One year ago, Hubby and I boarded a plane to fly to Glasgow to look for a place to live. A week later we returned to NC, bubbling with excitement and anxiety, with a signed lease and summer full of hard work ahead of us.
One year on from that first visit, I am sitting in our sun-filled lounge (combo den + dining room + study) looking down our quiet residential street waiting for the daily parade of parents walking their kids to one of the neighborhood schools. It’s 8:30. I have a few windows open and the mild summer morning air is fragrant and perfect, the chill enough to allow me to awaken slowly but not cold enough that my coffee will cool before I can drain it. Again and again and again. I love these mornings.
I’ve been up for a while, as is my custom. The older I get, I find that I like the easy quiet of the early morning more than the heavy quiet of the wee night hours.
Sunrise in the ‘Hood
I make coffee, I sometimes tidy the kitchen. I check email, I look at my day. I spend quality time with my Kanban board and post-it notes. I write, or sometimes I choose to take the coffee to the couch and under a throw there, read for a while. I do all this until Hubby gets up to join me (as he just did). He drinks a cup or two also, reads the news, then we talk about what comes next. It’s the most routine and wonderful part of my day.
My life is much changed since that June flight last year. And while I miss my pups, and best friend (GB), and all of my great friends, I do not miss most other aspects of “this-time-last-year”. I do not miss that stress, that lackluster job security, that invisible weight of southern suburbia slowly crushing me. I miss my fabulous friends, easy beach trips, and the inexpensive cigars and impromptu golf outings. But there is Facebook and Facetime and Skype, the pups are being cared for and loved, and in a month we will have beach and golf, the Highland way. Friends who can will come visit us, and those who can’t are loved no less – we’ll see them when we return to the U.S. Those who are true friends are never lost to the passage of time.
We are eight months into a four-year journey and I am happier than I have been in years.
Our days are (more or less) scheduled around my research and writing, but often take incredible and unpredictable turns. At least three times a week, we stumble home together and one of us remarks, “That was an amazing day.” Or we sit in a beer garden soaking up the (rare and elusive?) Scottish sun and say “This day does not suck.” It’s become almost a running joke, the amount of joy in our lives lately, confirmation once more that I am the luckiest bitch I know.
This weekend (as it was a year ago during our first Glasgow visit) was West End festival. We walked around our neighborhood drinking pints, eating BBQ and burgers off of outdoor grills, listening to both DJ’d music in beer gardens and live bands in retail courtyards. We chatted with new friends (and their pup, Cooper) we laughed, we danced. We stumbled home.
We packed up wine and cigars and went back out with the beach blanket to listen to more live music until 10(ish). Folk music under the swaying branches of maple trees in Mansfield Park is a great way to spend a few twilight hours. Then we stumbled home again. We rarely make concrete plans. We often leave the flat with a vague notion of something we want to do or accomplish, and then we stumble into miscellaneous adventures between here and there and home again.
I am not a religious woman, but I am one of faith. And I have loads of it these days. I have no doubts that the Great Architect has me right where I need to be.
With my perfect helpmate.
We slept in a little today, feeling a bit bloated from the ice cream that we ate as dinner.
Life is good.
Life is Good. Not Perfect. We still have money woes like the majority of the planet, and we still have very uncertain futures. But we are blessed in too many ways not to recognize them. And we are finding unbridled joy in being away from the constraints that used to define us.
And I don’t want to imagine the return. I have never been one to worry about the meticulous planning for a future I cannot control anyway. But these days I am living in the moment enough to embrace a “schedule” of vague and open plans. The kind of vague plans that leads to days full of magic.