This Is(n’t) 30.

For the last year, I have been telling people that I am “nearly 30”.
This isn’t an exact lie, but next week I don’t turn 30, I turn 29.

I think a lot of people feel a sense of dread as they approach 30, but for years I have welcomed this new decade with my arms wide open. I’ve looked forward to the certainty, the assuredness, the many years of practice made perfect- or close enough.

When I turned 20, I had a life-altering existential crisis. I was “in my 20s”, which according to every TV show, film and adult aged 30 and above on this planet, was meant to be the greatest years of my life.

This put an immense amount of pressure on my shoulders. How was I to make the most of my next 10 years of life? I guess, according to the media it was drinking lots of wine and getting in and out of relationships and living a coming of age novel. And  guess, in a way, I did that. But on November 4th, 2009 it was like as if a massive stopwatch descended from the sky and sat on my shoulder, getting heavier by the second. Every day as the clock buzzed at midnight to let me know I’d lost a day and in that time had done very little of consequence.

For more than the first half of this decade of my life, that was how I lived. Watching the clock tick down endlessly. It paralyzed me. I spent so much time anxiety ridden about how to live out my life the only thing I accomplished was the very thing I didn’t want to do: nothing.

And yet, now, at the end of this plaguing decade, I can look back and see how incredibly untrue that is.
Under what I can now clearly see to have been a debilitating case of depression and anxiety, I graduated from college. It was a long, hard four years and I somehow came out of it alive. I navigated my way through and ill-prepped moved to New York City and eventually flourished. I continually found myself on the worse off side of broken relationships, but took only the things that made me stronger and wiser from them in the end. I watched my family fall apart without me and learned how to rebuild without the comfort of what I had always known. I left a job that was well paid, cushioned, reputable but an incredibly toxic, bullying, soul destroying environment that once I was free from I felt myself transform into a new woman.  I saw as much of the world as my budget would afford and lived out experiences that were too wonderful to have even dreamt- let alone come true. I met and married my husband, in the most magical, unexpected delight of life. And in a turn of events no one saw coming, moved across the ocean to live a new life in Scotland. And in the middle of these catalogued life events, there were so many small moments, little victories. Moments that can never be told in stories, that won’t ever be relived.

But at the time, in the days between, the long days with never-ending minutes, I saw none of this. I felt none of this. Just that clock counting down as the wasted years went by of this ethereal decade of life. And honestly, so much of it was wasted. So much. So many missed opportunities. So many nights in the dark, cocooned by self doubt, wrapped in mental disease. So many days feeling attacked by the sunshine
and its goodness when I was drowning in my own self pity and gloom.

So many of my “greatest” days were, by far, my very worst.
Like the rest of us, it appeared as if everyone else was doing better, doing more, doing something.  And I, it seemed wasn’t.
The world continually turned and I stayed perfectly still.

This lyric, from the Broadway musical, In The Heights went through my head on an almost daily basis:
Yeah, I’m a streetlight, chokin’ on the heat
The world spins around while I’m frozen to my seat
The people that I know all keep on rollin’ down the street
But every day is different so I’m switchin’ up the beat

but I couldn’t switch up my beat, not for a long, long time, but after a cocktail of catalysts that I couldn’t have planned, the fever broke just after I turned 26.

The clarity was astounding. The first moment of sobriety after years of a clouded mind. It was exhilarating, all consuming. The most gorgeous and pure air going into my lungs after 6 years of choking nearly to death. It was like I had absorbed all the knowledge I would ever need to know.

And I learned a secret that should have never been a secret.

Your 20s will most certainly be the greatest years of your life. But great does not mean wonderful. It does not mean perfect. It does not mean exciting. And this is what I, and I think many others have misunderstood.
Great means that they will stretch you beyond your limits. They will break and reset your bones so that they can regrow. It means terrible, cruel quite literal growing pains. Aches all over your soul, discomfort in every single unexplored part.

When I was 22, I took an unexpected trip to New York, the trip which lead me to moving there 6 months later. During my time there, I came across a quote while reading,
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are” – e e cummings

And that is was your 20s are. They are the courage to grow up and become who you really are. And that’s what mine were, and will be for one more year. This isn’t to say that by 30 I imagine to have the words of my life story neatly fitted between two lines. But to be honest, I wouldn’t be 20 again for anything. I wouldn’t re-live those years of self organization for anything.

But I also wouldn’t erase them. Because they gave me the power and the courage and the knowledge and the will to be myself. To become every single thing that I have become to be.
So here is to 29, and 30, and the rest of the decades. I’ve become who I really am, and it’s been the greatest years of my life getting there.

20 on the top left corner to 28 on the bottom right corner

A Reflection on a Life I Never Thought I’d Live.

When I was nearly 25, my backup to my backup plan was to “move abroad for a year or so and be an au pair.” I momentarily forgot that I hate change, don’t like to meet new people, are unaccustomed to “ethnic” tastes and foods, and desperately loved New York.
Life moved on and the backup to my backup plan was quickly forgotten.

And then, at nearly 27, I found myself getting used to the idea of moving abroad for potentially the rest of my life. To be frank, I made sure that my days were so full that I didn’t have a spare moment to think about all of the potential negatives of my very massive life choice. This wasn’t a semester abroad with your roommate- this was a lifetime abroad with your brand new husband.

So until my visa came through in early August, until it was actually real, I never once thought about what my life would be like. In my late teens and early twenties, I would spend hours and hours obsessing over my unknown future. Would I be successful? Would I be embarrass myself with my failure? Would I be a person of substance or never make it out of the four walls that surrounded me my whole life so far? It was a toxic way to live and to break free of that habit was one of the healthiest things I ever did for myself.

But, to counteract that, I stopped thinking about my future nearly altogether. Suddenly I couldn’t see past the next month or so. Who knew where life would take me- for better or worse- so why bother making arrangements for this.
When Craig came into my life, I quite literally did not know how to process what was happening. It was too much goodness, more than I had ever known. That part of my brain was so weak from being unused it just gave up altogether. I swam with the tide and let it carry me whichever was it wanted to as I grew tired. I let my life play out without enforcing any control.

I decided I would move to Scotland in the end of October 2017- about two and a half months after we met. Originally, I said I would rather die than leave New York, but its a fickle city & when I made the promise that I would move, I felt like it had nothing left to give me. My personal relationships with nearly everyone in my life felt at an all time low; it seemed that nearly everyone was moving on with their lives without a regard to me, and that it was high time I followed suit. What was left for me in America? At that point, it seemed absolutely nothing.

The months blurred as we got engaged and then married and then began filing paperwork for a visa. Nearly a year had gone by since we met and I hadn’t stopped moving, not once. Whenever I was asked if I was nervous to move to Scotland for the rest of my life (which was almost daily), I would laugh it off.
I hadn’t the time to feel nervous. I hadn’t the time to feel a lot of things. I didn’t want to think about any of the negatives. I couldn’t let myself get scared. I couldn’t let myself back out.

But there was so much to consider; what sort of job I would do, how I would make friends, how I would fit in with my in-law family, the potential loneliness of knowing so few people in a new country, the difficulty learning how to be properly married and not with an ocean between us, homesickness, missing my friends and family and the delicate and meticulous beauty of New York that I wouldn’t find anywhere else, pining for the little unnamed familiarities of life that go unnoticed until you realize they aren’t there anymore, learning a new culture, learning how to fit in in a new culture – the list was endless.

The winter was cold and cruel. It seemed that everything I hadn’t thought about became everything I only thought about. I avoided all phone calls and communication, a text message was the most I could seem to do. The pressure to keep in touch, to not be forgotten, made me want to never come out from under the covers.

For a girl who doesn’t like change, who is slow to adapt, it was just too much to handle.

And being married, it turns out, is hard. Being married to a person that you had never spent more than a few weeks with at a time, I think, is even harder. I’ve often heard people say that marriage takes a hell of a lot more than love, and I know that to be true now more than ever. But winter never lasts forever, and the shock of so much newness at once fell away. The frustrations and miscommunications turned into afternoons bubbling over in laughter and long drives out in the countryside when we wanted to escape from life for a bit and just be together.

Slowly, we created the routine we so desperately needed to find our way through life as a functioning married couple who worked in tandem and not as opposing sides.
Quietly, I got to know Edinburgh and little by little found things that are so lovely and dear about it.
Minutely, I began to make new friends and become reacquainted with the ones I had neglected for months.
I opened up my often closed away heart and let some of this city’s goodness pour into it.

The trees blossomed under the sun and so did I.
I still feel like a stranger in a strange land most days, and I will always miss the land that I came from, but there are moments here where I finally feel at home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We promise each other it’s till the end.

*disclaimer that this post is NOT directed toward any particular person, the photo used is because it makes me nostalgic and is one of my all time favorites

I’m sorry that I am not your friend.

Somewhere in between you getting married and me getting married, or you having a kid and me moving an ocean away, or you busting your ass in grad school and me becoming more introverted with each passing day, I just don’t feel like your friend anymore.

I know that we all knew this would happen, that the moments we shared we knew were precious and fleeting. Lately I find myself clinging to memories I had all but forgotten even existed. I miss our long phone conversations and our road trips, I miss not counting calories as we ate all the ice cream we could find together. I miss the movie nights and the life talks. I miss having you there every step of the way, because for so many of life’s steps, you were there as if it were second nature. I just miss you.

These friendships are everything that made me who I am, and now, without them, I feel almost without myself.

And now that it has been nearly a year, I’m sorry to say that I don’t know how to be your friend anymore.
I’ve missed your weddings, and I’ll miss more. I haven’t met your kids, I didn’t go to your birthday party. I had no idea you were promoted & I wasn’t there to talk you through that breakup. I just don’t know anything about you, and you don’t know anything about me.
Some of these things probably would have happened anyway, because that is adulthood- that’s life.
But from over here, the guilt I feel is amplified by a thousand.

How can I be your friend, how can I support you, how can I be involved at all… when I couldn’t even say when will be the next time we will see each other?
I try to be as text and internet active as my brain will allow before becoming totally overwhelmed, and I can blame the time difference (5 hours for EST) as to why I don’t call.
My job, as always, forces me to be swarmed by people. It’s hard and exhausting. As people hear my accent, they ask me about home. They ask me what I miss the most, do I see my friends and family often? Has anyone come to visit me yet? Do I get to visit often?

There are only so many times that you can have the same conversations about, “Of-Course-I’m-Homesick-But-Edinburgh-Is-Great”, before it starts to really stick to the roof of your mouth and won’t come off no matter how hard you try.

When you talk about something every day, it stays relevant, never able to fade to the back of my mind. It would make anyone feel lonely, telling the same bare bones story of your life over and over. It is a constant reminder that while I am happy to be here, I will always be sad not to be there.

And so after a day full of people, a day full of questions about my life back home, it is too much for me to pick up the phone and have a casual conversation about life. Because as you tell me about life, all I can think of is that I am not there to experience it like I once was. That we won’t spend hours shopping only to buy absolutely nothing. That we won’t watch the same movie for the one thousandth time. That we won’t be together for the hard things life throws our way.
And the days have turned into weeks and months and now almost a year.
And now I have missed so much that where do we even begin?

So I don’t call.
And if I am going to be honest, you don’t call either.
And it isn’t really anyone’s fault.
We almost all have husbands, some have kids, we have demanding jobs and hobbies and friends in real life, who are tangible and not far away. The far away friends get left behind, not because it is personal, because it is just what happens. And there are so many of you with whom I slowly lost contact with before I moved. How could I hope to restore it now?

Sometimes I tell myself I will call a friend a day. And then I remember I have to wait for your workday to end. And your workday ends when I am finishing dinner, and I am tired and worn thin and don’t want to catch up on what we have missed in year.And the day passes and this continues. For a year.

And I think it will continue into this second year. And I don’t see it ending anytime soon
But I love you. And I miss you. And I know I don’t talk to you but I always think of you.

I want to be your friend, but I just don’t know how to anymore.

Land That I Love(d)

I love(d) America. I really, really do. Patriotic songs make me cry and I used to celebrate July 4th like it was Christmas. I also used to say things like, “If you don’t stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them”, genuinely believed that racism didn’t exist anymore, and didn’t understand why people didn’t trust the police or elected officials. I trusted that the government always did whats right for the people and that laws were made to keep us safe.
Maybe you still believe these things.
I do not.  And once you have seen the truth, you can no longer live your life as if you were still blind.
I see a country that is falling apart. Whatever America was meant to be, surely it was not this.
I have hope and I have faith, in not the country itself or any of its leaders, but in the people in the shadows. The people who are working themselves to the bone for marginalized groups across America. The ordinary people who can not longer stand the racism, the homophobia, the misogyny, the transphobia, the rape culture, (the list is endless), and so they run for local office. Or they start a charity. Or they lead a protest. Or they just start to change their ways by learning about those around them and looking deep within themselves to try to be the best version of themselves.

America has always been a country of fighters. We began as a fight for independence from the British. We fought for end of slavery (albeit a correction of our own sin), we fought for the women’s right to vote, we fought for equal rights for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, culminating in the right for them to marry only a few years ago. We are fighting against guns, against discrimination. We are fighting for basic human rights for those seeking refuge and asylum in the country that called itself the Land of Opportunities, we are fighting for Black Lives, we are fighting for women’s health and reproductive rights. We are fighting, we are fighting, we are fighting.
Some fights we win, some we lose, but we are fighting.

Not all of us are fighting, there are those we fight against. Sometimes they aren’t tangible people, but Government policies, institutions, and “fake news”. And sometimes they are your neighbors, who think that someone has a right to point and shoot a firearm when they feel scared at the sight of a young black boy in a hoodie. Sometimes they sit next to you at church, and say a prayer of thanks to God that the government is rounding up all of the “illegals” who they feel are threatening their job as a HR manager at a small insurance company. Sometimes they are a family member when your out to dinner who can’t understand why calling the 19 year old waitress “sweetheart”, touching her arm, and winking at her as they say something like, “now give us a smile and you might get a little extra in your tip tonight”, is utterly inappropriate.
Sometimes the fights are big, they overturn laws and are written in history books.
Sometimes they are small, they are personal, they are painful – and they are the most important.

I am so proud of the people who don’t give up when it would be so incredibly easy to do so. These people are the future, they are the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness our country was founded upon. They are the American Dream. If you are one of these people, I cannot tell you how my heart overflows when I think of you, when I see the good work that you do, when I see you fight over and over, again and again, if only to gain one inch of ground. You will change the world.

 

The End of the Re-Invention

There’s the trope in movies where the main character thinks, or even says, something about wishing that they could move someplace where no one knew them so they could be anyone they wanted.

I’ve done this a few times in my life, and, spoiler alert, you’re pretty much yourself everywhere you go. It is almost too much mental pressure to “re-invent” yourself while simultaneously living in an unconscious survival mode learning all of your basic needs.
Taking away all of your comforts in life and replacing them with the scary unknown is both exhilarating and terrifying. It can be described as a “sink or swim” situation, but I don’t know why floating isn’t a viable option.
To sink is to fail. To swim is to succeed. To float is to stay alive, and when that is all you can do that is beyond enough. Eventually, after being in the water all that time, you figure out how to doggy paddle, and then maybe you’ll learn how to swim.

Every time I find myself in one of these situations, I know the sort of girl that I intend to become. I want to be friendly, chat easily with people I don’t know and build firm relationships. I want to be invested in a career that I am proud to humblebrag about. I want to be smart and social, I want to be adventurous, I want to try new things and live in the moment. I want to be someone that I would look at and feel inspired by.

And yet, in the last 10 years I can think of 4-5 “reinvention” opportunities that I have had, and each time I learned more and more one singular truth.

You are yourself.

I am none of those things that I want to be. I still find conversation with people I am not close with to be inhibiting. Instead of choosing adventure (most days), I convince myself that  doing the dishes and washing my hair are sensible reasons to stay home on a sunny day. Some things, with age, are getting better. Some are getting worse.

I find that I am more confident in myself as a person, which certainly used to be on that list. I also find, which I can’t decide if it is good or bad, that I am less and less bothered by the inactivity of my life and the consistency of that. Am I challenging myself less and becoming even more complacent, or am I just settling into my skin and finding peace within myself?

I find that “re-inventing” yourself is mostly outward. For me, it was every time I hastily cut my bangs. Or when I was adamant on having a blonde streak (or blonde hair!) Or one of my tattoos. Or wearing shoes that aren’t the most sensible but make me feel quite literally, like a new woman. It might be things like getting into a new fitness routine (something I am desperate to start doing) or a new eating plan (something I AM doing, but not perfectly) but even these things change your body, which is an outward reinvention still.

How do you “re-invent” something that already exists. You can modify it, you can try a different approach… but it is already there, existing. You will always be your core self.
I am turning 29 this year, which means I am turning 30 next year, which means I am going to be 40… someday. (I couldn’t resist it, sorry guys.)
I feel positive about this fast approaching chapter, but I also feel that because of it’s significance, there is some, (a lot of), pressure to be the person we all thought we’d be by the time we turned 30.
I feel the “re-inventing” pressure bubble up inside of me. I am keen on the idea of a “30 before 30” list, but what is so important that it has to be accomplished BEFORE I am 30. I’ve toyed with the idea of a marathon, and maybe another big trip somewhere. But why do these things have to happen before I turn 30? Surely there is life after 30 (she said sardonically), and I can do anything that I want to do.

The first thing on my 30 before 30 list is going to be a strong halt when it comes to thinking I need a “re-invention”. The amount of mental and emotional toil needed to just get by in life sometimes is enough to qualify anyone for a daily 3 hour nap. Why put the added stress on yourself. Why do we always have to swim and why is sinking the only other option. When I think about my 20s, I think I spent a lot of time sinking, and then I learned how to swim, and now I am floating.
Everything in my life is new.
My country is new, my home is new, my job is new, my husband is new, my friends are new, my city is new. The food I eat is new, my daily routine is new, the words people use around me are new, the shows I watch on TV are new.
I feel so much pressure (from no one but myself), to swim. Not only to surpass the freestyle, but then move in to the backstroke and then the butterfly.  And maybe, by the time I am 30, I’ll be well on my way to doing that.

But for now, I am floating, with the occasional doggy paddle. Which, in my eyes, is a victory over sinking.
There isn’t going to be anymore “re-invention”, not when I turn 29, or 30, or 40.
I am myself, with good and bad bits that can’t be helped.
Can I modify myself by taking a trip somewhere new and exciting? Or by learning how to be a master chef or a fitness guru? Honestly, I probably won’t do any of these things, but I certainly can dream.

But I am not “re-inventing” myself, not anymore.

Me, Too.

Me too
You too
Us too
Them too
Her too

And sometimes, him too.

 

It’s everywhere and all the time. It is so deep and ingrained that we carry it like rocks in our shoes, everywhere we go. You step on it again and again, and it kind of hurts but doing something about it takes effort. So you mostly just live with it. Finally, you sit down and shake your shoe out. You feel good, you walk faster now.

And then another appears.
You repeat this cycle over and over. Sometimes the rock causes blisters and cuts and bruises and they take a while to heal. If rocks keep getting in your shoe, it seems like the wounds never really heal.

I can talk about it and you can talk about it, and we can talk and type and tweet until there’s no new repetition of words to say.

I won’t fix it, you probably won’t fix it.
The president won’t fix it. The pope won’t fix it. The cops won’t fix it.

Occasionally someone at some college tries to fix it, but then some football players put bigger rocks in shoes. Politicians try to fix it, and other politicians take out the rocks that were previously in shoes and put boulders in instead.

We can speak up and speak out but it only matters if those who are the rock placers are listening and care and want to not be rock placers. And I’ve never met a rock placer who cares enough to stop placing rocks in people’s shoes.

Usually, rock placers usually don’t know they’re placing rocks. Because the rock is a joke that everyone takes too seriously, and if we could all stop being  femi-nazis and “lighten the fuck up” or “chill” the rocks wouldn’t even exist. Because the rock is a well meaning prank, or something that no one expected to get so out of hand. The rock placer is sometimes a scary person in the bushes waiting at the end of a dark alley, but usually, that isn’t the case.

And sometimes, those who talk about how shitty it is to have a rock in your shoe the loudest turn around and do something incredibly similar to what a rock placer would do.

I hate, and I mean hate having a rock in my shoe. I do whatever I can to avoid it, and almost always cause a big ol’ scene when trying to remove it. But sometimes I am tired, so when the rock is really small, I just sigh and keep walking. I’ll forget about it after a while.

I will admit that when I was a young teenager, I kind of liked rocks in my shoes. Not big ones, but little ones in the forms of whistles and winks and overly suggestive topics of conversation when there was a more than 3 year age difference. It is hard to explain why, but the simplest way to describe it is that I didn’t know any sort of world where girls shouldn’t like rocks in their shoes, just the little ones of course. Sure, the big ones were really bad, but the little ones meant that he liked you, and I wanted him to like me. So I liked the little rocks.

And then, by the time I was about 17, I started not to like them. Because I learned that they never stayed little and they always got bigger and they only led to blisters and other shitty things. And then by the time I was 19 or 20, I learned some new words like rape culture and feminism and the internet started to become what it is today and I started to read and learn that rocks in your shoes weren’t the way to figure out if someone likes you.

And then I wasn’t having it any-fucking-more.

I start to yell back at people on the street to defend myself, my friends, and people I don’t know. It felt so good. I was kicking rocks out of my shoes as soon as they got there. Sometimes they’d sneak in and I wouldn’t notice for a while, I would try to convince myself that they weren’t really there, that the person I had gotten to know wouldn’t put a rock in my shoe. They must know how annoying and uncomfortable they are. But they didn’t, and I would, in time, shake those rocks out too.

Somewhere in the last year, I started feeling too tired to shake out rocks. I would still do it, because they were still incredibly frustrating, but it seemed that within a minute of doing so, another one was quite literally underfoot.  And the internet grew and grew and every day we wake up with stories of rock placers and I read the comments of the same tired story, “If you didn’t want to get rocks in your shoes, you should’ve worn proper footwear.” Or, “If you didn’t want to get rocks in your shoes, you should’ve walked down a different street.” It never seems to end.

I read these every day, and then I hide under my blanket because I don’t think it will ever  end. I don’t think we will ever have a society where people can walk around without rocks in their shoes.
I feel absurdly blessed that I have only had little pebbles in my shoes. I’ve never had big jagged rocks that caused scars, I’ve never lost my footing because of them. Just a hell of a lot of frustration and inconvenience. But I think of all of the people who can hardly walk now because of it and it makes me angry and sad and mostly tired.

It’s been over a decade now since I first emptied my shoes. I know I’ll spend the rest of my life doing it. If I have daughters I will have to teach them how to empty their shoes. If I have sons, I will teach them not to place a rock in someone’s shoe, ever.

Wear thick socks, my friends, it is going to be a long journey.

 

Far From the Home I Love

“How can I hope to make you understand
Why I do what I do,
Why I must travel to a distant land,
Far from the home I love.”

My dad introduced me to Fiddler on the Roof when I was about 13. I didn’t want to watch a long old movie and whined, but about an hour and a half in he fell asleep and I fell in love. Fiddler is everything to me.
If you don’t know the show, I strongly encourage you to spend some time falling in love with it as well.
The show is set in the beginning of the 20th century in a small Jewish town in Russia. It follows Tevye and his family, specifically three of his daughters. In this scene we see Hodel, the second eldest daughter, about to leave Russia to join her husband-to-be, Perchik, in Siberia where he has been banished.
At the start of the song, “Far From the Home I Love“, Hodel’s father, Tevye asks her, “He asked you to leave your father and mother and join him in that frozen wasteland and marry him there?”
And Hodel responds,  “No Papa, he did not asked me to go, I want to go.”

Once I was happily content to be
As I was, where I was,
Close to the people who are close to me,
Here in the home I love.

There is never enough time when you know there is a goodbye lurking.
Even when Craig and I know we will see each other in a few weeks we still sob like we’ll never see each other again at the airport, it always feels so sudden, no matter how prepared we think that we are .
I told my family in November that I was leaving to go to Scotland, so even though we were mentally prepared, can you ever be? I joked to my parents that it was just like college, when we said goodbye a decade ago and they left me in an empty dorm with lots of gigantic plastic tubs.
But this isn’t college. This is real life.
It is especially hard to say goodbye when you don’t know when the next hello will be. What words do you say to people who loved you, cared for you, wept with you, rejoiced with you, and hoped for you more than they hoped for themselves. There really aren’t any. I can say “thank you” and “I love you” until the words become stale and I can hug until my arms go numb, but there is no way to ever repay such love that I have been given again and again for nearly 28 years.

Who could see that a man could come
Who would change the shape of his dreams.
Helpless now I stand with him,
Watching older dreams grow dim.

When discussing the move with my friends and family, we glossed over the sadness of leaving and focused on the joyful reason WHY I am leaving. I almost forget sometimes, that I am leaving to finally, FINALLY, spend more than just a few weeks with the person I swore to spend my life with. It is surreal, it doesn’t feel like this is THE move, more like it is just a visit for a few weeks until we cry at the airport and I go back. So instead of discussing when we might see each other again, we discussed wedding plans and potential job opportunities and things Craig has planned for the two of us (he wants us to have a “proper American Thanksgiving” isn’t he just the most precious?!).
And when we talk about those things, I forget that I have to say goodbye to the entire village of people who collectively raised me. I consistently feel so in awe of all of these people who have given me food and shelter and advice and bits of their souls in exchange for mine. I think about old friends who have been there for as long as I can remember, I think about new friends and how wonderful it would have been to be able to continue to grow in that friendship.
And then I think of my husband, and I think of how sweet and sleepy he looks when I wake him up too early in the morning. And I think about the earnest look in his face when he tells me how much he loves me. I think about the day we got married, knowing he’d leave eleven days later. I think about all of the sacrifices we have both made for this relationship to even have a chance at working. And so I pack my bags, to go be with him.

Oh, what a melancholy choice this is,
Wanting home, wanting him,
Closing my heart to ev’ry hope but his,
Leaving the home I love,

A darling friend of mine, when I told her I was struggling with the sadness of leaving, said something so simple but perfect.
“You’re sad because you are currently leaving. But how happy will you be once you’ve arrived.”

And that is the best way I can describe how I feel as I eat french fries in the Philadelphia airport.
I get to live in a beautiful country, with the most beautiful ginger husband a girl could ask for. I get to reinvent my whole life, see the world, and be a brand new person. It is so exciting and wonderful my heart could burst. And in about 12 hours I will have landed and take a deep breath of Scottish air and get started on a new life.

There where my heart has settled long ago
I must go, I must go
Who could imagine I’d be wand’ring so
Far from the home I love
Yet there with my love, I’m home.