Working proper grown-up hours (not even properly full-time, just a little over 30 hours a week) is the best thing ever. I love it because I have money, and a routine that I never obtained in Australia, despite my best efforts. Having set hours and not having to scrape and scramble for casual shifts is so much better for my mental health. I’m just a wee bit tired while I’m getting used to it. However, I’ve still made lots of time for socialising – meeting friends for cake dates, doing book clubs, wine and cheese nights and catch up dinners at the pub, Skyping besties, Harry Potter trivia and all sorts of lovely things that remind me why I was so overwhelmed last year. I was working and socialising too much, but I think I am learning how to strike a balance over here, working and playing and making sure I have enough sleep and time to myself. It’s a learning curve, but it’s working. I also have an appointment with a counsellor booked soon. It is more pre-emptive than anything else because I’ve been feeling so good over here, but I think of it as a bit of a tune-up.
Sean and I finally used the voucher that my parents purchased for my birthday. It was for a restaurant on the Shore called Roseleaf and it was brilliant – really cosy, cute décor, with old-fashioned hats and books and even a typewriter surrounding the tables, and lovely dishes. The menus were inside old editions of National Geographic and I ate more food than was strictly sensible…we went for a long walk afterwards to digest.
We’ve had our first proper visitor (“proper” meaning someone who is actually staying with us in our flat) and it’s actually been less claustrophobic than I anticipated. Unfortunately, our guest has been sick as a dog, culminating in a late-night appointment at the hospital to try and sort out this mysterious illness that’s kept him pretty much bed-bound for five days. Thankfully, he’s on the mend and yesterday we drove out to Kelso in the Scottish Borders to get some sort of use out of the rental car that was booked before he became ill. Kelso is a lovely little market town – it has an enormous ruined abbey that I will definitely be back to check out (it’s free to go in, but the gates were locked when we walked past). We met lovely Bec and her lovely fella for dinner at a pub that was extremely cheap compared to anything in Edinburgh, and had some really delicious meals. We walked through the town square and out past the abbey to the River Tweed, one of the most expensive and renowned salmon fishing spots in the UK. The sun was setting and everything about the way the light was moving reminded me why I picked Scotland and why I love this place so much. We drove back in the dusk, and were just commenting on how dangerous it feels to drive in country Australia at this time of night (because of the kangaroos), when a deer jumped out onto the road! We are fine, and Sean didn’t hit it or anything, because the deer hopped out of the way of the car, whereas a kangaroo would probably just throw itself headfirst at us. We also saw rabbits and what I think was a dead badger, but a deer on an asphalt road was a first for me.
Because I can’t resist a bit of good old-fashioned study, I’ve signed up for yet another online course, but this one is run through the Scottish Government Library and focuses on social media, copyright, information searching and evaluation etc. A lot of it will undoubtedly cover things I already know, but there’s a few bits and pieces that look interesting to me, and it all counts toward the professional development scheme I’m enrolled in back in Aus. It is less of a time commitment than the other study I have done this year, which is probably a good thing now that I have so much paid work to be getting on with…