Monday, June 18, 2012

The Homesick Highland Blues

After two days of steady rain, we had cabin fever and a terrible case of homesickness.  In novels, authors often kill one character to make the others appreciate life.  In our case, being away from home this year has helped us appreciate the tender comforts of home.  What was mundane or even held in contempt before, has become clean and fresh in our mind's eye.  For example, this morning, Anabel waxed on about things she can't wait to do when we return: run in the backyard with the neighborhood kids, pick leaves from our own woods, unpack her suitcases with help from friends, and sleep in her own bed.  How many thirteen year-olds pine for such simple activities?

We feel our homesickness most deeply for our friends and family.  For ten months now, we have lived away from our nearest and dearest.  While email, phone, Facebook and texts have kept us in touch, it is the close connection that we lack.  The banter, the laughter, the gossip and the daily interactions are desperately missed.  We have secured our immediate family relationships, but have left our kinfolk to fend for themselves.  We have been seeking balance in our lives, but left our friendships greatly tilted off center.  I look forward to many days of righting this grievous wrong.  Being away from my home - for longer than I ever have in my life - has given me a new appreciation of my friendships, old and new.

No Carolina or Georgia BBQ in Scotland
No offense, family and friends, but I also miss our food.  What I wouldn't do for a plateful of creamy grits with extra salt and butter!  The British are very fond of their meat and potatoes, which has suited Greg quite well, but I'm a country girl at heart and desperately need my veggies.  I know in Georgia the home gardens are springing forth with okra and squash, begging to be fried, and tomatoes politely requesting to be sliced, seasoned and eaten.  Boy, would I love a tomato sandwich right now!  Then, there's the grilling.  Nobody grills over here.  We ordered a steak at Loch Ness because it said char-grilled.  The quarter-inch steak did taste grilled-what little there was to taste.  I can't wait to get home and have a two-inch ribeye with grilled onions, baked potato (no more chips, please) and a real garden salad with ranch dressing.  (It has honestly killed our kids to be without ranch dressing for over three weeks!)

I could go on for hours I miss home so much... Wait a minute; it stopped raining.  Are those sailboats?  Is that a bagpipe I hear?  I feel like that miserable kid at summer camp who wrote home begging for his parents to come get him until the sun came out and there were fun things to do.  Remember, Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda...

New Mates
Well, the sun came out in Scotland and there were fun things to do!  So for our last day in Scotland, we sang our homesick blues with a little Highland music as backup at the Bicentenary Pipe and Drum Competition.  While the kids played games and jumped in the bounce house, we made new friends corralled near the beer booth.  I learned about competition grades for bagpipe and drum bands and how much it costs to outfit a piper (over £700!)  Greg talked music with his fellow drummers and bonded with a bluegrass music fan.  He enjoyed the conversations so much that he continued talking in the local pubs until one in the morning.

Learning to twirl sticks with pom-poms.
While I still can't wait to have a three-hour lunch of country vegetables with friends from home, it felt pretty fantastic to meet local folks, and learn how people live on other planets- or countries, as the case may be.

Do you like my new hat?

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