bye felicia.

Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you

New Years Day, Taylor Swift

Hey it’s 2021.

Like many people, my plans for 2020 got upended, twisted, broken, bent. I was supposed to be back in Edinburgh. I should have been halfway through my MSc in Architectural Conservation. In another life, I might have been writing this while drinking coffee in Roseneath’s yellow kitchen after spending Hogmanay with my dearest friends.

Instead, I had to defer my masters. Stay on this side of the ocean. Add another year to the time I haven’t sat across the table from my dearest friends or walked the cobbled streets of the city where I buried my heart. I had to find another path, another way. Take Anne Shirley’s classic bend in the road. But, like I wrote in July:

Not being able to get back to Edinburgh this September is not a setback.  It is just a slight bend in the road.  We’ve all been there and all we can do is continue to move forward.

So, instead I set out to do something on this side of the ocean. I learned how to work with glass and created dozens of stained glass things… windows, flowers, boxes, sun catchers… I also set time aside to write. For the first time in ten years, I finished a manuscript.

I shaped a magical world filled with glittering stained glass and magic mirrors. I saw a young women deep in her fears and anxiety and wrote her journey as she found herself back. The end product was a 100,000-word thing filled with memories and magic. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll get to hold a copy of it yourself.

Then, I joined AmeriCorps as a Team Leader and spent two months working with the Missouri State Parks Department building fire line and restoring native glade environments. I took out my frustrations by kicking down trees and throwing logs in the Ozarks eight hours a day, five days a week. But, as I hung lights and drank my coffee on the porch swing of our little cottage in the Ozark, I knew I was helping our Earth heal. Then through 1 prescribed burn certification, 2 months sleeping on a cot, 8.2 miles of fire line, 10 humans to feed and coordinate, 31 acres burned, and 700 acres of forests, mountains, and glades enclosed I started to mend myself.

hey, this little place is probably going to inspire a book one day. isn’t it?

me post project completion. bruh, she’s ready for a nap.

I saw what lifting up and reaching back really meant. I realized this was how I could make a difference. Here. Now. In the future, when I look myself in a mirror I could say that I was there. Despite everything I was doing something. Using my skills and helping where I could. Being a part of something greater than myself.

It’s together that we are going to get through this.

It’s together that we can create the world of the future.

The kinder world, the smarter world, the beautiful world.

I realized that maybe things suck. But, not entirely.

Historical precedent would tell us that after the plagues of the 14th century, we had an extreme period of creativity, worldly exploration, rebirth. The Renaissance. Humanity’s fear and loss and frustration overflowed into exploration and celebration and memory.

We aren’t there yet, but I can imagine it.

I imagine the day that I can go to my favorite coffee shop again. I’d sit in window. Taking in the golden afternoon sun with a warm mug in both my hands. Or, when I get to browse in a bookshop again. All the stories of hope and love pouring out from worn, wooden shelves. Who knows, I might even find my own words singing out. Or, when I can finally hug my dearest friends after three years. Sing loudly in the car. Kick stones down cobbled streets. I imagine the day when I can finally plant my own roots and move from boxes scattered around my parents’ house, a locker in Colorado, or an attic in Edinburgh to a quiet place with a green velvet sofa with brass fittings. Ivy growing up trellises. Rolling moorlands and roaring seas out the backdoor.

We aren’t there year, but I can imagine it.

So, I guess on this New Years Day I’m holding onto my memories. And, I guess my memories are holding onto me too.

Anyway, bye 2020. Please shut the door on your way out.

i. am. traumatised.

‘Could you describe your bag and its contents?’

‘Yeah, it’s pink.  Northface.’ Contains my will to live.

This was me yesterday at the Edinburgh Airport after my baggage had been left planeside in Chicago.  2017 has a little over 24 hours left to live and, I swear, it has tried it’s hardest to take me down with it.

And because this is my blog, I’m going to whine.

My flights back were an absolute nightmare.  It all started in Kansas City when all the of the baggage had to be taken off the plane and reloaded… twice.  Arriving in Chicago, I mad a quick dash to my gate only to find that my fight from Chicago to London had already closed.  This was at 4.37 when it was not due to depart until 5.23 (as my boarding pass said)  However, I was informed this was a misprint and it was actually departing at 5.05.  Another passenger on this flight and myself were told this at the British Airways help desk.  I have never felt true comradie until this moment when this unknown dude trying to get to Manchester and I to Edinburgh looked at at each and shouted expletives in unison at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Then it was back to Terminal 3 to rebook through American Airlines because BA couldn’t help.  I waited in the queue, seething.  But, I realised that being grumpy at a customer service employee just trying to do their job amidst the panic of New Year travel wasn’t going to get me what I needed.  I’m not proud, but I thought of dead puppies and could have won an Oscar for the performance of ‘sad, lost, female traveller trying to get back to her friends and family.’

Khloe (god bless her and I hope she has a wonderful New Years), the American Airlines employee, rebooked me onto a later flight.  Regardless, I had a seat.  I wasn’t getting stuck in Chicago.

To be fair, the seats were decently comfortable.  AA had an absolute shit ton of movies which included a channel entirely dedicated to Star Wars.  Inspirational.  Unfortunately, I watched nearly the entirety of Empire Strikes Back before we took off.

And when we did take off, the small infant in front of me decided it was time to scream.  In a cruel twist of fate, the dude in front of the infant was offered a free upgrade to business class… with full recliners etc.  Offered is the key word here.  My dudes, I have seen some shit on airplanes, (figurative and literal) but I have never once seen a person decline to be upgraded for free.  My only conclusion is that the American male has a desire to suffer.

Finally after 7.5 hours of screaming and the wine cart passing me eight times (However, because this was an American operated flight, and me being not yet 21 I couldn’t have a glass to numb my pain), we arrived in the London airspace.  We attempted to land… three times.  Finally after nine hours, I was free with less than an hour to catch my connecting flight to Edinburgh.

Heathrow actually moved much quicker than the past few times I have flown through, which was a blessing.  I filed through security while my flight was boarding so had to race through the terminal with one shoe and my belt in my hand.  I was sweating on the plane and it was really gross and I’m really sorry.

I arrived in Edinburgh just a little before 1 pm.  I was supposed to have arrived at 9.20 am.  I waited for my baggage to arrive when it didn’t I moved to the baggage claim desk only to discover my baggage had been pulled and left in Chicago when I had failed to make my first flight to London.  Why tho cruel world?

I returned to my flat around 2 pm. I made the rookie mistake of sleeping all afternoon and woke up at 10 pm.  Ellie came over and we ordered pizza and watched the Victoria Christmas Special.  We had plans to leave for the Bothy today, but as you can infer from reading this now… that has been postponed until tomorrow.

This morning, my baggage was still reporting as missing and I was getting really worried because I needed the bag to pack for the Bothy… that and my aunt had made me popcorn balls and I feared they had been squashed.

Ellie and I went to brunch and I became increasingly aware I had picked up a stomach bug from the airplane.  (@god y tho).  It was my fault.  I knew not to eat the chicken on the plane but I did it anyway and @my poor body I am so sorry.

A final stroke of luck, my baggage was found and I called to check delivery times.  Not very helpful, the soonest they could deliver my bag would be tomorrow when I would have already left.  Instead I said fuck it and went to the airport of collect my baggage.  Now reunited with my jumpers and popcorn balls I can cry into my peppermint tea.

Beside all the dramatics, I can say that I am back in Scotland.  I’m happy to be here and thankful that I will not be boarding another transatlantic flight until August.

pls console me – i have suffered.