I realize I’m way behind on writing about the road trip. I didn’t have much access to the Internet for a month, couldn’t upload photos: excuses, excuses. I still intend to catch up, if for no other reason than for memories. In the meantime, Dan and I have moved to another country! That seems blog-worthy.
Our visa was delayed so we got to Scotland almost two weeks later than we’d planned. The idea was, stay in an AirBnB for a week while we find a place of our own, preferably a furnished flat near the University. Instead, we got a last-minute flight thanks to the generosity of Dan’s parents and their airline miles, and I booked us into a hotel for two nights and figured we’d sort everything out once we got there.
Dan had an extra unlocked cell phone since the kind stranger returned the one he’d left on top of Cadillac Mountain, and we got him a UK SIM card so at least one of us had a local phone number. Our first priority was to find ourselves a flat, which proved more difficult than I had expected. We had been in communication with a few letting agencies, and had asked if we could submit anything ahead of time to expedite the approval process, only to be told we’d have to wait till we got here. One company even told us they wouldn’t rent to anyone without three months of UK rental history.
We stayed a week out in the hamlet of Milngavie, home to one terminus of the West Highland Way, and on a rain-free day we took a walk out to the ruins of Mugdock Castle. We got familiar with ScotRail and took a day trip to Edinburgh, walking up Arthur’s Seat. After our B&B reservation ended, friends of mine from when I lived here fifteen years ago generously opened their home to us for a few days while the wire transfer to our chosen leasing company finalized.
We found a little cottage flat, tucked against a refurbished golf course in Maryhill, a working-class former burgh with a rough reputation. By all accounts, High Ruchill, our little division of cottages up a steep hill from the main Maryhill Road, escaped the general notoriety of the neighborhood. To me, it feels quiet and residential, free from the crowded streets you find elsewhere in the city.
Dan’s started classes, I had a job interview this week that seems to have gone well, and we’re settling in slowly but surely. This move has been more difficult for me than I anticipated. I still don’t have my own phone and we don’t have internet in our flat, because both of those are tied to bank accounts here and we couldn’t open a bank account until we had specific paperwork from our leasing company. Everything takes a little longer than I anticipated it would, which frustrates me. It’s isolating, moving to another country with very little in the way of a support system. To be fair, I think I’d struggle to rejoin any society after living on the road and having as much freedom and time in the wilderness as we enjoyed!
My intentions in sharing my difficulties here isn’t to worry anyone (ahem, family), but to be honest about situations with which I’ve struggled. Our funky cottage flat is growing on me and we’re outfitting it with furniture with personality from charity shops as well as the usual Ikea bits. I have a trial shift tomorrow following the job interview earlier this week, which if successful should alleviate many of my stresses. Dan’s meeting people in his classes and attending plays already. I naturally second-guess virtually everything, but I think ultimately I’ll be happy we made this move.