Our first few days in Edinburgh felt like a dream. After so many months of dreaming about being back in Edinburgh, planning our move, preparing to leave, and 44 hours of travel, it was hard to believe that this was our new reality. We were incredibly jet lagged, so we woke up super early (we’re talking like 4am), went for long walks before the rest of the city was even awake, and tried to adjust to the 35-40 degree temperature drop (celsius, it was a 70 degree fahrenheit change). We went crazy for Starbucks (there’s no Starbucks in Adelaide, and I LOVE Starbucks Christmas drinks), set about hitting up our favourite Edinburgh restaurants, indulged in a few too many cupcakes from our favourite bakery, and spent a lot of time taking photos of everything around us.
I don’t really think anything can prepare you for just how it feels to move country. I’d already done it once before, when I started my exchange in 2015, but even this time felt different. Sure, for my exchange I’d arrived in a new place with two suitcases, not for a holiday but for 6 months. This time, however, we arrived with no return ticket or plans on leaving, no end date, nothing but a passport (visa for Alex), and a list of things to do in order to properly settle into life in Edinburgh.
I think it took us about a month before our lives over here began to feel real, not just like an extended holiday. That month was undoubtedly wonderful, filled with lazy days, LOTS of reading and Food Network, lots of couple time, and lots of walking. It felt like there was no one but the two of us, locked away in our little flat, exploring this new adventure together. I’ll be honest, it was a bit of a shock to come out of that headspace into the ‘need to find work and a flat because this is where we live now’ mindset. That said, I don’t regret having that time to ourselves to just enjoy Edinburgh. Of course, not everyone has the luxury of being able to spend a few weeks ‘on holiday’ in the city they’re moving to. Maybe jobs start straight away, or the stress of flat hunting/job hunting starts immediately. But if you have the opportunity, make the most of the time you have between arriving and really starting to settle in. It’s like the most wonderful holiday ever, except instead of flying back at the end of it, you get to stay.