be with us in less than twelve hours, so I am resolved to stay positive. The past twenty-four hours has contained nearly all of the standard range of emotions and some of the limited-edition ones I collected by saving cereal box tops.

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Day 24 of Project 365: The way home.

[caption id=“attachment_91922” align=“aligncenter” width=“687”]Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset[/caption] A few weeks after moving here, I kept asking FunkyPlaid what that big group of buildings looming over the city was. Half a year after moving here, I had finally figured out what it was. A couple of years later, befuddled tourists started asking me how to get to the castle. Me! I could hardly believe it. I must have looked like I knew where I was going, but the truth is that the only place I knew how to get to without thinking and without checking on the blue dot on my phone was home.

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Day 22 of Project 365: Afloat on an empty sea.

[caption id=“attachment_91904” align=“aligncenter” width=“687”]Processed with VSCOcam with t3 preset[/caption] The bed is a borrowed raft, adrift in the empty flat. FunkyPlaid and Zen and I are left, cosy and drowsy in each other’s company. Strange how it even smells emptier. I am thinking of the other leave-taking in this matched set, and how melancholy I felt. This way feels bittersweet as well, for all we are leaving behind, but there is undeniable relief woven through it: we accomplished what we set out to do.

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Day 21 of Project 365: Dark Tower.

Pictured is not Dark Tower, the awesome electronic board game I loved as a child, but rather The Black Tower, the delicious dessert at local Thai place Passorn. But now that Dark Tower was mentioned at dinner, I cannot get it out of my head. Nostalgia is dangerous. It can seduce us with claims of an unblemished past, suggesting that a portal to this past is within our grasp. But I know – as we discussed over dinner – that the experience of playing Dark Tower now is not the same as the memory of playing it thirty-five years ago.

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An IndieWeb Webring 🕸💍

I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.

♾️