Moving to Scotland (in a pandemic) – Episode 4

A loch in front of two mountains on the Isle of Skye

Languishing. That’s apparently the word of the year and it totally sums up my 2021 so far. My last proper update was at the end of 2020 (not including my watch purchases), and I ended the blog post with the fact we’d had two offers on our house in England. And then the first offer fell through the first week of Jan – the buyer pulled out citing Covid uncertainty but not to worry, we had the second offer. Which fell through two weeks later, again for Covid reasons.

We were so dissapointed. Both the buyers had messed us about before finalising their offers, so it was extra galling for them to both withdraw their offers. After that, we had a steady stream of viewings which our Estate Agent took care of and in February, we secured our third offer. We had a completion date of May which came and went. As did June, July and August. The buyer apparently has a complicated legal and financial situation which is taking FOREVER. We’re hoping for this to be all over and done with this month, but who even knows anymore.

Meanwhile, here we are in our rental house in Central Scotland. Languishing. We moved a year ago today, but despite not being able to actually start our Scottish lives, we have no regrets. Living here has been just as amazing as I imagined it. I’m not a Scot, but I finally get patriotism – I understand why Scots are proud of this country and I love living here. There is a very small (but real) possibility that the house sale falls through again, we can’t get another buyer, and we have to temporarily move back to England – the thought brings me to tears. I’m going to work very hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Anyway, less of the negativity.

Snowy mountains

Scotland was back in lockdown, I was back to working from home, and the first two months of the year were mostly house selling woes, but the biggest disappointment was the minimal amount of snow we had here. I feel deceived about Scottish winters! We did have stunning snow on the mountains around us though, and the light was glorious. The farm we’re living on put their cows inside and filled the fields with very adorable sheep (who kept escaping), and I got chilblains.

March was… unexpected. Out of nowhere, a job opportunity presented itself to me and I went for it. I handed in my notice almost a year to the day I accepted the job in Scotland which admittedly doesn’t look great on the CV but it is logical for my career progression. The ironic thing is the job is in London – the whole reason we moved to Scotland was for my job, and now I would be working for an English Higher Education Provider again! Fortunately, they are (currently!) happy for me to work remotely, and I’m happy to pop down once a month or so. We’ll see how long this can sustain itself.

April saw an early release from lockdown in Scotland and we could start to explore again. As could everyone else – we live in such a touristy area and it definitely got busier. And I voted in my very first Scottish Election!

V&A museum on the waterfront

We saw the sea for the first time in well over a year when we started to explore nearby Fife which has such a beautiful coastline. Eurovision was epic, although I feel so sad for Daði Freyr – they should have won in 2020. Some new cows moved into the field next to our house and we became good friends – they would run over every time they saw me outside, however I do recommend not allowing a cow to lick you as their tongues are very painful.

We had our very first visitor – my BFF Tim came to visit for a couple of fairly action packed days – he and Husband hiked Ben Ledi whilst I was at work, we all went to the beautiful V&A Dundee to see the clubland exhibition, and we had brunch at Loch Lomond followed by a pandemic-limited distillery tour (which turned out to be drinking whisky in a room whilst watching a video).

And June saw my last week at work in Stirling, closely followed by my first day in my new job in the blistering heat in London. Thank goodness my new office has air con.

June also saw the start of my new obsession – Bo Burnham. I’ve been aware of him for a few years – the young Youtuber turned comedian – but I first really noticed him in The Big Sick a few years ago. I watched Promising Young Woman earlier this year and I thought he was pretty cute. And 2021 saw him release Inside on Netflix. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I watched it. I didn’t know what it was going to be about but the second the lights came on in “Content“, it felt like something being switched on in my brain. I’ve since gone on to absorb just about everything else he’s created and I can’t believe it took me this long to realise how incredible he is.

The cows have continued to be a source of fun, with two ‘toddler’ cows in the field who are adorable. We also saw a calf being born directly outside our living room window – we peered out as they took their first steps, and started to feed for the first time. Living on a farm has been so unexpected, although as much as we love the cows, we are looking forward to the day we find a new house. The 5am starts are a bit much and we’d dearly love a lie-in.

I had my second vaccine which was such a relief – I have been so anxious about getting Covid so to finally be double-vaccinated has given me a lot of reassurance, especially now I’m using public transport in London every month. The Scots have continued to be (mostly) very sensible and there’s a lot of mask wearing in shops and other public places – it’s so nice to live in a considerate country!

We actually went out to see some live comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe in August – Nish Kumar and Tim Key, both at Monkey Barrel Comedy. Both hilarious, both of them had me laughing with tears rolling down my face.

And finally, the thing I’ve been dreading for the past year or so – I turned 40. I can’t explain why, but I just don’t want to be in my forties (Bo Burnham captured my feelings so succinctly in his song “30”, albeit a decade behind me). My birthday itself was wonderful, spent on the Isle of Skye and driving through the Highlands (I’ll try to make a post about it) but it’d just be a whole lot better if I was in my thirties.

I think it’s partly because of where we are in our Scotland move. If we were in our own new house, all settled and unpacked, clothes in wardrobes, art on walls, perhaps turning 40 would make me feel less restless. But instead, we’re surrounded by awful wallpaper and all our belongings still in boxes. Everything comes back to that languishing word again.

The New York Times says “the other side of languishing is flourishing” and I know there’s an end to feeling like this. I’d just really appreciate it if our buyer could get himself together and ACTUALLY COMPLETE!

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