Sunday marked the one week anniversary of my arrival in Edinburgh. Since I am just starting my love affair with this city, anniversaries will be celebrated with fine wine every few weeks/months. By year 4, I expect to be forgetting all about Edinburgh’s and my anniversary and making it up to this beautiful city with bunches of impulse carnations from the gas station. But, right now I am honeymooning. Everything is beautiful, new, and very, very, heartbreakingly special.
I’ve had to adjust to a lot in the past week, the time difference, the melodic canter of the local lingo, the bus schedule, and my darling little flat in Ardmillan (which I just tell everyone is Bruntsfield or “over thataway”). I’ve also had to adjust to being alone. Very.Much.Alone.
After living with my best friend and having family just down the road an hour, being alone is no longer my M.O. It’s still weird, but I feel myself getting more comfortable and brave in my own skin every day. Living alone is the status quo for me, but going out alone has always been a challenge; one I’ve avoided up until this past week. I am happy to say, at the risk of sounding like quite a bit of a weirdo, I’ve grabbed aloneness by the horns and stared it down. We wrestle for control every once in awhile, but some nights, like tonight, I win.
Right now, I’m sitting in the pub next door to my building. Mercifully, their free WiFi doesn’t extend to my flat, so I can’t get away with being a hermit until my internet is up and working (another adjustment – things move slower here. I have been in my flat since Wednesday and still haven’t taken any utilities into my name. But my landlord said I would be “hearing from” the electric company, so…I wait…).
I felt a little strange walking into a pub with my MacBook. I felt a little strange grabbing a seat at a big table for 6 (all that was available). I felt a little strange (like an alcoholic) ordering a large glass of Cabernet and telling the bartender I’d like to open a tab….but, here I am. In a real restaurant. Alone. It used to be my biggest fear (of course, aside from other obvious and rational fears like getting pushed out my window by an angry spinster ghost…)
I can feel myself growing from this experience. I’m playing it cool, but still nervous, so much so that I’ve dropped both my fork and my knife on the floor…twice. Blast. I’ve also been too shy to ask for more cutlery, so I wiped them off on my napkin and effectively ignored everything I ever learned in microbiology.
*drinks more wine* Eh, better.
Today was my first day of school. We had several presentations for day one of orientation. Tomorrow is a bit more orientation and then Wednesday, we dive in. It’s a bit intimidating, I must say, as the grading scale goes all the way down to G or H (somehow, an F isn’t low enough?) My program is small, only 48 people total and I’m already procrastinating reading more about cell biology by writing this post.
We were given a module of cell biology as a “you should already know this by now” review prior to starting the course. Somehow, I didn’t find the time to read through it before I left the US and have made absolutely no progress on it since moving here. Unfortunately, I may have ever so slightly over-estimated my prior knowledge, as, when talking to one of my classmates about the material last night, I found myself delightfully humbled.
We had just finished dinner and were going through the notes together. I asked her if she remembered what the “nucleus” did and then started laughing, interrupting her with,
“J, I’m in so much trouble if they count off for spelling on our exams! If ‘colour’ wasn’t hard enough with the extra ‘u’ I can’t believe all the extra letters in ‘nucleus!’ I mean, seriously, ‘n-u-c-l-e-o-l-u-s?’ What the heck!?”
J looked at me for a second and said, “You mean ‘nucleolus?’ Like the The round granular structure within the nucleus that’s made of protein and RNA?”
The blood drained from my face and I let a 4-letter-word fly.
Then, I started laughing. I have some serious reading to do.
Reading I am somehow already procrastinating…because, when it comes to starting to procrastinate, why waste any time?
I’d say things are off to a fantastic start. Now, I’m going to order a second glass and start that cell bio reading….