The Unexpected Home I Found in Edinburgh, 1,897 km Away

Commendator’s House Museum (Melrose, Scotland)

I’ve been living away from home for almost four years. To be precise, I live 1,897 km away from my hometown (Sabadell, Spain). It would take me at least 358 hours if I attempted to walk there. If I cycled, “only” 108 hours.

It’s funny how when you have lived living abroad for a while, the term ‘home’ gets a whole new meaning. As now Edinburgh is also my home, I usually refer to my hometown as ‘home home’, for some reason. I also use the term ‘back home’, but this often creates misunderstandings.

There are certainly a lot of things that I miss from Sabadell, but today I would like to think about what makes me feel at home here in Edinburgh. Casually running into people I know in the street is one of them.

When I moved to Edinburgh, I didn’t know that would be possible. Edinburgh is a fairly big city but small enough to come across a friend while you’re out shopping.

It might seem like something very trivial. It’s a mere coincidental encounter. Being at the right time at the right place. Am I overthinking it? I don’t believe in coincidences, though. I like to think that everything happens for a reason, even when you can’t pinpoint what it is. Therefore, this magical crossing of paths brings some warmth to my heart. The bliss of the unexpected. The ultimate reassurance that no, you are not alone in what initially was unexplored territory. Now you can finally call it home.

The Shore (Edinburgh)

Another thing that makes me feel at home is that Scottish people are really friendly. They helped me on countless occasions when I was confused about my bus journey. If you ever take part in a Ceilidh dance, you’ll be able to taste that exquisite friendliness. You’ll probably be clueless and randomly jumping around trying to pretend you know what you’re doing. You’ll most likely bump into someone or who knows, slip and fall. Good news is that it doesn’t matter if you make a mistake, you won’t see any grumpy faces. They will just smile and happily get you back on track.

Last but not least, there’s ham. I know it might sound superficial, but it’s not. One can actually taste a country with their food. I miss eating dry-cured ham that wakes me up at night begging for water. It’s worth it, please take my word. I don’t need the fancy stuff (even though I would happily accept donations of Jamón Ibérico), just a Serrano does the trick. It’s a bit hard to find, but I promise you that it takes the homesickness away. At least for a few minutes.

If you’re living abroad too, what makes you feel at home?

Guess what, I’m an alien! (Chapter 3)

16th of November, 2019

I miss my friends. I miss our evenings playing hide and seek with the stars. Our meteor cakes. And swimming in sweet water. My closest connections tend to describe me as a cheerful individual because I’m usually smiling and I have a good sense of humour. Truth is I struggle sometimes. I know there is no longer space for me up there. It’s just so hard to accept that I’ll never be able to go back home.

19th of November, 2019

I called my mum yesterday night. I sent her a picture of the 5x4cm purple stain on my arm and she said she’d ask our doctor for advice. My degree of homesickness is dangerously reaching 89%, so I’ve decided I need to stop moaning and try to make myself at home here. I’d like to make some new connections. I need a plan.

24th of November, 2019

I went to my first Couchsurfing meetup today. I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest. Surfing on the sofa sounded fun. I brought my diving suit and towel with me to feel prepared. We met in a pub, and I quickly realised there would be no sofas and certainly no surfing. Just drinking. Some drinks here have very weird side effects: unstoppable giggling, clumsiness, talking nonsense and getting red cheeks. I’ve been observing it for the last couple of weeks. It’s actually quite fun. I usually stick to water, just to be on the safe side. I’m too scared of any abnormal skin reactions. But maybe one day, who knows. Just one tiny sip…

What happens next?