The beginning of November marked a minor milestone in my life: I’ve been living in Edinburgh for six months. It’s been six months since I returned to the city that captured my heart when I first visited more than three years ago; a city that I eventually became so hesitant to return to, and a city that I quickly fell in love with all over again.
On one hand, it feels like six months has passed in the blink of an eye; I can distinctly remember wandering Edinburgh’s streets on my first day back with nervous excitement and uncertainty at what lie ahead, but it also somehow feels as though I’ve been here much longer, like my life has been rooted here for years.
I owe a lot to this city and to the lovely people I’ve met here. At the risk of sounding completely cliché, I feel like Edinburgh has changed me for the better: it has inspired me and re-energized me, and it’s helped me to uncover aspects of my personality that had long been buried by fear, resentment, and self-doubt.
One of the reasons I chose to come to Edinburgh was because I was in a rut back home. My life had become stagnant in most aspects – certain people and circumstances were constantly draining my energy, my job had become monotonous and mindless, I felt uninspired and uncertain, and spent the majority of my time living vicariously through others.
At the time I didn’t realize what a profound impact all of these things were having on me, but now after six months, I look back in retrospect and can see I had become a version of myself that I wasn’t necessarily proud of. I was regularly anxious and angry, I lost my patience over trivial things, and I had become indifferent about life in general.
Despite having a close-knit and supportive group of friends and family, I sometimes felt like an outsider, mildly misunderstood at the best of times, and like a complete foreigner at the worst. Don’t get me wrong, I was (and still am) grateful for my life back home, but I needed a change.
This anniversary has triggered a mix of emotions: I’m so grateful to be living in Edinburgh, continually getting to know this city that I love so dearly on an intimate level, but I’m also feeling pangs of sadness. The clock continues to tick down on my work visa, and my days in Edinburgh are inevitably numbered.
It’s a strange feeling knowing my life here has an expiry date, and I can’t help but feel as though I’ll once again end up leaving Edinburgh with a heavy heart and a longing to return.
Has living abroad/moving to a new city changed your life for the better?