Favourite Things and Hard Things

It’s a new month and that’s exciting. I suppose there are probably people out there dreading February in the same way one might dread going to the dentist, but personally, I’m looking forward to it. February: the month of the year I need to spell out letter by letter every time I write it down, just so I don’t forget that tricky ‘r’. Feb-roo-ary. 

Suddenly, Christmas seems forever ago and spring feels just around the corner. Perspective is such a funny thing; I love it. 

I’ve officially been living in Edinburgh a month now which is both crazy and not crazy at all. It’s crazy because I’m in Edinburgh and it’s not crazy at all because me being here is the realization of an old dream. 

I don’t know why I’m so full of beans about February except that I’ve been excited about pretty much everything lately. I’m excited to wake up; I’m excited to make dinner; I’m excited about soft sweaters; I’m excited to put on mascara. Maybe it’s simply the magic of being in a new place and having this fresh start. And maybe this zest will eventually fade and dim like a burnt out lightbulb (isn’t that what usually happens to intense feelings?) and maybe everything will turn upside down by tomorrow…

But I’m okay with that. I’m being careful not to hold on to this feeling too tightly. Good feelings don’t last forever. But the good news is that neither do bad ones. 

After a month in Edinburgh, I feel like I am finding my feet here, and settling in, and getting comfortable. I don’t feel so much like a guest in someone’s home anymore. Because this is slowly becoming my home too. 

The delivery man from Hermes came to drop off a package for me this afternoon and it was the same delivery man who came last time. Both times I met him at the top of the stairs because I was so excited and I think he was surprised but also happy because I saved him walking at least ten steps to the door.

Then, at Lidl, the same cashier lady rang my groceries through for me. She had short brown hair and an accent that sounded like she was from Eastern Europe. I remember her because she asked me to pull down my mask so she could make sure I was old enough to buy wine. 

I know I don’t know these people, but at the same time, I kind of do. If I saw them walking down the street, I would definitely recognize them and that makes me feel like I’m becoming part of this community. It’s a warm feeling…to feel like you are becoming part of something. 

When things open back up again, I’m going to find a favourite coffee shop, and a favourite second-hand bookshop, and a favourite place to eat fish and chips. And when/if people come to visit, I’ll be able to give recommendations, or say, let’s go here, they have the best almond pastries. And I think that will feel good, too. Not because I want to push my favourite places onto people but because I’ll finally have my own favourites to share. Favourite places that I discovered on my own instead of just enjoying other people’s and adopting them as mine too. 

And also because having a favourite place will mean that I’ve been in a city long enough to discover a favourite place. 

Last year at this time, I had just climbed Volcan Acatenango which I thought was the hardest thing I had ever been through in my life. It was incredibly hard but that was before I went through heartbreak. In any case, I survived both. And I’ll survive the next inevitable hard thing, too.

I figured out that I’m pretty good at getting through hard things, and that I can be pretty brave even though I feel quite uncertain a lot of the time, and also that life is really just a collection of hard things and easier things, with the discovery of favourite things in between. 

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