Ello loves 🙂
As I walked through this beautiful place I get to call my second home today on my way to class, I began to gaze with intentionality at the things around me. I studied the people who passed by me and the shops and the small bits of nature that have grown amidst this ancient city’s cobblestone, holding the secrets of this enchanting city.
I crave to know them all. Isn’t that what being in a new place is all about? Fully immersing yourself in a place so deeply and so truly that you are no longer an onlooker to the magic but a player in it all.
Travelers of all shapes and sizes, ages and genders will tell you that it is not the pictures you take or the quintessential tourist attractions you check off (though there is indeed much fun to be had and experienced for they are tourist attractions for a good reason). It is, without a doubt, the relationships you make with the people and the places around you. Personally, when I think of an ideal travel experience, or just an ideal life, I picture a place where I can walk through the streets with a mix of both comfort and excitement, where getting lost is not the norm but still a possibility. I imagine a coffee shop or breakfast cafe around the corner that knows my name but not my order because, though I am a regular, I am always trying new things. I imagine friends around me that resemble–thank you Forrest Gump–a box of chocolates. Each with their own unique taste, design, style and core but bound together by their genuine love of life’s capability to be smooth, rocky, bitter and sweet– a consistent mystery that almost always ends with a content fullness. I imagine a journal full of sketched out journeys that those friends dreamt up with me. I imagine that same journal to be brimming with the intimate tiny details of hardship and joy and laughter and tears that when woven together make life something truly amazing.
Now, I have only been in Scotland around 3 weeks now but I am trying to cultivate those things, which I mentioned above. For example, there is a Polish bakery that is just one block down from my flat here. It is run by the sweetest woman who I think is coming to expect us to barge in to her shop 10 minutes before closing nearly every night of the week. She bakes her bread fresh every day and if you go in late at night, she might give you free pastries. A little secret that my friends and I cherish. Though, come to think of it, I think this secret is one that I quite hate to love–my waistline isn’t so fond of all the carbs I seem to be consuming lately but eh, when in Rome, right?
Another place we seem to go all the time (and I am currently at writing this post–see photo) is the coffee shop directly around the corner from Wright’s Houses. Black Medicine Coffee Co. It is a shop that is taller than it is long with seats and tables handcrafted in various types of woods. One of the staff members is a quirky sort of fellow with a mohawk and glasses from Australia named Alex. In short, he is friendly to all, cusses when he drops anything, and bounds up and down the tiny stairs with such amazing agility though it sounds as if he and a hoard of antelopes have just fallen down the entire flight every time. A lot of the Napier students from Wright’s Houses come here because it is so convenient so it is a fun place to sit back and mingle and forget for a while that you are in a completely different country (if that is something you want at all to forget, that is).
Another place we tend to frequent is The Golf Tavern. One of the oldest pubs in Edinburgh, established in the early 1400s, it is filled with people of all ages, sitting in groups and sometimes, though rarely, alone who bond over their love of this pub atmosphere and the wonderful spirits it provides. I used to wonder why they called alcohol “spirits” but now that I have people watched in The Golf, I can understand. Though I do not condone obsessive drinking of alcohol, I can see how it does bind us as hopelessly flawed humans in a common spirit of brother/sisterhood and frivolity. The staff at the Golf is nothing short of hilariously entertaining. They are all pretty young and quite pretty, actually. They seem to really enjoy what they do and for some strange reason I get a little rush of joy when one of them remembers by name. (Mom & Dad, I promise I am not an alcoholic. Truly, it is just for the experience :))
Edinburgh is a captivating city. There is so much here left to see and experience and the fact that I have already been here almost a month makes me feel quite hurried. I am NOT a fan of feeling hurried. *pause for shock as all who know me pictures me flying around a room half naked trying to get ready to go somewhere when we are already 15 minutes late and I have had the past 3 hours to actually get ready* Anyway, I hope that as the next few weeks go by, I am greeted by more colorful people and places that I can welcome into my life as a brick in this new home I am building and as a staircase to a new adventure.
Thanks for reading 🙂 CHEERS Xx <—- me trying to be Scottish.