Monday, August 22, 2011

Last Word: Home

Interestingly, the place where I usually get my etymologies only offers this sense of home: O.E. ham "dwelling, house, estate, village." In that sense, anywhere I have a roof over my head is home. The OED (the word-lover's bible) captures exactly the sense I was looking for: 

"The place of one's dwelling or nurturing, with the conditions, circumstances, and feelings which naturally and properly attach to it, and are associated with it."

The part I like is "feelings which naturally and properly attach to it." You don't force your feelings on a place and you can't create feelings about somewhere. They naturally form, and it's only after you've been somewhere a while or when can pull yourself outside of your surroundings that you realize certain feelings have formed. It's strange that the writer of the definition would include the word "proper." They felt it important to emphasize that no matter what the feelings are, they are not wrong. They are right and proper feelings.

Getting attached to Edinburgh and Scotland does have a lot to do with the city-scape and countryside and looking out my window at castle everyday. But, really, I didn't realize how much home was attached to the people I've gotten to know until two of my best friends moved 2 1/2 hours up north. It really signified the beginning of the end. Sharing experiences is part of what makes a life. I've been so fortunate to have friends and family visit so at least when Alex and I reminisce, some of them will know what we are talking about.

It's really strange assessing the length of a year at this point (*starts singing "525,600 minutes....."* not really though). I remember when we had such an ordeal getting our internet and banking set up last September. We didn't even have a phone yet. Oddly, those things do make you feel like you belong once you have them. It's weird to think there was a point when we didn't have them. Things have also changed around town. Scaffolding goes up. Scaffolding comes down. Buildings get finished. Mosque Kitchen is now a legitimate restaurant protected from the elements!

But there's so much we've missed in GR too: a new nephew, Sarah and Mike's and Dylan and Hannah's engagements, many weddings, friends moving away... When I talk about GR and when I talk about Edinburgh, I refer to both of them as "home." And they are both home in the OED's sense of the word too. Unless you've lived in another place, you don't understand how two places can be home. It's especially strange here because it's even two different cultures. I like it though. I like having home here and home back in GR.

It's easy to think this is the end, but things have a way of coming back to you. In 2008 when I visited Edinburgh, I loved this city and always wanted to come back. Three years later and here we are. Ben and Rachel left three weeks ago and we didn't think we'd see them for a few years, but we had the chance to visit them spontaneously this weekend. You never know if it's the end or not. That's really encouraging.

I really didn't know what this blog post was going to be when I started but I'd like to share with you some of the lists I've compiled of the new things we've experienced or gotten into since we've been here. They can't really capture our time here but they have added to my life and I am taking these experiences with me. I'm sure the lists are not entirely comprehensive as I've only thought to write them in the past month or so...

New games we've learned:
Up and Down
Pass the Pigs
Angry Birds
and a card game with a bad name that Rachel taught us that's really fun :)

New foods we tried:
Venison (I'd never had it but Al had)
and several delicious cheeses from the cheesemonger

Some fun events we've taken part in:
Christmas at the Forsyths'
Scottish Beer Festival
Fire Festival on Calton Hill
Hogmanay-New Year's torch walk
Being Mary and Joseph in the Christmas pageant at church
urban foraging at Greyfriar's Kirkyard
Farmer's market on Saturday mornings
Christmas Market
I guess there's quite a lot to list!

Places we've been while here:
Stirling, Fort William, Dunfermline, Linlithgow, Glasgow, Isle of Skye, North Berwick, Inverness, Melrose, Cramond Island, London, Bamburgh (England), York, Bruges (Belgium), Brussels, Tallinn (Estonia)

I want to thank you readers for encouraging and supporting Alex and I while we've been here. Thank you for being interested in us and what we are doing. We appreciate it so much.

Well, I've got to finish cleaning and packing before we sit down to our last mutton meal. It's strange to be leaving home and yet going home too. I know though, a new home will be somewhere around the corner again and I can't wait for it.