Saturday, October 25, 2014

In this moment I am content

Nature is my solace in this transition. There is so much beauty to be found here. The yellowing trees against the blue, grey green sky. The clouds that move so quickly past my window. The wind that stirs and whirls around the edges of the old buildings.

The rain that blows in and stops as soon as it starts, the loch and it’s ripples and reeds. The bench in the sunshine with the breeze in my hair and across my face.

The structures, stacked and layered, cut the sky into parcels. The negative space always evident, a secondary force.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Three weeks in…

Three weeks come and gone. Seems longer, seems short, seems about right. It’s been a strange time. Some days I cry like a child for my things that I left behind and the familiarity of my house, town and routine. Some days I just worry about my left behind things and the graves of my cats but I know I have to let go and trust somehow that they will be okay. Some days it feels like I have lived here my whole life and I am waking up from a dream like in the Wizard of Oz.

Some days I don’t think I have done enough in these past three weeks and I get nervous that I am not living up to my potential. There is some sort of internal/external pressure I feel to have a grand adventure for everyone else who is not able. I do this to myself.

I am having a grand adventure every time I open my eyes and I have done enough.

Evidence: Paper work
Applied for and interviewed for my National Insurance Number (should get in 6 weeks)
Applied for my library card
Name put on the council tax
Name put on gas and electric

Once I get more formal documents with my name sent here (proof of address) I will be able to get a bank account, phone and sign up with a doctor and dentist on the NHS. I will also have my name added to other bills (phone, internet) soon. Also as soon as I start working again properly as a self employed artist I will be applying with the HMRC.

Evidence: Flat
Had name added to the door
Cooked some good meals in the kitchen.
Have the vitamins I need and the tea and shampoo I like (these little things matter)
Have sorted through things with Stewart and we are making more space for me and for us in the flat so it feels more like our place and less just his. This is a tricky balance but I love 90% of Stewart’s things so it is not too hard and he seems ready for a bit of a clear out. So there have been trips to donate to the charity shops and to recycle and trash. Stewart is amazing.

I went to some charity shops last week and got a couple of things on my own for the flat which helped me feel more at home and encouraged future changes. We went to Ikea and bought several items that helped make the flat feel more like us. That is no simple feat without a car but 4 buses and 2 backpacks and big blue bags later we were pretty happy with our new things. It is fun to look at things together and think about how they will work with the things we already have to make it feel more like home. Stewart has been a champion about all of this and each day the place feels more like home for us both. We’ve even been thinking about making “future cat” a reality and I have fallen in love with several tabby’s on the internet but it might still be too soon for a pet. We’ll see…

Evidence: Social
We’ve been to a political rally. We had lunch with Stewart’s mom after the rally. We’ve been to a lovely art opening for Alison at Union Gallery and chatted with Kevin, Keith and Colby. We’ve met up with some of Stewart’s YES Edinburgh North and Leith friends; Jane, Tam, Paul, Craig for curry and drinks. We met up with Stewart’s Dad and youngest sister, Jade at the Word of Mouth Cafe for breakfast. We’ve met up with James for “open doors days” to explore some beautiful places in the city and then had drinks with James and Philip at the Tourmalet. We met up with Jenni at the Tourmalet for a chat. We met up with Maggie and Dave for fresh gifted veggies and beer at the Tourmalet too. (My favorite pub, the Tourmalet features heavily the past three weeks!) I met up with a new friend Jane at a cafe for a coffee by the sea in Portobello. Stewart and I have had our own Portobello trip as well, bumping into his boss/friend from YES headquarters (also named), Stewart. We’ve been to an amazing dinner at Empires Cafe with Ever, Cinnamon, Susan, Sergio, Peikko and Rachel.I just had another lovely/amazing visit with Jenni (and her fabulous cat) at her flat yesterday. We have plans for dinner with Stewart’s mom this weekend and I have another coffee date with a new friend, Annie scheduled for Monday. Have I mentioned that I am an introvert?

Evidence: The City Environs
Stewart and I have walked places most days enjoying the Royal Botanic Gardens, The cycle paths, Old and New Town and Princes Street Gardens (especially the newly reopened bit), The Royal Mile, Dunbar’s Close Gardens, Greyfriars Kirkyard and the parks and cemeteries around the neighborhood. We have browsed shops, went to the Edinburgh Flea Market and eaten at Haq’s curry, Embo, Word of Mouth and City Cafe and of course visited the Tourmalet on numerous occasions and even popped into the Barony (my old favorite).

Three weeks.

While this has happened. I also requested my absentee ballot to be sent to me from home and voted (need to send it back!). I finally managed to have my mail forwarded to my folks, all my utilities turned off back home (once I was over here) and still need to chase down bits of money owed to me from those companies. I have been chatting with my Mom and a possible fix it guy/old friend for the old house and staying involved in that process as it gets rented out. I have also been trying to maintain my non Edinburgh friendships as well. I have managed to write 4 blogs and have taken many photographs.

I am having a grand adventure every time I open my eyes and I have done enough.

And there is something around the edges, I am on the cusp.

Winter is in my bones
Filled with thirsty roots
All the things I gave away without trying
Little packets and parcels
(twine, thimbles, tea, wooden spools)
It’s coming and I will be ready…

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Meanwhile back in Arkansas… Art News!

I was going through papers, making countless trips to the donation and recycling center to clear my house before the big move. I could have just blown off the opportunity and said I was too overwhelmed to participate but that really isn’t my style. Instead, I sat myself down to get my latest paintings “show ready” two days before the gallery deadline. This all happened the week I left Fayetteville to come to Edinburgh…

It felt good to switch gears, get paint on my shirt and have an art moment in my soon to be old studio in the midst of chaos. It was good to be reminded that I was more than moving boxes, yard sales and overwhelmed tears. I was still an artist with deadlines, exhibitions and responsibilities. I am always grateful for the opportunity to show and share my work and this instance was no exception.

I am very pleased to be part of this impressive group exhibition, featuring some of the best abstract artists from around Arkansas; Dustyn Bork, Justin Bowles, Megan Chapman, Donnie Copeland, Sam King, Don Lee, Sammie Peters and Steven Wise.

Abstract ARt- features contemporary modes of painting, drawing, and printmaking exploring the theme of abstraction.The exhibition runs from September 22 – October 31 in the Kresge Gallery in the Alphin Humanities Building at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. If you are in or around the area please stop by before October 31st to catch the show.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Wandering in the sun

It’s 10 pm and I thought a quick post before bed was in order. I want to get in the habit of writing smaller posts but more regularly with this new blog.

This time last week I was getting ready to board my flight from Chicago to Edinburgh. Such a smooth journey. Well, I guess almost anything would seem smooth after months of preparing to leave and selling everything I could. That was exhausting work. I lucked out on the flight, having a whole row to myself and the 7 hour journey was punctuated by sleep, bad films and meals and beverages brought by the friendly air stewards. They even called me Meegan rather than Maygun and anytime a stranger does that I know I am having a good day. I have been here almost a week already and it’s hard to believe. I wouldn’t say I have jet lag but I must as time seems to blur and I am pretty tired here and there.

I am not sure how this starts. How life in another country starts, you know, how it feels official? Right now I am just getting my bearings by going to some of my favorite places. This part might be more honeymoon/holiday but what if life could feel like that always? Perhaps it can.

Right now it is feeling like I never left, like an alternate universe and I have been here the whole time. Sitting at The Tourmalet watching the sun set on the chimneys outside was like taking a warm bath. Walking down the familiar streets and seeing the Arthur’s seat rising up behind the Parliament building and seeing all the Scottish flags waving in the sky was like seeing a technicolor film for the first time. I am not sure if it has hit me that I actually live here.

In the meantime I will keep writing down my observations. I have gotten out and walked every day but one since I arrived. I have enjoyed the shops and the friendly shop keepers. I have enjoyed the grittiness of the city and the majesty of the gardens and green spaces. I have enjoyed cooking meals at home in the flat. I am excited to wake up every morning and have a great cup of tea in front of the living room windows. I am not sure if I am capable of taking things for granted in my life anymore and I am glad. Tomorrow is a new day, let’s see what it holds.