The Big Move; An Update on Life in Scotland

Just Hollie Enjoys the Winter Sun

Hello, you. It’s been a minute since I wrote my last blog post on my big move from Norfolk to Scotland (read here if you don’t know what I’m talking about) so I thought you might like to know how I’m getting on!

I cannot believe that it has been 3 months already, I don’t think a period of time has ever seemed to pass so quickly in my life – however if you’d have asked me at the beginning of February I would’ve said it felt like January lasted a year. I won’t pretend it’s been all sweetness and light since we’ve been here, because it hasn’t. December was a breeze, we moved in easily enough, got settled and the Christmas decorations went straight up making it feel instantly like home. I hadn’t started work yet so time was my own and I enjoyed walking into town most days and getting the usual things ready for the festive period. Christmas and New Year were lovely, with us spending the 25th of December on our own as a couple for the first time (it was odd, but nice!) and then travelling down to the Midlands to spend New Year with family. So far so good. Then January came, I started work, the temperature dropped and the lack of sunlight really started to hit me.

It may sound dramatic but I thrive on sunshine – I think I may have mentioned this before once or one hundred times – but it really is true. I didn’t realise before moving up North that they get even shorter days here in the winter, which was bad news for me as I already loathed that time of year back home in Norfolk. I think during December it was a bit of a novelty and I was distracted with the festivities, but January didn’t come easy. Nor did February come to think of it. I know the word gets flung around SO much these days, but I experienced the worst and very real anxiety of my life the last couple of months. Mental health isn’t something I would say I have struggled with much in my life, and I know I’m lucky in that respect, however for around 8 weeks I thought I was going mad and really started to worry. I had a Fiat 500 which I was attempting to drive in the worst rain and wind I’ve ever experienced and driving country roads daily which I’ve never liked; I’d convinced myself I was unsafe and started to dread stepping into my car to get to work. Luckily my husband is THE best man on earth, and quickly swapped out my tiny car for a Jeep Renegade – meaning I didn’t feel like I was going to take off into a field or skid to my death on black ice everyday. That may sound extreme, but I was honestly driving at 20 mph as I was convinced the roads were covered in ice (they weren’t). I was checking the weather on 4 (yes, 4!) different apps around 10 times a day to check if it was going to be icy or if snow was forecast – I was losing my mind over the weather, I’d become obsessed, checking and worrying about it constantly. I don’t know where this fear of the weather came from but I think it’s change related – I was in Scotland, so if snow was forecast obviously it’d be 5 foot and I wouldn’t be able to travel. If it was -1 degrees then obviously because I’m now in the Highlands it would mean the roads were dangerous and I was risking my life travelling. This was of course not the case and it’s simply the unknown, the change and my own head taking a thought and latching onto it in an unhealthy way. The driving fear coupled with a new job, where my office doesn’t have windows, was making my anxiety 100 times worse as I was convinced each day I was going to step out at 5pm to a winter wonderland. It was making me ill. It didn’t help that we’ve had two (or is it three?) named storms since we’ve been here too, making it the worst winter weather-wise for years. The wind whipped at our house, making noises we aren’t used to, all adding to my already frayed nerves.

Sitting writing this now, I almost feel silly at how much of a state I got myself into over the past couple of months, but when you’re in it it feels very real and nothing can snap you out of it. The days have drawn out, the sun is shining through the windows and I’m remembering why we fell in love with the place on our visits house hunting last year – Scotland is majestic and there is so much to explore. Looking back on January and February, I can now see that all of my worries were made catastrophic in my head and if I had simply taken each day as it came, stopped obsessing over the weather and just lived as I would’ve back in Norfolk, I would’ve been fine. But it was the unknown and my brain scaremongering me into thinking it was a different world up here – it isn’t. I’m optimistic that the worst is over, nothing awful happened and next winter I won’t get half as down or anxious, as I’ll know exactly what to expect. And that my friends, is growth. I truly feel we have to put ourselves in these sometimes uncomfortable positions and ride out things we don’t love in order to stretch ourselves as people. I’ve also learnt how valuable a support network is, as without my husband looking after me everyday or visits and messages from friends, I would never have left my own muddled head over those two months and it could’ve been worse. It’s odd how change affects you – I always thought I was good with new situations, but this one was set to test me!

Back to the present time, and everything is going well. The house feels like home – we are loving living in the countryside, waking up to fields each day with pheasants and highland hares putting on a display just outside our front door. We’ve been to a distillery to try and educate ourselves on the local tipple (I’m still not convinced anyone enjoys drinking whiskey!) and we’ve explored our local area enough to not have to use Google maps to travel everywhere. I’ve been to my first bloggers meet since moving which has really made me feel at ease, as it’s not easy to make new friends so far from home. The meet was with ‘The Bloggers Who Brunch’ ladies who are based in Glasgow (50 min train journey from my house) and I was welcomed with open arms which is so lovely.  Oh and I’ve found a good few places to get a good brekkie – essential!

All in all, I would say I was expecting the transition to be easier than it has been, and that was unrealistic to say the least. I thought I would breeze up here with no teething issues, it would feel much the same as Norfolk and it would instantly be love. Norfolk it is not, but that’s fine as Perthshire has a lot to offer in it’s own right and I’m looking forward to a summer of exploring. We do have plans to travel home in the next months for a few things, and I’m slightly apprehensive at the thought of being back home if I’m honest. I’m worried it will make me homesick all over again and take me back to square one, but it’s a risk I’m going to have to take! I’m sure each time we visit and come away again it will get easier and as I said before, it’s encouraging personal growth and I’m all for that. So Scotland, you may not yet have the whole of my heart (that will always belong to Norfolk), but you’re closer than you were and for now, that will do.

Just Hollie xox
Further reading:
New Year, New Goals – Looking ahead to 2020
New friends in old places

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