My response to this week’s Random Moment of Delight, a blogging challenge by FireBonnet, was inspired by two occasions. One of them was me casually browsing my WordPress Reader, looking for and finding new blogs by searching my favourite tag “Scotland”. Another occasion was when I saw a fellow blogger’s response to this challenge: it was Justine over at Eclectic Odds ’n’ Sods, who wrote about her native home. I decided to combine “Scotland” and “home”, which happens to be a pertinent combination in my case, and what results below are the most personal lines I have yet published.
As I have already mentioned here and there, I have little affection for my home country, but I feel an intimate connection with Scotland. I’m a rational person who doesn’t believe that people native to one land could be transplanted by the workings of evil magic to another land across the sea. It puzzles me that I feel exiled in what is by birth and residence my home, while I enliven at a mere mention of Scotland and think of myself as an honorary Scotswoman. Without meaning to write a ghost story, I’d like to trace back and reflect on my three short stays in what is my promised land.
I was first sent to Scotland neither on nor against my wish for a three-week English Literature summer school. As the plane was descending to the Edinburgh Airport, I liked the way the ocean secured the land from the rest of the world. After exiting the airport building, I froze on the spot for a split of second as I breathed in the cool, fresh air. I have never been in such proximity of cold seas before, and the air felt not just refreshing but shockingly energising. I did no prior research on what Edinburgh looks like, and now I was staring breathlessly as grey granite buildings punctuated by starkly green areas started passing behind the cab window. It was like the right state of things; it felt like a homecoming.
I came home when I came to Scotland the second and third times, on my much coveted wish. The rebirth-like impression after landing in Edinburgh was not as overwhelming as the first time, but I retained the stimulating feeling throughout my entire stay. It drove me to activity and creativity. There’s a saying “Scotland is a state of mind.” Indeed, Scotland is the state of my mind. It is ambivalent in the first place: it is where the prevalent grey clashes with shocking patches of colour. It is a site of self-depreciation and pride, of tragedy and humour, of history and progress. Scotland is like me. I am like Scotland.