Riley moves from Minnesota to San Francisco. Chelsea moves from San Francisco (ok ok, East Bay) to Edinburgh. She has 5 emotions and I have 5 emotions.
I am not the type to think that much. In fact, I rather just do. I learn by “doing.”I like being busy and doing things. Give me tasks and I will enjoy checking them off my list. I would rather someone tell me what to do than to think about my actions, my feelings, or the consequences. I just don’t really think.
When deciding to move here, my thoughts were, “Okay, let’s just do it.” I don’t process the emotions I might face. I don’t contemplate the best and worst outcomes of our situation. After all, how do you think about what might or could happen if it’s not actually happening? Well, it actually happened and this is me trying to process the emotions and all my feelings inside my head.
It is truly such a privilege to live here. I feel so blessed to be in Edinburgh. It’s an amazing city. I love the international vibe with so many things to do and see. I see a castle everyday. My morning runs often involve passing by the palace where the Queen stays or climbing to the top of an extinct volcano. I have two Chinese grocery stores near me and lots of free museums to walk into. We have a great flat in a great location and I have a job at the best hotel in the area with only a 25 minute commute. AND, I get to live here with my favorite person and have someone to explore all of Europe with. I am happy. I am thankful to know that I also have wonderful family and friends who love me, pray for me, and are always there for me back home.
I am not a very angry person so it is very difficult to write about my anger. Perhaps the problem is that I don’t get angry. Of course not getting angry is a good thing. I go to work and serve extremely mean, rude, or harsh guests and don’t get angry or hold a grudge against them. When I do find myself upset, my anger automatically goes to sadness and depression. There are days that I am angry that I have to live so far away from home with no friends or family and live on a minimum wage salary. Instead of just being angry about a bad situation, I find myself crying myself to sleep. People generally get angry when they care about things. Does the fact that I don’t get angry mean that I don’t care? Perhaps I have desensitized myself to terrible events, unfair situations, or problems that are occurring so I don’t get hurt. I want to think that I care, but if I’m truly honest, maybe I just don’t. How do you learn to care so much that injustice and tragedies make you angry?
Don’t get me wrong, I am really thankful to be here in Edinburgh, but it’s definitely not easy. I miss my family. I miss my friends, and I miss the comfort of just being home. I miss getting boba whenever I feel like it and getting in my car to go places. I am sad that I am missing out on so many awesome things happening. I wish I could be a part of all the amazing things happening at IGC. I wish I could be there to celebrate my friends getting new jobs, starting relationships, getting married, having babies, and accomplishing new things. I am sad because I don’t have the communities I had back home. I loved my CCS, IGC, MOSFO, EPIC, PCC/CH, Andrew’s Friends, and the multitude of family communities. I know that creating community takes time and energy, but I still get sad because I don’t have it now. Lastly, I am sad because I haven’t seen the sun for the past 2 weeks. The weather has been “dreich” (the Scottish word for wet, rainy, and dreary). It’s dark by 4pm and the weather is ugly so you don’t want to leave the house. California weather is seriously the best. In SoCal, you get sunny winters. In the Bay, you can just drive over the bridge to leave the fog. Even in Tahoe, you can still have the sun shining brightly when you’re on the slopes skiing. The sun not only provides warmth and light, but it brings so much happiness. Scientifically, the sun hits the skin to make vitamin D. Having lower amounts of vitamin D has been linked to depression. Californians like me don’t appreciate the sun enough and how much happiness it can bring. I really need to get on those vitamin D supplements and sun lamps.
People used to ask me if I was scared to move abroad. To be honest, I wasn’t really that “scared.” I’ve seen many people do it. I’ve “lived” in Taipei for a summer and spent 4 years away from home for college, so it didn’t seem that scary. The fear I experience is my fear of man. I was a shy kid growing up, but I was surprised to find out how shy I actually still am. I knew that I didn’t like networking or having to make small talk with people I don’t know, but I didn’t expect my fear of man to manifest itself in this way. I’ve been the “new kid” before and I’ve made new friends in new communities, but this time seems so much harder. I wonder if part of it is a result of just “being married” and knowing that I always have someone to “socialize” with. I’m afraid of what people think of me so much that I think it makes me quiet and I end up not engaging in conversations or being proactive in making friends.
The first flat we checked out was so dirty and old that I couldn’t say “yes” to it even though it was in our price range and in a super convenient location. I don’t find haggis to be that disgusting, but I have yet to try black pudding. I find the food in Edinburgh to be generally fried, plain, and buttery. I am not disgusted by it, but I don’t necessarily find pleasure in it. The amount of smoking is not to my liking. In my orientation class of 15, 7 out of 15 people were self-identified smokers. I know, I know, it’s hospitality so there are more smokers in general, but still. Almost 50%? The worst part is that it’s so windy so the smoke gets in your face while walking. While I consider Edinburgh to be a relatively clean city, I do find a lot of vomit while walking in the early morning or late at night. I’ve walked through San Francisco late at night and in the early morning and rarely saw vomit. Yeah, that’s just gross, especially since non-Asians don’t remove their shoes in their homes!
Just like Riley, I do feel like my joy and sadness are getting lost together. I am really thankful and happy to have this amazing life experience in a fantastic city, but I do find myself often feeling sad and missing the life I had in the Bay. Most people can only dream about having this life experience and I get to do it! Still, I find myself wishing for an easy way out.
Okay. No more feely feely stuff. Go watch Inside Out if you haven’t yet. I enjoyed it and even cried in it. Andrew fell asleep in it. Continue to pray for me, for Andrew, and our transition to life in Edinburgh. Please let us know if there are ways we can pray for you! Miss you all and love you!