On September 12th it will be my six year anniversary of arriving in the UK – cat in tow.
Imagine it’s a warm (80 degrees F) day in Illinois. Your older brother is driving you to the airport with your cat .. when the car overheats while in a traffic jam – so you need to turn the heating on to cool ‘er down. After managing to find the cargo part of the airport you drop him off (with paperwork), get an early dinner, and say goodbye to the only life you’ve known. A life with two brothers, two parents, a mess of animals, and friends you’ve known since you were little.
Then you get on a plane and don’t look back. You arrive in Heathrow (I hate Heathrow) and your new husband (of less than a month!) meets you. The two of you pick up your cat – and a new friend getting her cats – and make your way home to Scotland. To a house in the seaside town of St Andrews. Where it is a freezing 10 degrees C.
Six years later you and your husband live with his parents, are paying down your student loans, and saving up a deposit for your own flat in Edinburgh. The cat of 3 is now 9 and just as beautiful as the day he was born. (More, probably, as he looked like a gray rat…)
Everything is different now. Yet still the same. I miss my brothers constantly and can’t wait to see them on my next visit home. And I still say home. Even being in Scotland for 6 years doesn’t mean I consider this my home. It’s home but .. not mine. I’m not sure that makes sense – I know it’s where I am, and have been, for years. But I still yearn for a life where I know how everything works. Who all my neighbours are. The social etiquette.
Living abroad is an adventure. One I’m not ready to give up quite yet.