Saturday, March 18, 2017

Cambridge Now: You Only Get One First Impression

I always said these partially hideous blog posts of mine are really some sort of diary; just an image of a moment. A moment I felt, a moment I experienced, a moment that changed my life. For that picture I'm painting I'm just ditching the brush and use words as colors instead. Sometimes more successfully than other times. Reading these things back makes me cringe 99% of the time, yet, at some point in my life that's apparently how I felt. And now, since I moved to a new place for the xth time in my life, I need to capture the moment. I have to explain to future me how I felt about the first couple of weeks in my new home because I don't know yet how long it will be home. And I don't know if one day that picture I'm painting today will be outdated, its colors faded or maybe even destroyed. But even a picture that becomes valuable only as time passes is a picture worth painting.

If the last few weeks were colors, they'd be orange, yellow and green. These positive colors aren't chosen by coincidence, and unlike most times they aren't merely a reflection of the weather. My start in Cambridge has been so positive that the prospect of these colors turning to the darker shades at least feels unlikely. Unlike other times this move didn't come at the end of a miserable time where I was desperate for the new. And yet new, with just the right amount of old, is what I got. And more. I'm now back on an island I once called home, however, other than the repulsive quality of wine and the occasional cottage little reminds me of Scotland. The English really do feel like a sufficiently different set, but I haven't decided in what sense yet.

To assume that I'm in the country I know best is incorrect. Let's sum up my life in scotland. There are a few staple Scottish things that made my world go round: identifying bars with one pound drinks, sausage rolls from Gregg's, scanning home bargains and pound land for all living expenses, keeping indoors, baaaanter and, of course, Scots, the best countrymen a country could have. Where is all this in England? I quite literally haven't had, nor do I expect to find, a single item priced one pound even in the shadiest of pubs, there is only one Gregg's in this entire city, conveniently right next to the only poundland, and I've never seen a city more capable of attracting even the nerdiest computer geek outside because the weather is amazing and the scenery breathtaking. Of course I'm also an active, less alcoholic woman today and simply wouldn't be looking for that anymore. Still, I'm not "home"; I'm in a new place.

That leaves the only comparison to be left making: Haggis vs Yorkshire Pie, whiskey vs gin, Mary vs Elizabeth. I'm talking about the Scots vs the English. I have been sufficiently indoctrinated to prefer the Scottish and I have now been challenged. The prospect of watching the Six Nations game between the two in England stressed me out enough to seek refuge in Germany over the weekend and at least be surrounded by three Scots at a German pub. The heart is with Scotland and likely always will be. But I live in England now and I'm not Scottish, do as a result, I have no reason to hate. My first impression has of course been affected by a deep disdain for the English in my circle for four years, yet I've seldom been received in a country better than here. Then again, we're talking about a highly personal picture here and I,  as is commonly known, am just lucky. I meet great people, it's my thing.

I started out my mission "moving abroad attempt #370" by staying with a work mate for a few days who offered for me to crash without having met me. Awesome! I also quickly found out that the people around me at my job and in my house at the very least don't suck either. Awesome! Finally, I came to realize I have moved to the prettiest place this country probably has. It is awesome! I now have a job I enjoy, a space to call my own, and am surrounded by beauty which are, no joke, realities I didn't think I'd ever enjoy simultaneously. I don't have a dog yet so to say everything is perfect would be a straight out lie; at the same time, the potential for this to turn into an epic success, a job I will continue to be challenged by, a place I can find friends and loved ones (and maybe even get a dog) has never been higher. Now this picture of enthusiasm and positivity may fade to grey, but just like a picture only time will reveal the true value of this message. All I care about right now is that I'm doing the best I can to prevent it from being a bomb, and the color kit I'm working with looks promising...

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