(details of the family part of Christmas to follow in a later post – 2 posts for the price of one: I’m good to you Ewa… )
Christmas rolls around and it’s time to head to wherever your loved ones are, if you’re able to. Last year I stayed home with my flatmates and the wonderful Kal and had, far and away, the best Christmas of my life.
We made cocktails, played games, ate duck, opened presents and had so much fun that I was determined to do something similar every year. Plans changed, however: I moved to Berlin and felt like, this year, I ought to head to the family home in the North of Scotland.
I swithered about staying in Berlin but a number of factors swayed me: many of my Berlin friends would not be around although a few would, but I was scared an orphan’s Christmas this year would not live up to last year’s fun. In addition, my one remaining grandparent is now 90 (or 91- nobody, including him, is really sure…). It could well be my last Christmas with him around. Also, I haven’t mentioned (to be fair everybody who reads this knows me and almost certainly knows already) but I have a boyfriend in Berlin,
Hang on a minute – short interlude… what the hell should I call him on the blog? We have The Ex Husband. We have The Boy (who really needs a new name – I think that one makes him now sound too seminal, feel free to make suggestions). I don’t know if the new boyfriend reads this blog, or if he would object to being featured, so I’ll keep descriptions to a minimum: he’s a gentleman, intelligent, handsome, hilarious and generally about the best thing to happen in a long time- he gives pants-that-have-just-come-off-the-radiator-before-being-put-on a run for their money in terms of awesomeness. However, I think, in the fondest way possible, I’ll call him The Evil Genius.
Anyway, The Evil Genius was going home for Christmas and therefore couldn’t tempt me to stay in Berlin. After all, maybe a break away from the hustle and bustle of Berlin would be welcome? I could see friends in Edinburgh- it was, after all, my home for 10 years. Surely, surely it would be fun.
Erm… no. Largely not.
My parents live in a very isolated location in the North and getting there necessitates a 2 hour flight to Edinburgh, a 3 hour train-ride to Inverurie followed by an hour’s drive to the house. I could have done it all in one day but I decided to stop off at either end of the journey for a night in Edinburgh, my previous home.
I didn’t have any particular feelings this time about visiting Edinburgh – I wanted to see Kal and other friends, but I deliberately didn’t tell The Boy I was coming: seeing him, ever again, is not on my agenda.
I realised Edinburgh feels like a dead place to me now. It feels like everything here is the past, and some of that past is pretty grim. Very few people know how low I got before I came to Berlin: the breakup, following on the heels of a divorce and some very tough circumstances at work all took quite a toll. Just being here brings it back. I don’t like to think about the things I did, the things I thought and said about myself and about my life. Further, it makes me sad to think how many of the happy memories are now fogged, if not obliterated, by the events of the last year or two.
I made some of the strongest friendships I could ever hope for here, was married to a great man and had a lovely home and some fairly major personal successes. I hope that in time those memories will be stronger again than the bad ones and I’ll be able to visit Edinburgh with happiness.
For now though, I’m extremely relieved to be heading back to Berlin in the morning. I didn’t realise before, but to me, now, it feels very different to Edinburgh: it feels like the future, and it feels like home.