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Farewell to Scotland

We rolled into Scotland fresh off the boat (really -- we drove off of a ferry and onto the left hand side of the road) back in October. The autumn light was amazing. It made our snapshots look like photographs.

We decided that the hearty Highland Cows are maybe the coolest looking cows on the planet and that we like the sheep with the white fleece and black faces best. We yelled, "SHEEP!" and, "HORSES WITH COATS!" whenever we drove by, well, sheep or horses in their winter blankets. Later we just said it, not yelling. We started counting pheasant roadkill, but decided it wasn't really very challenging. We learned to carve turnips, and the differences between red squirrels and grey ones (aside from the obvious color!). We learned to ride the buses, and the rails. We drank hot tea at lunch. We made new friends and visited with old ones. We saw more of Scotland than many Scots will see in their entire lives. We made homemade tablet and mince pies, and sampled other local delicacies -- some I can recommend, others... not so much. We found words like 'bit' and 'wee' and 'brilliant' entering our vocabulary. We figured out how to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years without our own lifelong traditions to fall back on. We watched the snow fall for the first time of the season and pile up in our drive... and stay frozen there for months. It was the kids first time to see snow actually fall -- ever.

As it continued to snow, Spring started to exert itself as bulbs sprouted through the frozen ground and the grass greened again. Now the lambs are running around with the sheep and the horses no longer need their coats. The places that were new and thrilling when we arrived are familiar and comfortable now.

Six months is a long time for a Southern California family to winter through Scotland's coldest winter in years, but we're going to miss this place and the friends we've made. The taxi comes tomorrow at 7:45. Us with our friends, the Pilbeams. Ian, Anne, Rory and RoonaghThe kids and I will drag our worldly possessions through train stations, pick up a car in Paris and drive to our new home in France. Right now I'm completely wiped out from packing and cleaning up the flat for the past two days. I've settled deep into the sofa with a celebratory glass of Rakija, luggage piled all around me. I have euros ready to replace the pounds, the train tickets are in my coat pocket, passports are in the backpack. Now I remember -- traveling!

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Reader Comments (10)

Lama wishes you safe travels ... and prays for something funny to happen, so you'll blog about it!

Mar 18, 2010 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterYo Lama

Traveling...wasn't that the whole idea. Good luck on the new adventure. I, for one, am looking forward to it.

Mar 18, 2010 at 9:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Partlow, WB Foley

Brilliant! You guys made the memories so that you can authentically say, "We lived in Scotland."

You definitely sound like professional travellers now. All the best in France.

Mar 18, 2010 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

It's always bittersweet leaving Scotland (for me, at least). You did it right, though. The country demands months of attention. Have fun in France!

Mar 19, 2010 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterKeith

Has it been 6 months already? Didn't you just get there? And your flat at the top of the stairs, it looked like something from a Hayao Miyazaki film.
Drive safely.

Mar 19, 2010 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterNicole

I'd forgotten all about those stunning Scottish cows - loved them. And the ferries* - they were so fun to drive onto and off of and stand by the ship rails and scan the sea.
*There are also fairies in Scotland.

Good travels - I've really enjoyed the revival of memories of Scotland you've given me.

Mar 19, 2010 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterMargery

Has it been 6 months already? The year is going to go by too fast! I was hoping to hear about your adventures from so many new places.

Mar 19, 2010 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterLise

The Lama wishes to retract his wish for something funny to happen ... just in case it di... I mean does.


...The Lama...

Mar 19, 2010 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterYo Lama

Good luck Bob and kids. I hope you do not have to drive very much in Paris. From a walkers prespective all those people in cars driving around Paris streets are CRAZY........especially the cab drivers.( Come to think of it, that cab thing may be universal!!) I am sure they think we Americans are CRAZY also.
Driving to southern France should be stunning. Take many pictures and post them, be careful and have fun! Bob,
I so admire your bravery..............not many men would take responsibility for two kids luggage and the hassel of getting from one country to another. None of the men my age would even go out of town under those conditions.They would just go play golf and leave their wives to move from point A to point B, and meet them there when it was all over.
You Are my hero!!!!

Mar 21, 2010 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterMOM

Fantastic post! I'm a Southern Californian living in England for 15 months (heading back in 2 weeks) and still haven't seen Scotland :( where my husband's dear grandmother was born and raised. We're planning on coming back for a SUMMER and do an RV trip across the UK in a couple of years, so I will finally get to see a good bit of Scotland. I'm looking forward to following your French adventure!

Mar 22, 2010 at 1:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterBethany

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