Parting shots

Passport in hand, flight booked. I’m off in a week.

Things are getting a bit harried. And as fate would have it, everything is happening around the Royal Highland Show weekend. I’m on bull-washing and bottom-wiping duty again, which will probably tire me out enough to sleep the entire 11 hour flight. (Sorry about the carbon emissions, btw. I have been particularly good over the last 6 years though.)

So. Unless something phenomenal happens in the meantime (like Australia coming bottom of the NatWest ODI series), I’m setting this blog to stand-by until I’m back on the interweb (word stolen from curious hamster).

Lots of navel gazing follows. Stop reading now.

This move has started me thinking about residency, citizenship and where your true home is. I’ve pretty much hunkered down in Edinburgh over the last 11 years. In many ways, I consider this to be my home. But what with one thing or other (bloody PhD years), I’ve never qualified for permanent residency. So I can’t officially call it my home country, even though I know it better than the country I am a citizen of.

A few posts ago, badly dubbed boy commented about Rose (from Doctor Who) and how she was just like people who move away from home and return so different they might as well be aliens. I think I’ve become one of those.

I never intended to stay away when I first left. All I wanted was to get a flavour of living somewhere else. My wanderlust years. Then I realised what freedom I had here. Not freedom from parents and family; they’ve always been supportive without hemming me in. But freedom from fitting in, conforming, the 5 ‘C’s (don’t ask).

Here, I can have a partner instead of a state-proscribed husband. I’m not constantly assaulted with propaganda telling me to procreate. Most of my peers from home-home have moved on to the next grown-up step of their lives. They earn real money, live in nice pads, have well-behaved kids, and have become the equivalent of the British shiraz-quaffing class.

We’ve diverged from each other in terms of needs and wants. I’m still a dippy-hippy and my intention is to remain so (more likely in my field of work than any other). And to do that, I can’t go home anymore. I could never fit into the workplace there, wrong skill-set. Also, I’ve only recently discovered that I have opinions, sometimes quite strong, on the way my life is affected by government policies. I don’t want to lose that new voice. And to do that, I can’t go home anymore.

So why call it home? That comes from force of habit, calling it home during my undergraduate years. It isn’t really my home anymore. I might be able to visit it, but I can’t live in it. So, what to call it now? My country of birth sounds too distant. I lived 17 years of my life there, maybe three or four of them in a conscious state. It shaped me in many ways, although I’ve unlearned many of the good habits they tried to instill in me.

Whatever I end up calling it, there’s no doubt about where my true home is. Edinburgh may be cold and windy most of the year, but it’s here that I’ve had the warmest years of my life. (Eek, contrived metaphor!) And while I have a physical home in the form of my parents’ house at [substitute word for country-of-birth-that-used-to-be-home], I’ve made one for myself here as well.

So why leave? I guess wanderlust struck again. I’ve stagnated over the last couple of years. Every little thing feels like a chore, and I don’t have the impetus to do anything. I’ve stopped going out and socialising. I’m suffering from a serious dose of fear of the unknown. So I’m doing it again; bullying myself into trying something new.

A year ago, I would have refused to go to the US, even on holiday. I confused the country and its people with its current government1. I’m neither pro- nor anti-America. I’ll take it as it comes, thanks very much. Besides, a change would do me good. I might even learn where my true home is.

See you in a few weeks.

Edit: 1 Funny how others have commented on this recently (links to follow, my back is killing me and I can’t type for long).


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