Over the course of a few months we had come up with what seemed to be rather interesting thought, and it sat there for a while.
I thought it was a good idea and Jeff was equally excited by its possibilities, but still it sat there, the pros and the cons constantly rearranging. From our home in Ventura, life in the UK was rather intangible. Our worries about survival on the other side, Jeff’s plans for 10 months, how this would impact our students and how we would support ourselves were rather concrete. Going to school in the UK solved about as many problems as it created.
It was rather fortuitous that we had planned THE Scotland trip for September 2013. Jeff’s grandfather grew up in Fife. Jeff spent much of his childhood hearing about his grandfather’s home. Scotty took him to caber tossing competitions, told him stories about his ancestors, instilled in him a love of Scotch and repeatedly reminded him that he was the real Scott that Jeff could only aspire to be. It was all out of love.
Jeff had been planning this trip for a very long time. We spent two weeks in a Fiat covering as much of the Island as humanly possible. Our B&B hosts regularly scoffed at our itinerary. Living in Southern California has a tendency to skew your idea of what is an acceptable amount of time to be in a car.
We loved Edinburgh, but we loved the country more. Early on in the trip we stayed on the coast in Leven, near Scotty’s hometown of Buckhaven. We walked by the site of Scotty’s house, took pictures outside of his pub (appropriately named Ye Auld House), and stood on the sand lined with fishing boats. We then drove 30 minutes north to the small coastal town of St. Andrews.
The university there is the oldest in Scotland, its cathedral the setting for the spark of the Scottish Reformation. It was difficult to ignore the peace we felt there. All the cons seemed slightly less significant standing on the cliffs overlooking the North Sea.
For me, our trip to Scotland changed my whole perspective. It took us months and a actual acceptance letter to finally come to place where we were sure this was right for us, but I kept coming back to the calm certainty I felt that day. The obstacles and risks were unchanged, but I began to see that maybe we were meant to be there, in spite of and because of all that comes with stepping out into uncertainty.