Some jumbled thoughts for you.

Well, folks, we’ve gone from three posts in a week to almost four weeks with no posting at all. I apologize for my inconsistency. I really want to try and keep this blog updated regularly, especially for those of you that have been supporting me in this journey and deserve more than a few sporadic updates. That being said, this post is going to consist of a few random thoughts and details for you, in no particular order. :)

Fall is almost over in Edinburgh and winter has already begun to set in; the smell of frost is in the air and Christmas preparations are well under way. I love it!

I’m currently working on my last three papers for the semester, and they’re all going to relate to Scotland in some way. (I know, I’m super clever and deserve extra credit.) Anyway, once they’re done, I’ll have two and a half weeks to enjoy Edinburgh without having to worry about school work, and then I’ll be on my plane back to America… It feels so surreal.

As I’ve mentioned before, I feel pretty peaceful about my short amount of time here. I’m not freaking out about seeing the rest of the country or going away every weekend, and I’m not completely sure why, but I think it might be God telling me that I’ll be back here some day, that I shouldn’t feel rushed in Scotland because my time here isn’t over in December… That’s just a thought, but we’ll see where He leads.

One important thing I wanted to mention: The other day, someone from back in the States told me they hoped I was enjoying my ‘vacation.’ Now, they were joking, but it struck me and I haven’t been able to put that word aside. I’m sure most of you don’t believe that I’m in Edinburgh for vacation, but I just need to state it for my own sake — this is not a vacation. I’m not here to relax by a beach. (Although I imagine most Edinburgh tourists aren’t here to do that either.) This is not an escape, or a getaway, or a holiday, where I just go away for bit and then return to my normal life. This IS my life. I live in Edinburgh right now, I study in Edinburgh, I go to church in Edinburgh, and I’m here to learn what God wants to teach me. I’m grateful that I get to live out this season of my life in an amazing city that I get to explore every day, but please don’t call my life a vacation.

Anyway, putting all that aside, I just wanted to thank you. Thank you for reading this blog, for liking my facebook statuses and photos, for replying to my tweets, for praying for me and encouraging me.

Lastly, I just wanted to leave you with some words the speaker said at church today:
“God deems this fallen humanity as something worth fighting for.”
Amen. Our God is so good, may you see His glory on this wonderful Sunday.

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A mad god’s dream

I’m two months in to my life in Scotland and two months away from leaving this place to go back to my home in America. My mind’s already starting to wander towards the things I’m looking forward to when I return. (Among the unimportant things on that list: my own washer and dryer, a garbage disposal, pumpkin spice, buying in bulk…etc.)

HOWEVER. I live in Scotland, man! I don’t want to be rushing my time here just because I’m missing the little comforts and conveniences of home. So with that in mind, I’ve been compiling a little list, a list of the things I love about Edinburgh. Here is an excerpt, in no particular order:

1. Looking out my window and seeing this every day:  

2. The fact that ‘tea’ never means just tea, and that biscuits/cookies are almost certainly included whenever you have a hot beverage (even if it’s after a three course meal).

3.Seagulls. Now, most people think this is weird, as I don’t know too many people who think seagulls are cool, but to me, seagulls represent the seaside of my childhood. I grew up on the beach, but I’ve been living away from the ocean since I turned 12, and it’s nice to just hop on the bus now and be at the beach within a half hour (althought it’s freezing!). I can see the water when I walk around the city, and it’s nice to hear the cry of gulls as I do my homework.

4. Accents. I know it sounds silly, but I really do love just listening to people speak around me. I think it’s going to be quite a blow to come back to university in the states and have to listen to professors speak in an American way.

5. Pretty money. Sorry, America, but Scotland’s money is just prettier than yours.

6. This city is a literary goldmine: Dark winding spires, stall pointy steeples, imposing themselves against the vast black sky… Deserted ancient graveyards illuminated in the rays of the afternoon sun, raindrops twinkling on the stones… It’s impossible not to feel inspired in this city. Granted, most of my blog posts, as you’ve seen, have been about having writers’ block here, but I think I’m just still letting the city sink in, and even though I probably won’t produce a great literary work while here, I just enjoy walking and observing this city steeped in history and beauty.

7. Occassionaly seeing this guy around every now and then:

8. Feeling like family at the churches I attend. I don’t mean this as a slight to American churches, I’m just saying that I will miss the families I’ve grown to be a part of while here in Edinburgh.

9. That being said, when most Scottish people say farewell, it’s never a final goodbye, only, ‘Bye just now.’

But hey, I’m not leaving yet! I’ve still got loads of Edinburgh and Scotland to enjoy, experience, and explore. I don’t need to be itching to get home just yet.
I’ll end this post with the poet Hugh MacDiarmid’s description of the city that reminds me of how blessed I am to get to live here ‘just now.’ <3

But Edinburgh is a mad god’s dream
Fitful and dark,
Unseizable in Leith
And wildered by the Forth,
But irresistibly at last
Cleaving to sombre heights
Of passionate imagining
Till stonily,
From soaring battlements,
Earth eyes Eternity.

City of Wonders

I just got back from watching a fireworks concert — if I wasn’t already in love with Edinburgh, I’m pretty sure tonight would’ve cemented that love for me. It was magical.

First of all, I’m blessed to have a park just outside my window. I noticed that people were setting up blankets and sitting out on the green, so I decided to join them. The fireworks were being set off up at the castle, but this park offers a great view — and it’s where the locals go.

Blessing number two, the people behind me brought their radio, so they were broadcasting the orchestra concert as the fireworks were going off. It was so much better that way, given that the music and the fireworks were made to go together, and it just synced up perfectly.

I loved sitting out on the lawn with the people of Edinburgh enjoying one of their famous summer events. Although, the word “summer” is debatable, because my feet almost froze… Either way, it was still wonderful. I loved the cheering, the laughter, the applause… It reminded me of the fourth of July, and I’m just a sucker for those times everyone comes together to celebrate and enjoy life. I sat among seasoned veterans and new international students just figuring out that the event was happening. I applauded with old Scottish couples and families with young children. It was a great night.

I know I can get nights like that everywhere, I mean I just mentioned that the same thing happens in America on the fourth of July… But you must understand that in Edinburgh, everything seems different. It literally feels magical, the magic of centuries of history we’ve never known…

There’s magic in listening to classical music as you watch fireworks dance over the top of a stone castle. Where can you find that in America except at Disney?

I was starting to feel very homesick tonight, and yet all I can do is write about how wonderful Edinburgh is… I think God is reminding me that I’m going to be okay here, that He’s already here and working, and I’m going to love experiencing new facets of Him and of His beauty in this place.

I invite you to come with me on the journey. Thank you for tuning in as I explore this city of wonders.

Note: I’d like to post more photos, but it takes forever to upload at the moment… Hopefully I can get more up over time. <3