Hello New Year. I still can’t believe that 2020 has turned into the year that it has. I hope that we can all make the most of it, in spite of everything that is happening. Once Australia’s borders open up (fingers crossed), I plan to spend the year seeing as much of Australia as I can manage. Then hopefully the rest of the world will start to open up and I can return to Scotland. It’s unlikely to happen anytime soon, sadly. It breaks my heart when I think about it too much, so let’s move on.
I was in full job-hunting mode. I tried to get a job before I left but I wasn’t having any luck. Once I got to Scotland, however, things fell into place relatively quickly. I got a part-time job in mid-January at a bookstore I had been following back home. A new bookstore – The Portobello Bookshop. The owner, Jack, is a lovely man and very kindly gave me some casual work! It wouldn’t pay the bills but it was a start and it felt so good to be working with books again. Everyone who worked there was lovely as well and I felt right at home surrounded by books in that gorgeous bookshop. Unfortunately, he’s had to close his doors temporarily because of the virus. I can’t wait until he reopens and I go back – I would love to work there again.
While the full-time job hunt continued, I had a bit of relief from my homesickness. Two of my best friends just so happened to be living in Birmingham, England. We decided to meet up in Portugal for a bit of an adventure together! I hadn’t seen Analise and Tom in over six months, so it was amazing to catch up.
I’ve been to Portugal before but last time I went down south to Sintra, Lisbon and Lagos. I also went in Summer, which made a real difference. This time we went up north to Porto, Braga and Aveiro. If you’re only planning a short trip to Portugal, I would recommend the south and during warmer climates if possible. It depends what you’re looking for – the north is definitely worthwhile too – but Sintra, Lisbon and Lagos are more impressive, I think.
The Coopers are in town
My dad is English – hence the ease of living and working in the UK thanks to my British Passport. His sister, Karen, lives in a place called Chelmsford. I have three cousins – Lauren, Nadya and Aaron. I hadn’t seen them in years! Karen and Nadya decided to come for a visit and we had so much fun!
We went on a Rabbie’s Tour (more on them later), visited North Berwick (told you I’m obsessed) and explored Edinburgh’s highlights like Edinburgh Castle.
Lots happened while they were visiting. I had a few full-time job interviews and I found an apartment! It was great to have their support during all of that – I was a bundle of nerves for one of the interviews. I really miss them now! Nadya and I are already dropping ideas for where we might go next on a cousin adventure (Iceland, anyone?!) – cannot wait!
The Apartment and the Roommate
This place was perfect. Literally across the road from where I was already staying. No more than a 15 minute walk into the city centre. Cheap, big, nice landlord… and a great roommate! Maja is her name. She’s a 21 year old student from Poland. She reached out to me on Spareroom about ‘buddying up’ and finding an apartment together. I thought it was a weird concept but beggar’s can’t be choosers so I figured why not. We met up and instantly clicked. I knew straight away that I wanted to live with her. Luckily we found this apartment within maybe a week of knowing each other. It all happened so fast. I met the landlord on a Rabbie’s Tour (he was the tour guide) and we got talking. I met him on the Saturday, saw the apartment on Monday and we moved in on Thursday.
Great apartment? Tick. Great roommate? Tick. Happy days? Tick.
It was such a great area too – right in the thick of it – lots of shops and near the city. It was a beautiful walk into the city too, with a great view of Arthur’s Seat.
Maja is still there, holding down the fort during the virus. I hope more than anything that I can return to living with her when I go back but I guess it depends on how long it is before I can return to Edinburgh.
Question: What’s the best way to make friends?
Answer: At a F.R.I.E.N.D.S trivia night, of course!
My friend back home put me in touch with a friend of hers living in Edinburgh. Gabby, a talented photographer, woo-woo enthusiast and all-round wonderful human being. Needless to say we became instant friends. She brought a bunch of us together for this trivia night at a cool bar in Edinburgh and the rest, as they say, is history. A group formed. There was karaoke, there was pizza and outdoor fire pits, there was a Simon at one point (in-joke, never mind lol) and there was plenty of CRAFT.
Craft night began. A weekly extravaganza where you were expected to bring your nerd game. We watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S, ate and drank lots of bad (good) food and completed a craft of choice. I was (and am still) doing Diamond Dotz. Some drew, some crocheted, some did Lego. I loved my new little group and gosh I miss them! Most of them were Australian and some (including Gabby) have ended back up in Australia too. I’m not the only one desperate to get back to Scotland ASAP.
Gabby and Billy are both amazing photographers (Billy is also a kick-ass graphic designer, like FOR REAL MIND BLOWING STUFF). I’ve linked their Instagram pages for you guys – check them out now. Go go go. Since I’m a budding photographer, it was unreal to have them as friends. Their incredible photos were not only inspiring, but they were so supportive and gave me tips and encouragement every step of the way. Great peeps. Miss them.
I think I’ll stop my blog post here for now. Since I’m only halfway through January and there’s so much more to tell you! I’ll do another blog (perhaps a few) later with the rest.
~ Bronwyn xo