I’m in Edinburgh. I haven’t been back to visit since 2008. Before that it was 2006 when I moved away. It’s strange being a place you’ve forgotten, yet is still a part of you. I thought that I’d have this big emotional moment coming back, walking the streets. But I didn’t. It’s just Edinburgh all over again. And yet its familiarity is sweet. I even still remember the exact paths I’d take from my supervisor’s office to the National Library and what shops I’d pop into along the way. And today, I went out of my way to retrace my steps again. I think there’s something lovingly ritualistic about that. And in the process it helps me to remember myself a bit more holistically, without idealising some past scholastic self, nor being so bogged down in the mundane details of mothering that I forget that part of me either.
It’s really quite an odd spot for me to be in — in another country without those people that consume my waking hours, without the schedule of young children to dictate my own. Freeing and yet, life feels a bit less complete as well. I’m pleased to know that I do still have thoughts in my brain, thankful for an encouraging PhD supervisor — another mother of children — who understands and yet does not excuse the ways in which I can use my mothering and indeed pregnancy as a prop on which to rest my procrastination.
It’s a beautiful story, come full circle, really. I feel rather torn — at once, I want to simply run back home, or not even get on a plane in the first place, while on the other hand, I crave ‘new’ and foreign and exciting, full of promise. I’m unsure how to reconcile those bits of myself — or if it’s possible to do so — and where and how and what that will lead me towards in life (professionally, locationally, etc). I’m thankful for my three years in Edinburgh and I’m thankful to be back now. And I try to not yearn for completion or an atlas for my future, though I’d love to know what I’ll end up doing and where it will all happen.
Wherever I am I hope for more adventures, more people to love, time to pause and wonder, and to get that ebb and flow intact: yearning for new, content with the everyday; energy for the new experiences and patience with routine; revitalization of faith that infuses the momentous and helps me appreciate the craziness of the moment.