Figuring out our “new normal”

I am baffled by the fact that today is October 28th. Time is flying by here, and yet time is simultaneously moving at a snail’s pace. I can’t describe it. I can only resonate with the words of one of my new friends who describes it as living on “Narnia time.” We went through the wardrobe, came out the other side into Aber-Narnia and time is questionable now. Fast or slow? Slow or fast? Both/and? I can’t say…

All I know is that the holiday season is quickly descending upon us and soon the city of Aberdeen will be ablaze with the glimmer of Christmas lights, which we’ve been told is quite stunning! We are quickly being ushered into the anticipation of winter and the holiday season before us. How? Let me name 1 big reason. The time change. We rolled our clocks back an hour this past Sunday. And now, the sun is setting just after 4pm. And soon, we’re told that the sun won’t even rise until 9am. As you can see, it’s just after 3, and the sky is already getting sleepy.

So, as my mind attempts to wrap around the date on the calendar and the change of seasons we’re experiencing, I am thinking about the weeks and months to come. October is rushing to a close with Halloween this Friday, then we’ll zip into November which will be speckled with Christmas choir rehearsals (for me), our 3rd wedding anniversary(!!), the celebration of Thanksgiving, complete with potluck feasts with our fellow American friends here (MmmmMmm), a weekend trip to Edinburgh to see dear friends (!!), and the usual study/work/life events. Then…Christmas and the new year just around the corner!

I am continuing to adjust to our new life here. Some days it’s exciting and other days it’s hard to be far from those we love. And with the holidays coming up quickly, I am both excited to establish some new traditions, but I also twinge at the thought of missing out on the old.

From what Nathan and others have told me (from experience living abroad), it will take about 6 months to start to feel settled, in the fuller sense of the word. So I am giving myself some grace when I get choked up thinking about my family and friends that seem ages away. And when I get that itch to jump in a car and run to the store, but realize I can’t. Or when I start to feel disconnected from everything we knew as normal in the states. Or during those ironic moments when we’re standing outside our back door in pajamas and coats as the campus tests the fire alarms at 10pm… (oh the joys of campus accommodations).

But then I think about the blessings that we’ve been given in just 7 weeks here. A flat that is comfortable and convenient for us; community and new friends almost instantly; the opportunity to walk and get some fresh air (and exercise) as we run about town; technology that keeps us connected to family, friends, and work even though we’re umpteen miles away; the grocery delivery service here that we take full advantage of (a big blessing for all of us car-less folks who don’t want to walk 1-2 miles with 20 bags!); the many meals and fellowship we’ve shared with new friends already; the opportunity to study in a place that is beautiful; the church community we’ve joined and feel welcomed into; the opportunity to sit down and eat cooked dinners together at home almost every night (which we sadly found to be a rarity in the states), and so much more!

And really, though there are the moments I battle with it, the simplicity of life here is refreshing. We have less space, less money, less “stuff,” but yet we have what we need! We eat the food we buy, we use the belongings we brought with us in 4 bags, and we simply live more simply. 🙂 Don’t get me wrong…it’s not always easy! I have my moments when I just want access to everything I had before. Kitchen appliances and utensils, the bulk of my wardrobe that I left behind, furniture and home goods/decorations that I loved, pets that we snuggled, and on and on. I’ve even been pining away for my Subaru lately, after seeing numerous electric blue Subarus driving the streets of Aberdeen. I always trace them with my eyes as they pass me walking along the sidewalk. Oh to be back in my Subie and free to drive for miles and miles! Out of the elements, heat on, radio going, hair in tact, pain-free feet. Ahhhhhhhhh.

But then I return to my senses. This is what we signed up for, and this is what we’ve wanted for our years in Scotland! This was meant to be an adventure with different experiences than what we were used to with the conveniences of home. Yes, adjusting is weird and difficult some days, but it’s good. I’m feeling more resourceful, healthier, more frugal, and more in touch with the proceedings of each day. Everything seems more intentional here. Waste not, want not feels like an actual motto we’re living by these days.

And so, I’ll leave you with a link to a wonderful ARTICLE that I read months ago when preparing for our move here. Thank God for Pinterest. Her tips helped me then, and now they’re helping me all the more. Good to have some insight from an experienced expat.

So a happy day to you all. Signing off until next time. XO


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