Friday, November 04, 2005

Back to the 'burgh

Edinburgh skyline from Calton Hill

My enormously long, complex and exciting circular journey ended at Platform 10 of Edinburgh Waverley station last Monday. After thirteen months, eleven flights and countless miles I was back where it all started. I can remember my last day in Edinburgh, dragging a huge bag to the station as the police helicopters buzzed overhead for the official opening of the Scottish Parliament. That had been a glorious early Autumn day, but as I walked back into the city last Monday the weather had turned cold and threatening. Of course, that's something of a novelty for me at the moment, so I'm in a kind of honeymoon period where the inevitably awful Scottish weather is rather charming. We'll see how long that lasts. At the moment I'm enjoying my last few days of freedom until I return to work on Monday morning, walking along the rain-slicked streets looking at my favourite city with renewed vigour.

I know there's that famous saying about only appreciating where you live when you've been away from it for a while (although the actual saying is probably more snappy than that). Based on these past few days, I would agree with that. I think if you are fortunate enough to live somewhere you truly love then after a long time there it loses something of it's magic. Inevitable, I suppose - like eating your favourite meal every night until you get sick of it. I was far from sick of Edinburgh, but the year's break has certainly had an effect on the way I look at it. Living in Sydney helped - undoubtably one of the world's greatest cities - indeed that was exactly why I chose to move there.

So the question I've been asked by almost everybody I've bored with my tales is - "Are you glad to be back?" My answer, predictably, is "Yes and no". "That's a cop-out answer" the person usually replies, at which point I tell them I don't need a new kitchen fitted and put the phone down. As I covered above, being back here removes a lot of the downside of returning to the UK from Australia. Surprisingly I'm also not too bothered about going back to work (and I'm not just saying that because my boss reads this). That's partly because I worked whilst I was abroad so haven't just been travelling. and partly because I don't really do much when I'm there anyway (that's a joke, Dorothy). I've spoken to people who had been on a gap year-style global jaunt for twelve months and the thought of returning to an office horrified them almost to the point where they were desperate to keep travelling. Thankfully I'm not up there at all. I always knew my time away was just for a year, so I prepared myself for the inevitable end. That end has come, but at least I've plenty of things to daydream about as I sit at my desk on Monday (another joke there, honestly....)