Home Territory

So after about two official weeks of being back in the UK, I have to admit it is like I never left.  My first week I spent in Dundee, Scotland with my friend Caitlin who is from Washington but has been living in Scotland for the past 4-5 years.  We met on the YfC gap year and became friends through the program.  Caitlin and her flatmates were gracious to put up with me for the week and their hospitality was overwhelming.

The schedule was packed full of activities in the cold Scottish weather that graced our lives that week.  Seriously whenever my friends talked about the rain up in Scotland, I thought they were joking.  No, they were not.  It was like the rain came from the ground, sides, diagonally, and the sky.  Forget the umbrella!!  I heard a phrase “There is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing”  what a true statement.

The first day I slept till 1 pm, Nora would have been proud of me, I felt like a slob.  But after 24 plus hours of traveling I think my body deserved the rest.  It was nice just to sit and relax.  The next couple days we traveled to St. Andrews and Broughty Ferry.  Even if the weather is absolutely freezing there is never a bad time to treat yourself to icecream.  Sticky toffee pudding icecream that is.  Caitlin, Belle, and I ate our share of icecream at Jannettas in St. Andrews.  It was absolutely delicious.  We saw some historic sites like the Cathedral and Castle along the coastline.   Later that week we went and supported Caitlin’s flatmate who has graduated from Dundee as an art major.  We went to the degree show and saw everyone’s art pieces, and went to the degree show party afterwards.  That was quite  the experience in seeing the Dundee uni life.

Saturday and Sunday we visited Inverness and Edinburgh.  Inverness was spectacular!!!  We visited the Culloden fields in which the last land battle on UK soil took place.  It was between the Jacobites, who believed the Stuarts should have the rightful place at the throne, and the English government.  It was quite the bloody battle, and sadly the Jacobites lost while their leader escaped later on dressed up like a lady.  Many of the Highland clans were Jacobites so the markers showed where the clans had been buried.  Caitlin and I truly enjoyed the visit and tour.  She then showed me around Inverness since that was where she was placed on our YfC gap year.  We barely made it to our train home to Dundee, literally just stepped on and the train pulled out of the station.  On Sunday we headed to Edinburgh which is a stunning city in architecture.  We walked around quite a bit visiting Greyfriars Bobby, the Scotland National Museum, Edinburgh Castle, a park, various shops, hiked up hills and steps, and then rested at Starbucks.  I encourage anyone to make a trip to Edinburgh at some point.  Scotland is definitely on my list to visit again, especially since I did not get to see some of the friends that I had wanted to while I was there.

So then I traveled down to Long Eaton, and I actually teared up when my foot hit the pavement.  There was a part of me that was scared at one point that I may never get back there, just like Russia.  So stepping foot in the town that I have come to love so dearly was a special moment for me.  The best part was that three years not a lot has changed, or at least drastically changed.  Jenny and the kids came and picked me up, and we spent the week working on home schooling, gardening, going to the fields…and then we took a special trip to Keighley (Keethlee).  We drove up to Yorkshire and I was able to access Ancestry.co.uk in their library and find out about our family.  We were also able to look at maps from 1890’s-1911, a gravesite map, and then walked around looking at the street addresses I had listed.  It was surreal to know that a lot of the buildings that were still standing were the same that my family interacted in like the Bath houses, and even the mill houses, and mills.  We also grave hunted at St. Andrews parish which most of the family were married, dedicated, etc.  Ahhhh so cool!

The next stop was at Margarets which is now where I am stationed for a bit.  It has been lovely being officially home with her.  Though I am pretty sure she called me Teddy yesterday (her old yorkshire terrior)! Haha!!  Yesterday I spent the day walking around Long Eaton, going to the park and then grabbing a coffee and reading.  Margaret treated me to a lamb dinner, which I have missed so much!!  Yes, I know, it goes completely against my vegetarian tendencies…but I do love a good lamb chop every once in a while.  (which the last one I had was three years ago)

Right now I am on my way to London St. Pancras.  I missed my first train, and then missed that connecting train I needed to catch.  However, I jumped on the next train and will arrive to where I need to be 15 minutes later then what I had planned.  Keeping my life full of spice.  I am quite excited and I am hoping to see quite a bit once I get to Brighton, but I also am excited to see my friend for brunch.  It’s his birthday today!  Of course, I just looked at the weather…I probably should have brought an umbrella.  Oh well.  It’s been so sunny, don’t expect me to remember to check the weather when it has been so beautiful lately!

I truly am thankful to be back, it really is doing my heart wonders.

 I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.

~Maya Angelou