Last week in my Modern Scottish History tutorial, we were discussing Scottish migration to North America during the later parts of the 18c. One of the documents we were looking at was written by a guy who was looking to move to Carolina. He was asking about the land, the people, and what he would need to bring. We were discussing it in class when the tutor asked the class, ‘Now, how would you deal with something like this?’ Everyone in the class had really great answers, but when it came to me, I realized that I sort of did the same thing this guy did in the 18c.
When I accepted my offer in November of 2015, I had never been to the United Kingdom. I didn’t know anyone here. All I knew about the country came from what I read in books and a few emails send back and forth from the International Office here.
I explained to my tutor how I could really sympathize with the guy in the source… because that was me, albeit 250 years later. For me, it was the pull factors for my education and my future career… but by taking that path, I knew I would be leaving my family and friends.
In fact, I’ve spent more time this year away from Kansas than the amount of time I was actually there – just about 100 days this year.
For the other 266 (it’s a leap year guys) days I’ve been in Scotland, England, Spain, and Romania. I’ve had experiences I’ll never forget from attending my first archaeological dig to rock climbing… but there’s a part of me that still misses my family (okay, mostly just my cat, tbh) and the experiences I’m missing out with them.
My kid sister just got accepted to her top University for Musical Theatre. Despite what she might call ‘constant torture,’ I’m sort of proud of her. (Sort of. This still does not mean you can steal clothes from my closet, Crosby.) But, because of time differences I found out about a day later from Facebook Messenger. I also won’t be home for her High School graduation in May. I just remember the day I got into University/Graduation and how nice it was to come home to my entire family… and realised how she won’t get that. Which, I’m really sorry about, kiddo.
And if I’m completely honest, I’m a little jealous of my friends here that can be with their families in a few hours. If I want to go home for my Dad’s cooking, (Sorry, Mom, but we all know who the better cook is.) I’ll have a seven hour flight to Newark, a three to six hour lay-over, a two hour flight to Chicago, another lay-over, an hour and half flight to Kansas City, and then an hours drive to Lawrence. Same goes if my family wants to visit me.
Especially now that it’s November with the Election, Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up. This has always been the time of year that everyone just stops what they are doing and enjoys each other’s company. Growing up with two parents who worked full time, my sister and I had quite a few full time nannies/au pairs/babysitters however you want to put it. The Holidays became a time when everyone was around.
So I guess to make-up for this (probably) very blatant form of homesickness I’ve been feeling I’ve been playing Christmas music in the flat to the sheer annoyance of Gregor and Erling. Naturally. Tuva seems to appreciate it, or at least refrains from joining in on the collective roast.
But this homesickness works both ways… and it’s really annoying because ew, gross emotions.
I miss Edinburgh dearly when I’m away. Being back in Kansas over the summer felt a lot like putting my life on pause. I love my family dearly but I remember feeling so out of place in Kansas. I didn’t want to leave them, but I also wanted to get back to work here in Edinburgh.
I love my classes. I’ve wanted to be an archaeologist for so long it’s still surreal that I’m actually doing it. I love volunteering at the NMS because I get the chance back to the community by helping young people learn about history and archaeology in new and exciting ways. It’s pretty neat seeing some of the young people come through and their sheer desire to want to learn. I love being able to get out of the city and just be in the mountains. Being outside is one of the best stress relievers, time just slows down out there and guys, it’s so, so, so beautiful here.
In a perfect world I could be in both places: with my family and still continuing on with my future.
But, I know that if everything goes as I’ve planned: graduate, get a phD, get a nice job working with early medieval stuff at a museum or university, live in a cosy old flat with big bookshelves and my cat, who I’m naming Henry… I won’t be moving back to Kansas. As much as I miss my family, I know there isn’t much else left for me there. Especially, since I want to be a Medievalist.
So really, I can’t really complain too much. I was the one who decided to pack up and move to Scotland and I don’t regret the choice. But, I guess that choice is finally catching up with me. The excitement of first year is over and I’m realising just what it meant when I boarded that flight last year.
So, a lot like that guy from my Modern Scottish History source, who would have boarded a ship in Scotland to take him and his family across to Carolina, I’ll always remember Kansas but I know there’s so much more out there for me. I know I’ll continue to miss parts of that old life and I’ll always miss my family, especially during the Holidays, but there are just too many opportunities here for me to pass up.