Sitting staring at the cursor flickering on the screen, I can’t help but feel a little bit of anxiety over what I am about to do. It’s been over two months since my last blog. As I typed that I could hear the opening lines to a Catholic confession in my head. I must say, I have been living a lot in my own head the past two months all with good reason though. So here’s what you’ve missed while I’ve been away….
I moved to Edinburgh just over six weeks ago, left my family, friends and all that is familiar to me to embark on my greatest adventure yet. I was in London for a week seven weeks ago, that’s where I landed when I came across. I instantly fell in love with the city on my first day there, not to say I don’t love EDI because I do, I’m just not too sure I’m in love with it…sorry baby, I hope we can still work things out, most importantly I hope you’ll let me stay.
I started my job which has turned out to be not what I expected and I find myself thinking, “Really God, like really? This is why You shipped me all the way across the globe?” Then of course I give my ritualistic, Oscar nomination deserving stomping and screaming performance (in my head, told you I’ve been living in my head). He, not at all moved by the rerun of the show that has been playing since I was four and I’d come home to find my peaceful kingdom usurped my screaming doll-like creature, just glances over His shoulder, chuckling to Himself and then somewhere in the middle of my hissy fit He says to me, “Go ahead kiddo, just remember that it’s just you and Me out here and you’re not going anywhere until we’re done!”
Being alone is something that I thought I was accustomed to and I thought I was cool with and naturally as with most things I smugly think I’m right about, I was wrong! I was reminded how wrong I was on my first solo Christmas. A couple of days later when I spent my first solo New Years I was reminded yet again that I was not built to be alone. Christmas day I spent cowered away in the darkness of my temporary accommodation because I did not want to be the only sad lonely sod in church or any other public space without friends and family. So I watched Christmas movies that I had seen more times than I can remember, slept, cried and in the evening finally decided that a hunger strike was not going to miraculously bring my family all the way from South Africa. New Years Eve was a little better, I dragged myself out my flat(by now I had found my own cozy place) did a little shopping and went to a church service just after 11pm. It was beautiful and moving and I was glad I went. The church I went to is right at the foot of the castle which, I didn’t realise until it started, was the best place you could be to view the Hogmanay fireworks display. Wow! What a beautiful scene it was. As I stood there I felt a quiet reassurance that I was where I was supposed to be. Which I don’t doubt by the way but must He make it so hard?
In all fairness, I must say though that He has provided for me far more that I deserve and I live comfortably and don’t really long for anything. Well except for companionship and to see my family and friends again. Though I moan like I have been exiled here, in truth I will see them in about three months time but it feels like forever. People keep saying to me I will be alright as soon as I make friends. My polite response to those people is it’s hard to make friends, real friends like the type of friends I want to have when almost every social gathering revolves around drinking. I have been invited to more drinks gatherings than I have been my entire life since I have been here. That for me has been the biggest shock to the system….more than the temperature that is yet to venture anywhere higher than 10 degrees celsius. My not so polite response? You move to a country where you don’t know a single soul and then you can come preach to me about making an effort to make friends! What do you want me to do? Get all dressed up and go sit at the nearest pub(I should mention I live within a 30 second walk of three) and ask people there if they would like to make friends with the lonely black girl?
While on the topic, that has been another culture shock point for me…being acutely aware that I am black! I’m the only black person I have seen in the past 24hours. On a good day, I will see one other black person. On a really good day two. It’s always funny how I walk past them and try avoid eye contact because I’m scared I will burst into spontaneous, random conversation. I must confess however that I did stop to ask one black lady at a bus stop two weeks after I arrived here where she gets products for her hair and where she gets it done because mine was so dry and coarse it actually had static!!! I had spent two weeks looking for even just shampoo for my hair and every time I was in hysteria about my hair my colleagues would say, “But it looks lovely, there’s nothing wrong with it.” My response, in the protective confine of my head of course, was simply, “When your hair looks drier than a desert and you can’t even put a comb through without it looking like you’re shedding hair like a snake shedding skin, then and then only can you tell me there’s nothing wrong with my hair!”
I miss my family, that I can’t stress enough. I miss the craziness, the drama but most of all I miss that annoyed feeling I would get when I was sleeping and I’d be interrupted by my door squeaking open and there one of them would be looking sheepishly at me. Well except for my mother, my mother feels no remorse about waking me up, especially since it’s her house. As I sit watching the flickering cursor yet again, I can feel tears welling up in my eyes because I am painfully aware that I have no one else here. It’s just God and I…