The Festive Season
Ok. A tip. No matter how tough you think you are, don’t uproot your life and move overseas away from everything and everyone you know over the holiday season. I thought it sounded fun. But it was not. I got to spend most of Christmas Day with my family but in the lead up to New Years I was feeling very lonely.
Thankfully I wasn’t as alone as I thought. A friend of mine just happened to be in Edinburgh with her family at the time and we met up. She then invited me to join her for Hogmanay and NYE. I have to say she was a lifesaver during those first few weeks. If you’re a reader or you’ve got kids, you may know her. Her name is Jessica Townsend and she is the author of the fabulous and hugely popular Nevermoor Series. Check the books out if you haven’t – it’s Harry Potter for a new generation!
The 31st December was a big day for me – not only did I participate in Hogmanay (more on that later), I went with my AirBnB roomies to a place called North Berwick. In the three months I lived in Edinburgh, I went three times. That’s how much I loved this little beachside town. It’s only a short train or bus ride from Edinburgh, definitely worth a day trip next time you visit.
My AirBnB host Nic invited me and her roommate Agata to have lunch with her family in North Berwick. I fell in love with this little town. It’s so beautiful and there are dogs everywhere!
Hogmanay is the Scottish word for their New Year celebrations. Unlike many other countries, Hogmanay is not confined to just New Year’s Eve. I signed up for the Torchlight Procession, an annual march through the streets of Edinburgh thrusting your flaming torches in the air. It is a stunning sight to behold – and to be a part of! The Torchlight Procession sees thousands of people lighting a flaming torch and marching through Edinburgh with – of course – a bagpipe accompaniment. Where did it come from? This tradition is reminiscent of the ancient customs of Scottish Hogmanay parties from years back. Hundreds of years! It’s an old Scottish tradition that involves bonfires and torches – since fire is a symbol of rebirth and new beginnings. Learn more about Hogmanay here.
So, despite the cold, I joined the 2019 Hogmanay Torchlight Procession. It was a long night, I will admit, and lots of standing around waiting for it to begin (there were a lot of people to coordinate) but it was worth it! Once we got marching and the bagpipes started playing… I won’t forget that night. Not ever.
New Year’s Eve
I wasn’t sure how NYE was going to go. Jess invited me to join her family in the Street Party – not normally my kind of thing but I thought why not?! The Street Party itself was a bit naff – just a bunch of people drinking and shoving their way about – but luckily for us there were the Edinburgh Christmas Markets. We hid ourselves away in there and had a great night! We ate tasty goods, went on the Merry-Go-Round and rode the Ferris Wheel. Jess and I are both afraid of heights, so not sure why we did that but hey, it’s done now.
We watched the fireworks and saw in the New Year. I felt good – hopeful. For me, home is not the place. It’s the people. So having some friends to spend my time with definitely lifted my spirits.