Monday, July 6, 2015

A Life Less Extraordinary: Moving Back to my Homeland

The grass may be greener on the other side of the pond, but that doesn't necessarily make it better. It's just further away. 

Five years ago I left my hometown and followed my dreams to Scotland. I responded to the siren call of my future beckoning me to cross the ocean to meet it face to face. At the time I couldn't say exactly what called me to leave everyone I loved and start afresh in a new country. Though instinct pointed the direction I didn't fully know the reason for my emigration. Now I do. His name is Paul, and I would turn my life upside down ten times over again to be with him. And so I am. We are leaving the family, friends, and life we've built together in Aberdeenshire to follow his career to Houston, Texas. Once again, I instinctively know it's the right decision.

The irony is not lost on me. I came all the way to Scotland only to marry a man who seems destined to live in America. When I left Texas I sought adventure and novelty. Now I return with a heightened appreciation for familiarity. Living abroad forces you to flex cultural translation muscles you didn't even know you had until you go home and find yourself relaxing into a routine that requires no explanation. I will no longer be the interesting outsider under a spotlight, answering friendly and well-meaning questions about where I come from and what brought me here. I'll gladly pass that baton off to my extroverted husband, who should prepare himself for instant popularity and endless questions about his kilt-wearing habits.

My ancestors left Scotland under various desperate circumstances and I sometimes wonder if I inherited their sense of loss. Something here makes me long for this land like no other. The west coast in particular is almost painfully beautiful, and each time I arrive I immediately begin to grieve for the moment I must leave. Scotland has taken root in me and will forever be one of the few places I consider as home. Life in Scotland is different from life in Texas, but neither is inherently better than the other. They each have their challenges and charms, and I love them both. I'm so glad to have wonderful  family & friends here to visit for many years to come.

And so it is with a heavy heart that I close this chapter of my love affair with Scotland. I cannot stay, but neither can I stay away.

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."
(T.S. Eliot)