Posted on | July 5, 2012 | No Comments
Home. Near home. Very, very far from home. So…. which one is it?
I’m in Edinburgh. This is my deemed home since the place my mum and dad live, I only lived for a year before going to Uni. And so Edinburgh, where Uni was, became home. There was also the not unimportant factor that it felt more like home to me than any other place had. I remember getting a bus through to the city one snowy January day – this was to suss out whether or not I wanted to take a place at Uni here – and I fell in love with it. Who wouldn’t? The stone buildings, the steep stairwells, the cobbled streets, the fabbo Georgian squares and streets over in ‘New Town’, where the posh (mostly English) students lived.
Home-where-my-parents-live is not far away, about an hour and a half up the road. So there’s that ‘home’ too.
And then there’s Tucson, which I do refer to as home.
All of which proves my feeling of displacement. I don’t really belong anywhere, do I? An ex-pat Scot living in the Southwestern U.S. desert, who fled Scotland at the age of 22 to move to London. Really, I don’t belong. And that feeling is much stronger when I return to Scotland. It reinforces my feeling of no-man’s-land-dom, of being neither staunchly Scottish (I’m notoriously rubbish about its history and geography and culture) and not a bit American. So there it is.
What I do know is it feels good and safe. Plop me with my pals from here, sit me down in their homes with a cuppa or glass of wine (or both) and we pick up where we left off and a wave of happiness sweeps over me. I’m glad and settled and they get me and life is good – even if it is drizzling outside. (Yeh, whatup with the damp weather? Someone said to me the other day ‘You’ll have to come back in the summer next time’. Oh ha ha. It was the 2nd of July.)
My friends here in Edinburgh have just bought themselves a huge, gorgeous house, the sort of manorly place only Edinburgh can have: wide, sweeping staircase, massively high ceilings, vast square rooms and lots of ‘em: two living rooms, two kitchen areas, three bathrooms, six bedrooms at the last count. I did lost count, somewhere around the second floor around the converted attic.
These are seasoned DIY-ers. When I first met them, in London, they’d purchased a Brixton squat which they fixed up nice and sold for a very large amount. Then they bought a 3-storey house they did the same thing with. Going round to either house was always interesting: rubble, wood, new doors leaning against walls, old doors lying out the back, dangerous gaps in the floor, open plumbing. Yet they managed to have three kids (two right there in the homes… the last one was pushed out in a birthing pool in a cleaned-out corner of a room with candles… they hurriedly scrubbed out a space in prep for the birth, having moved in just days before.) I’m surprised the kids all survived without critical injury. Anyhoo, after renting here in Edinburgh for many years, and having time off from hard manual labour, they’re at it again. And we are stumbling over bits and pieces, and pulling the odd piece of wallpaper off whilst we chat and glug wine.
I think, I’m pretty sure, Edinburgh is home, actually. I would like to end up here. I can see myself as an old lady in a smart little flat in the New Town, happy with shops, cinema and theatre on hand, and indulging in cups of tea at cafes and bags of sweets at night in front of the telly, not caring about the drizzle and cold because I’d be cosy. Yup, that’s sorted then.