Arriving

January 3, 2021

I want to tell you how I got here, and what I’m doing, and what’s in store. In the weeks leading up to my departure, the days passed in a blur as they often do. Time seemed to be moving exceptionally fast and I had that heightened sense of awareness for everything around me because I knew they very soon wouldn’t be. 

I purged closets, I tidied drawers, I binged Ozark, I tried to speed read through books and failed. Then, suddenly, it was December 29 and I was at the airport with two suitcases and a brand new backpack. 

I hugged Mommy and Papa outside. I didn’t look them in the eye; I couldn’t. I guess that was me turning away from sadness. 

Anyway, I walked into the airport alone and tried to scan my passport but it wasn’t letting me check in so I spoke to the West Jet lady. I remember it sounded funny when she said my name because I haven’t heard a random person say my name in a very long time. 

She told me all the flights to the UK were suspended as of December 24. The old me would have probably cried or called someone in a panic when she heard that, but I don’t do that anymore. Instead, I asked her what we could do about it and she recommended some alternative routes, like flying through Amsterdam, except I couldn’t do that because I didn’t have my negative Covid test. I spoke to the Air Canada people next and they told me about a flight that flew from Vancouver – Toronto – London that left in 1.5 hours. They also told me I’d have to quarantine in London since it wasn’t possible to travel within the UK anymore. Well, I booked the flight, I went through security, found my gate, and looked up London hotels. 

The plane took off. I watched Jojo Rabbit and cried at all the mother-son scenes, especially the happy ones. I also cried at the quoteLet everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is finalby Rainer Maria Rilke because it made me think of everything I felt this year and gave me hope. 

I got to London at 8:30 in the morning and found my way to Terminal 5. It was hard to be in London, even for a little while. Memories and all that. But I got through it, as you do. 

The Air Canada people must have been misinformed – as people often are – as I was able to buy a ticket to Edinburgh on the spot. (This is why you can’t believe everything people tell you). 1.5 hours later I was en route to Scotland. The security lady said I had to fit all my liquids into the plastic bag but one item didn’t fit. ‘I wouldn’t throw away my lippy if I was you,” she said. “You can buy another hand sanitizer anywhere.” So I sacrificed my safety for beauty. 

There was snow on the ground when I arrived which was delightful. It looked and felt like a fresh start. I took the 100 bus and got off at Princes street to transfer to the No 16. But first I had to run into Boots to buy soap because I needed change for the bus since my credit card wasn’t working for reasons unknown. 

I got off the bus at St. Anthony’s Place. My roommate met me there and we walked to the flat which had a blue door. It was surrounded by all these other doors that had pots of flowers and various plants in front of them but I tried not to be bothered by first impressions. 

We were on the top floor of a spiral staircase. There was no elevator, of course. So heaving and hoing, I dragged my suitcase up the flights and found myself in front of a firetruck red door. My room has a view of cobbled streets, and mountains, and basically everything I ever wanted. There’s a desk right by the window, too, which I think is the perfect spot for a desk. 

I hung dresses onto empty clothes hangers, neatly folded sweaters and jeans to tuck them into drawers, and placed my lone book, Les Belles Images, on the shelf. I hung my bags on hooks on the back of the door, put my toiletries in the bathroom. And when my suitcases were empty, I placed them on top of the wardrobe and then moved them underneath the bed because that seemed like a better spot. 

My room! A bed, a wardrobe, a desk, a drawer, an empty bookshelf, a mirror, a rug, a chair. 

There is something special about completing a long and arduous journey, and finally putting away the last of your things, and looking around your new space. I stood on the bed, I lay on the floor staring up at the ceiling, I poked my head out the window, I opened and closed cupboards for no reason. I got that feeling…you know the one? It feels warm, like a blanket. Safe and secure too. 

It’s the feeling of arriving home.

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