Moving to Scotland (in a pandemic) – Episode 3

The last time I posted was 7 months ago, and it simultaneously feels like nothing and everything has happened. Episode 2 of “Moving to Scotland in a pandemic” ended with me about to start my new job but struggling to get the whole house selling and buying process started. So a quick recap of June-December:

Leaving your job in a lockdown situation is really weird. I generally don’t like being hugged by random co-workers who you briefly worked with once on a project years ago, but having a farewell on Teams was just… really weird. My team got me an amazing leaving gift – a Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser and a Tatty Devine gift voucher – and I spent the day getting a bit teary-eyed at the lovely emails arriving in my inbox.

We also put our house up for sale as the lockdown eased and we started having viewings that we had to do ourselves. A very enlightening experience. One of the viewers criticised Husband for not “getting on the roof” to clear the moss. Enlightening.

If leaving your job in lockdown is weird, starting a new job in lockdown is even weirder. Especially as we still hadn’t moved to Scotland so everything was done online. Honestly, it was really hard, and I had pretty much no idea what I was doing for the first two months but I’m still there 6 months later so I must be doing something right!

July was also the month of my first post-lockdown hair cut. Never have I felt so relieved.

August went in a blur of packing up our house – we had secured a rental property in Scotland so the countdown to our big move was on. Both Husband and I had our pandemic birthdays – we just went out to lunch at our former local pub and continued packing. This feels like a long time ago now!

On the morning we moved, we woke up early to say goodbye to Fleet Pond – I had spent most of lockdown walking around it and the weather was beautiful on that last morning. We followed the removal van up through England and arrived at the rental shortly before midnight. We were both exhausted and slightly delirious from the drive so we pretty much went straight to bed, but not before wondering whether we’d made the right decision by renting somewhere without seeing it first. Scotland was still under stricter restrictions, so we didn’t get an opportunity to see anything before signing the contract. The previous tenants had left the place in such a state, and the house hasn’t been decorated in maybe 20 years.

After paying for a professional to come in and throughly disinfect the place, we have grown to love it – well, perhaps not love it but we have amazing views from the front and back of the Trossachs, the Campsies, Ben Ledi, (the photo at the top of this post) so it’s worth putting up with the freezing cold rooms and dilapidated wallpaper. We know it’s only temporary.

I started working on campus pretty much as soon as we moved, and have continued to be in the office since then. There are only 5 of us in the big office, but even though we’re all distancing from each other and keeping safe, it still feels odd being there. We also bought a brand new car – a cute little Audi A1 called Jonas who is 100% a boy racer car

Probably the most incredible thing that happened in October was seeing the Northern Lights for two consecutive nights above our house. It was incredible, especially considering it was only minor solar activity so the potential is there for it to be even more epic in future.

We went on many walks in the Trossachs which is only 20 minutes away from our house – we still need to find quiet loch walks as they can be oddly busy, but Lendrick Hill is definitely one of our favourites.

Trump lost. I cheered for many hours upon end.

I also found a new hair stylist who gave me the grey hair of my dreams. Yes, it took 10 hours, but I have never been happier with a hair colour.

Which brings us to the end of of this deeply unsettling year. We were put back into lockdown, temporarily released from lockdown, only to go back into lockdown on Boxing Day. As for Christmas, Husband and I stayed in Scotland and I cooked a fantastic lunch, if I do say so myself. We had our very first real Christmas tree which has been much less hassle than I was led to believe, and I spent quite a lot of the vacation worrying about my poor students who were unable to get home for the holidays. It certainly wasn’t how I expected to spend Christmas 2020.

But the biggest miracle is that we may have sold the house. We’ve had a fairly steady stream of viewings since it’s been on the market, but it’s an awkward property to sell – a small first time buyers house in an expensive location. But just before Christmas, we had two offers so hopefully we can start 2021 with a finalised sale.

I can’t wait to get back to some kind of normality for 2021, start searching for a house, and exploring this country that we now call home. And hopefully kickstarting the blog with some actual interesting content.

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