I’m here but also sorta…not.
Edinburgh is finally shifting into summer. The number of ‘Lovely Sunny Days’ is starting to outweigh the number of ‘Horrid Wet & Miserable Days’: as all Scottish residents know, Summer is defined by the median weather. I’ve got to lounge on the grass in the Meadows with a White Magnum icecream, snaffling free wifi from the nearby Starbucks. Even when I wake up at 5am to get into work there is a warm light in the sky.
Most of my financial woes have eased up. I’m out of the tight situation described in ‘Austerity Measures‘ and have secured another job: this time in Hospitality. My income isn’t exactly lucrative…but it’s steady and in the green.
…Yet…I’m not quite satisfied.
In early August I am going to board that transatlantic plane and commit the next 5+ years of my life to a single country. After those 5 years I could end up anywhere, but given the lack of a chemical industry in the Scottish capital it is reasonable to assume that I won’t be returning here.
The result is that my most pressing urge is to stick my head down and keep it down until I begin my PhD. I spent most of my time in the central university area doing my freelance writing and relaxing in coffee shops…but at the same time I recognise that I’m no longer a student and no longer really empathise with students. The social groups I had when I was an undergraduate have shifted dramatically or dispersed altogether, such that it would be easier for me to begin again as a stranger than try to resume connections. I’m not really sure what to do with myself in my “leisure” time – in part because I don’t have much money, but mainly because I feel uncomfortable resuming old habits.
I’m not really sure what the best solution to this sensation of being a ghost in Edinburgh. My instinct is to just keep on pushing through until I reach August when the problem will resolve itself. However, I’m not sure that’s healthy for me: going for 3 months with barely any social interactions is going to wreck havoc when I come back into contact with people.
One approach I’ve tried is to go around exploring new parts of Edinburgh while I have the opportunity to do so. Even in the central university area there are places like the Surgeon’s Hall Museum and Mother India Cafe that I’ve not stepped foot inside until the month (which I now realise is utterly shameful: I’d recommend them both). I’ve also incorporated alternative coffeeshops into my regular haunts: Artisan Roast is on my bike route into town and serves espressos that can blow a man’s head off, Brew Lab is a bit hipster, but their coffees have very interesting flavours and their red plush chairs are fantastic if you can grab ’em.
If I am able to drink coffee then I don’t think I qualify completely as a ghost…