I might be a little behind…but I’m back!

I might be a little behind…but I’m back!

The beginning is always the hardest part to get down to paper, what makes it even harder is when months have passed, events have happened and nothing has been done to make a note of them. That is purely my fault, I don’t cast blame on to any one else, though it does make things easier when you can. I am going to attempt to write what has happened over several months time, and if things are left out or stories altered I apologize for it but these things happen. And besides the story might even be better for it.

GlencoeThe last entry I seemed to have written was back during the summer, posted in June 2015 and I am cringing thinking all the things that have happened that I have not written about. Rather poor on my part really.  Let’s see here, there was a new job, return trip to Northern Ireland, and to Spain, then some  new places including Stockholm. Then back to London for the -oh, how many times have I been there now? And the new places includes previously unseen parts of Scotland- the Highlands and also over to Prague. After Prague it was back to Edinburgh, where many, many  tears were shed as we prepared for the move back home. En route we stopped in Iceland and landing  after a wonderful, adventurous stop-over there arrived first in Edmonton before our next destination of Vancouver and heard for the first time in a long while familiar Canadian accents. Right, I think that’s mainly what happened. Over all pretty good. So now with the set up in place I can start tackling each one and see what comes of it.

The New Job
In my time in Edinburgh I took on three jobs, the first working for Edinburgh University, sending on thesis to professors, arranging meetings, taking down minutes and being told several times when professors actually met me, “Oh, you’re a girl.” Having a name like Darien cause much confusion in the cyber world. The second job I undertook, was only for a short time, covering holiday time, and working in a local brewery taking messages, mailing off pump clips and being told I made the best cup of tea and how I was asked to repeatedly preform this task. Small work but I enjoyed it. My final job was a favourite. Working for another Scottish university, Herriot Watt, which was some fair distance out of the city,  I was doing the marketing for postgraduate students in the hope that they would come to study in Edinburgh. From each of these jobs I was able to have plenty to live on and save as well, plan out the next flight I would take or the next train or bus and see how far and wide that I could go before heading home.

The Two Week Holiday
I should state that the first holiday was in October. I stayed in Edinburgh throughout the summer, (though I wouldn’t really call it a summer, more like an extended spring) working hard, and seeing friends. I turned 25, and was enjoying living in a city that now so felt like home. There are many details that filled my days, but I’m sure they are so minute that they are only really enjoyable to me and would be like explaining one of your dreams to anyone else. So I move forward onto October, when my sister and I decided to leave Edinburgh for a two week break.

BelfastWe went back to Northern Ireland to visit family, feeling it strange that we had visited that family farm just over a year ago and how familiar it all was. We were there a bit before taking a flight back to Barcelona, where we met up with our friend Kris. She had at that point been married a year. We’d been at her wedding in Tuscany and after more of Italy had gone onto to Barcelona. There were small points in our day that made us remember how long we had been away from home. We made sure to take advantage of our time in Spain, making up for the lack of summer  Edinburgh had given to us, and making up for the time not spent with a friend who really didn’t live too far away when compared to Canadian distances but who we till had not seen since her wedding. From Spain we went on to Stockholm, a place I remember clearly saying before leaving for Europe, that I wouldn’t be bothered if I missed, but if the opportunity came up I would not say no. And I’m very glad that the opportunity did come up. It was one of those places I loved right away. Even if I factor out how beautiful everyone there is, we went in autumn was and it was so perfectly picturesque of a season that I felt like I didn’t want to see it at any other time. We probably stayed a day longer then we needed to, but that didn’t matter, it meant we could walk the streets in no rush and go exploring for some of the best coffee Stockholm was rumoured to have, then in the evening we enjoyed a nice dinner. It was one of those places I would go back to, and feel at ease. We went on to London, knowing it would be our last time there before flying home. Going to our favorite spots felt as if it we were visiting some place so familiar, like going to Vancouver. We left London just the day before Halloween and Halloween is always a holiday to celebrate.

Scotland to Prague
Highland Castle with meIt had been discussed months ago, it would be foolish on Dian’s and my part to have lived in Scotland but to never have see Loch Ness or the Highlands. We’d be going back to Canada in shame. So it was arranged through a Highland friend that we had made in Edinburgh to go up north and to see the lands featured in films as being vast and beautiful. We rented a car, and drove to the Isle of Skye, taking in the land as we went, stopping to see Lochs and ruins or castles and kirks. (I have always wished Canada had more ruins, down side of being a young country that really we don’t have anything like that.) Smaller towns and villages were visited and a ceilidh was danced. It was all good to see before flying out to Prague.

The same friend, Will, who took us to see the Highlands took us to Prague. He had been a student there for a year and knew the city well. The city is as beautiful as everyone says, closest to something out of a novel of a fantasy land, and the food and beer only adds to the image. The cathedral of bones is just a train ride from the city, a sight I had wanted to see for years but didn’t know it would happen in my 25th year. Like Stockholm, a city that was almost just too perfect.

Saying Goodbyes
Realizing there was a lot of material here for a number of posts, I really shouldn’t have left writing this so long and won’t the next time. So much to cover, that sadly might be getting lost. Coming back from Prague was hard, knowing it was the last European trip before coming home. Arriving back in Edinburgh, with a few weeks left, seeing to a flat that needed to be cleaned spotless, and clothes and items packed up into the original four suitcases that we had brought , but that up until then had been put in storage out of sight. Out of sight so as not to think about the return flight home. But now it was time to bring them down and to start packing the items we knew were not needed and put away the cards that were mailed to us from Canada. Items we knew that would not be coming back with us were given to friends. Favourite pubs and places were visited, last minute Christmas gifts were bought. On one of the days when I had just a week remaining in Edinburgh I wanted to walk around the city, naturally choosing the day it poured rain but still thinking it wasn’t too bad. I had boots and an umbrella. I had a friend who was willing to join me and we walked all over, getting soaked at the end, but I loved it. Saying goodbye to friends was hard, since it wouldn’t be easy to come back and see them, and the ones I made in Scotland were wonderful and just what I needed to get me through my time there. Locking the flat door for the last time felt strange and walking to the train station felt wrong, but it was time for me to go back.

Iceland WaterfallWe were recommended at the beginning of our travels that when it came to booking a flight home, we should look at Iceland Air, they allow up to a week layovers and have great baggage allowance. So remembering this advice when it came to booking our flight back, we looked at Iceland Air and booked with them to stay in Iceland 4 days before coming to Canada. Iceland is hard to put into words, and hard for pictures to capture what that place is like, but it was the best way to come home, because it took so much of the sting out by seeing such a beautiful country. We saw the Northern Lights. I truly hadn’t thought when leaving Canada that I would see those any time soon, if ever. Iceland was so breathtaking, I feel like it is a place that just can’t be.

Back Home
Slone and MeArriving in Canada after being gone a year and a half felt like a form of time travel. I had moved forward in my life and had been gone but Victoria was so much the same, it felt like the whole city had been put to sleep like in the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. Hearing people talk on Skype or when visiting us from home was the closest I had come to hearing my own accent, and being around Canadians again made me take note, ‘we really are that friendly and polite.’ I got to be home for Christmas and got to surprise each of my friends upon my arrival and got to see family at a wonderful time of year. Though it was strange to be back it felt right, and where I needed to be at the time. I had missed Canada. It’s home.

So is Edinburgh though, which is why I had to come back. Get ready for Europe Trip Part 2! (promise to update as I go….. well I try to promise… we’ll see how this goes….)