Edinburgh Europe Expat Life Musings Scotland

Reflections on Six Months in Edinburgh

Nov 08

Edinburgh Calton Hill

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.

Edinburgh Castle Black & White Edinburgh Bagpiper Edinburgh Scott Monument
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 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.

Edinburgh Castle B&W
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?

12 Comments

  • Reply Alice A Nov 10 at 7:19 am

    A year later, I still regard going on international exchange as the best decision I’ve ever made in both my life and my degree. It 100% changed everything about me – myself, my goals, my attitude.

    • Reply ashleywanders Nov 16 at 6:30 pm

      So glad to hear you had such a positive experience on your exchange, Alice! I still regret the fact that I didn’t go on an international exchange when I was in school!

  • Reply LC Nov 10 at 1:40 pm

    It’s a strange thing, to live in a city where you find yourself unable to set down roots, whatever the core reason may be. It feels like you’re stuck in a parallel universe – living a life that’s not quite your own. I guess at least you can say at this point that there’s nowhere else you’d rather be. I say don’t worry about the future as much as you are able to. There’s never any way of knowing how things will turn out – and life often has a strange way of working itself out in any case.

    • Reply ashleywanders Nov 16 at 6:59 pm

      You’re so right, LC – it’s exactly like living a life that’s not quite my own! And thank you for your sage advice. Think I need to make more of an effort to live in the moment and worry less about the future!

  • Reply K. Nov 10 at 3:58 pm

    I’ve been in The Middle East for almost three months… but am flying home (to Wales!) for 2 weeks over Christmas… And am strangely terrified I’ll revert back to the miserable, agitated, restless person I was when living in the UK. 🙁

    • Reply ashleywanders Nov 16 at 7:02 pm

      I’m sure 2 weeks will fly by so quickly that you won’t have time fall back into that old version of yourself! Especially if you know you’ll be heading back to the Middle East 🙂

  • Reply Edna Nov 12 at 11:26 am

    Love the black and white photos! Enjoy the rest of your time in Edinburgh while you have it, and I look forward to hopefully meeting you (and talking all about expat life haha) in January!

    • Reply ashleywanders Nov 16 at 7:05 pm

      Thanks, Edna! We definitely need to meet up and have a chat about expat life 🙂

  • Reply Amanda - Lesson Plans & Layovers Nov 24 at 10:09 pm

    Edinburgh honestly is the most captivating city I have been to yet – I am dying to return…and your pictures have me aching to get back there!

    • Reply ashleywanders Nov 29 at 11:02 am

      Edinburgh is definitely one of the most captivating places I’ve ever been, as well! Hope you make it back here soon 🙂

  • Reply Angélica Mar 29 at 2:34 pm

    Hey just found your blog and woah do I relate! I fell in love with Edinburgh as well and dreamt about moving there for years! That dream has worn off a bit but I really like reading your blog! Edinburgh is amazing, it feels like home to me 🙂

    • Reply ashleywanders Mar 30 at 6:16 pm

      So glad you’re enjoying reading my blog, Angélica 🙂 Edinburgh is such an incredible city, and it’s quickly come to feel like home for me as well!

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