Moving to Scotland (in a pandemic) – Episode 5

It’s 2022 and my sporadic series documenting my move to Scotland continues on. Whilst there has been progress over the past few months since I last blogged, we still quite haven’t made it over the line in terms of our overall goals. We are in a much better position going into 2022 then we were a year ago though, so it’s not all bad.

As has been the same for the past 13 years, September is entirely taken up by my job – planning for the start of the new academic year, running enrolment, trying to end the month with some sanity left. The first week of semester is like a bubble – your day-to-day job is forgotten about and all your energy goes on getting through the week. The fun twist for 2021 was I had a broken toe after slamming my foot into a very immovable box, which made monitoring activity on all four floors of our building slightly complicated. I made it through with no further injuries, and even managed to have some fun evenings in London with Husband and my BFF.

A fairly uneventful month – getting a new Pixel 6 phone was probably a highlight, with a vastly improved camera and a battery that lasts significantly longer than my beaten up old Pixel 3. The sheep were back on the farm, and the cows went inside for the winter. I didn’t get on as well with the sheep as I do with the cows. They’re definitely more skittish and less curious, and I could never get them to come over and say hi.

We also started looking for a new rental property. A couple of reasons for this – our contract was coming to an end, and we realised that the main reason we were staying was the cows. The house was falling apart, freezing cold, insanely noisy from the main road, the power kept cutting and the boiler failed us a few times – we once had no heating for four days. So I dipped my toe into finding a new place. The house in England still had not sold at this point, so despite seeing many beautiful houses for sale, they were still just out of reach.

Oh my goodness, we sold our house! November was all about houses – for three days, we were responsible for three houses (two rentals, and our old house) due to extraordinarily bad timing. We had stuck with our buyer after he made us an offer back in March and then suffered a serious of financial problems, mostly due to the pandemic causing crazy backlogs with bureaucracy. The three days of three houses were incredibly stressful. The last weekend of November, I was trying to organise the new rental agreement with our new landlord, and Husband was trying to deal with exceptionally bad conveyancers but we ended the month with money in the bank and a new rental house to live in.

Not house-related, I had a wonderful day in Edinburgh catching up with my friend Alana eating pancakes and kanelbullar. And I finally photographed the aurora borealis after what felt like months of cloudy skies!

Loch Lomond – our new neighbourhood

My anxiety levels are always high in December as I am not a fan of Christmas. We added to this anxiety by moving an hour west of Stirling to our new rental on the shores of Loch Lomond. It sounds very romantic, but the reality is slightly more mundane – I mean, we have a septic tank which ruins the glamour somewhat – but it’s a million times better than the Stirling house.

Omicron added a third layer of anxiety. After voluntarily locking ourselves away for a week or so and a million negative Lateral Flow Tests later, we travelled down to England for Christmas in what we thought was a safe way. Turns out, there is seemingly no way to stay safe from Omicron at the moment. I was exposed to Covid on Christmas Eve and I spent the rest of our stay trying to book a PCR test whilst trying to keep away from everyone else. No tests were to be found in England, so after another million negative Lateral Flow Tests (and reading all the guidance to make sure we weren’t breaking the rules), we drove back to Scotland to get tested. Fortunately, that came back negative and I’ve continued to test negative every day but it did turn Christmas into a bit of a disaster.

And finally, after 15 months in Scotland, we started viewing houses to buy. We’ll be putting offers in the new year for two of the beautiful houses we viewed and crossing our fingers that one will go our way. I haven’t set my heart on either of them as it’s a very competitive market at the moment, but I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about the upcoming year.

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