Nov 10 2011

My first post!

by Lisa in Uncategorized

I’ve been asked to write my first ever blog. Slight panic set in. What, now? What, today? Can’t I find an excuse to put it off for later on when I’ve taken time to think about it, refine it and make it the most amazing articulate, profound and touching blog anyone’s ever read? What, do I have to do it now? Do I have to speak from the heart as I’ve no time to do otherwise? I’ve been thinking about writing a blog for years but it’s taken a move from the Caribbean to Edinburgh for this to happen. I’m starting a new phase of life in a new city and there’s nothing like a fresh start to give you a kick where it’s needed.

I dithered for a while about what subject I was going to start with, this being my maiden speech, my coming out party, this website the birthing of my ‘new baby!’ It had to be right; honest or it was going to come out hollow, empty and ultimately worthless. I’ve advised friends about starting a blog – being the douala to their birthing process, helping them through the fear of exposing themselves to scrutiny, and perhaps criticism and ridicule. I’ve advised them enthusiastically that worrying about the reception and the outcome just puts a block on them sharing their gifts with the world. I distinctly remember advising my Canadian friend in Grenada that worrying what people would think and say was just a form of vanity – part of your ego, even though we can go on painting it to ourselves as being humble and meek and self-effacing. There was a bit of shock on her part, until she agreed with me, took a deep breath and plunged into the world of blogging. Each blog she publishes is written entirely from the heart, with no pretension, and the joyful outcome is that it touches everyone who reads it very deeply. So with thanks to my friend Maureen’s bravery and inspiration, I am going to publish my first blog today – and it would be great if people like it and gain something from it, but I cannot afford to worry if you hate it!

I am really happy to be here in Edinburgh. I came here three years ago with my husband and son (who was four at the time) to visit a good friend. He extolled the virtues of his home town, and we reveled in the arresting architecture, the warmth of the people, the eclectic range of creative people clustering around the kitchen table on a regular basis. The clincher for my husband was the clean fresh drinking water coming straight out of the tap! We’d been living on rainwater for the past few years on a tiny island in the Grenadines, and he’d spent the three weeks prior in London attempting to survive on as little ‘London water’ as he could get away with. Two months ago. I returned to Edinburgh, again, just for a ‘visit’; fully expecting to go down and live in Hertfordshire where our daughter has been going to school. However, I was very wrong. I woke up on my first (bright and sunny!) morning in Edinburgh to the backdrop of the majestic, imposing, somehow comforting Arthur’s Seat. The first person I passed on the street had a head of wild, unruly hair, a kilt and a beaming smile. “YES!! I thought, as he returned my morning greeting, “I love this place!!”

So – not just on a whim of meeting a cheerful stranger who answers your greeting – we have decided to live in Edinburgh. Everyone I meet looks at me with curiosity and expresses amazement that I should swap an ‘idyllic’ Caribbean island for a cold, grey city way up in the Northern Hemisphere, not renowned for its hot sunny days and white sand beaches. ‘Why??’ is the first question I’m asked when I explain we’re moving to Edinburgh. They might be wondering if I’m a little out of my mind, or whether I’m on the run from Interpol. A cheery man in a tourist shop in the Royal Mile asked me that very question. ‘On the run from the police are you?’

“Oh no!”, I think. “Do they know something I don’t? Am I going to feel the same way in the middle of February after (and if) I survive my first Scottish winter?”

But right now, I love waking up to the meek, tentative rays of sunlight. It feels gentle after the intensity of the blaze of the Caribbean sun. I enjoy walking through the park seeing the leaves turn into a medley of colours. I like watching the subtle changes of the leaves each day. Some days I feel old, like the leaves dropping on the ground, knowing that I’m getting closer to the winter of my own life. The cycles of the year are more obvious here, and it makes it easier to pay attention to the cycles of life and eternal renewal. I won’t always be like the leaves dropping off, drying out and curling up. I’ll be in the ground, part of the ground, enriching the ground for the next stage of life and continuing through in a new form onto another stage of life. Already I’m looking to embrace the dark nights; an opportunity to turn inward, to reflect, to gather energy. I’m looking forward to embracing myself, my family and my new friends and students.