A long time, in fact almost four seasons since I hung out on my blog. I’ve been busy journeying again, 500 miles North but we still cling to the West Coast. We found ourselves in Argyll, Scotland and have been reestablishing roots and planting seeds for new roots to grow. Literally and philosophically. I’ll write more about the real seeds soon but let’s say I’m pretty proud that the first homegrown salad is starting to sprout already. I am now a grower, it’s official! We also had flowers in the garden in January. Yes, Scottish winter produced flowers. I was also confused.
Actually, we have found ourselves regularly feeling a little like aliens in a new land for many reasons and more than once a bit confused! This is Scotland, I know Scotland, I was born here, right? Although there are often sounds, smells and humorous happenings that are reminiscent of the Scotland I grew up in, this is most definitely a very new experience. We are in Wild Argyll, it’s wild indeed, but simultaneously more peaceful than anything I can ever remember. A daily contrast which has not yet ceased to amaze.
My partner on this journey was busy trying out his new midge hat (I’ve not seen him in it since) and unpacking our van when a group of local kids got curious and came to call on the Little Browns. The first seeds of friendship come easily to children.
The first smiles and hands of friendship were not too far behind in the adult world and for that I’m thankful. The delivery of a delicious fresh stuffed crab pulled from Loch Fyne a few hours before will forever make me smile. As will the first ferry trip to a local event across the loch; I now conclude that every child in the village was on board! Scotland is synonymous with hospitality in my mind and I have not yet been disappointed. Moving is not easy. I am possibly still grieving the daily abundance of friendly greetings which used to pave our pathway as we walked to school. I still miss those who I’ve come to know as sisters (and brothers) and I’m ridiculously thankful for Easy-jet and Skype.
I often reflect on the feelings which accompany the resettlement process when I think of my World Cafe friends in Gloucester; many of whom do not have the privilege of the native tongue or a van full of familiar belongings. The fact that it was our definite choice to make a life-changing move, is one for which we are unspeakably grateful. Choice is perhaps the pinnacle of freedom. It certainly makes it easier to treat all the ‘newness hurdles’ as positives. I particularly wonder how my mothering friends who have arrived in a new land, carrying the vulnerability and hurt of experiences of war or worse, can be urged to remember the importance of looking up and smiling when dropping off children at the gate of an unknown school for the first time? That, on top of the massive newness hurdles they face, they should remember to wear their best face on such occasions. Never underestimate the difference a friendly smile in a playground, or even an invite for a cup of tea, can make to someone who is ‘new’. Tea seems to work everywhere (see earlier blog on topic) and I’m glad it can be that simple. Well done Argyll. Thanks! It’s good to be here.