Scotland Remembered

Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart castles

Beauty in all things down to tapestry tassels.

Glasgow Acropolis, history laid to rest

Tales of bravery, lives cut short, headstones attest

Merchant City, bustling with tourist and native alike

Traffic moves like a blood through veins; be it by car, tram or bike

Aberdeen, Fort William, Aviemore;

These highland towns I truly adore

Perth, Kelvingrove Park, Lanark

You have all left your mark

In my heart, in my soul you’ll always be

The best of my memories, the best of me.

I have left your lovely lands to return to my home

But I miss you deeply, you’re my reason to roam.

Oatcakes, tea and skies as far as the eye can see

Bring back the happiest in my memory;

Dunblane, John o’ Groats and the Isle of Skye,

my soul breathes out a heartfelt sigh

Calming, soothing beauty makes me smile

A journey through this beautiful land does please;

your wild beauty, star-filled skies and crashing seas

Make my heart wish to return again

To the land that I loved when this adventure did first begin.

You’ll always be in my heart, Scotland my dear

I will return someday, never fear.

When I’m sad or lonely or think life’s too much to bear

I’ll return to you, to heal my heart and to repair

my battle-weary soul that has fought for so long

and bow to a power that can’t go wrong

My love of the land, the people and all I know

Scotland, my love, my dream and home to my soul.

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Scotland -Part III

The day after Christmas 2015 found me at the airport, excited, tired and ready to be on my way back to Scotland. I had arrived at the airport at an unreasonably early hour (per my request) and had thoughts of my previous two visits and wondered what this visit would bring. I’d been there all alone, with eyes wide and full of wonderment for my birthday in December 2014, met someone in July that multiplied the happiness, the pleasure of traveling and exploring, not only Scotland, but our personalities, our experiences, hopes and dreams, fears and flights of fancy. I didn’t think I could be happier than I was on my first visit, but the second visit changed all that. What would the third visit bring? Would it be even better or would I have raised my expectations so high that they couldn’t help but fall short? These questions swirled around in my mind as I walked the airport, burning nervous energy and trying to fill my mind with something other than those unanswerable questions.

Well, it’s now almost the end of January and I’ve been back about 3 weeks and I have to say, this time was such an incredible experience. I couldn’t have scripted a better visit, traveling and exploring again, but this time, with hours in the car, talking about nothing and everything at once; taking photos like a mad tourist while speeding down the highways and two-lane roads. Sometimes the only car as far as the eye could see, with endless stretches of gorgeous landscapes, skies full of strange clouds I’d never seen back at home; sunsets and sunrises so beautiful, it takes my breath away each and every day. Being so far away from everything and everyone I know, I found myself. I found the calm I’d always prayed for, the serenity I didn’t think existed and the ability to live fully in the moment, not looking back in regret and not looking forward with fear and anxiety. This couldn’t have been possible without the company I was keeping; I have been a solitary creature by choice most of my life but this was comfortable, effortless and I had the feeling that all was right with the world.

That being said, returning to reality is rarely effortless or comfortable and this time was no exception; the higher you are, the harder you fall. The dizzying heights I had occupied while in Scotland gave way to the deepest depths and dark days (and nights) while my spirit tried to break free of the shackles of everyday life and return to the freedom and wide-open spaces I’d flown; now seemingly a dream I had dreamt. Remembering the calm and trying to get that thought to translate to feeling isn’t the easiest or most natural thing for me to do; I am more prone to go worst case scenario and lock the memory away, for the pain of being away from such bliss is too much to delve into. But this is a new year and the time for change is always, so I am embracing my pain, along with the pleasure the memory holds. Bittersweet is a flavor we’re all familiar with and while it’s not something I’d want to taste at every meal, it’s one of the flavors of life, so it will make an appearance from time to time. Every piece of pain contains a lesson, something learned or experienced that will last far longer than the original discomfort that bore it. It’s easy to say and hard to remember when it happens, but it is a choice. I choose to take the bitter with the sweet, the pain with the pleasure and the heart break with the bliss.

I choose to get up and try again. I choose to belief this, too shall pass. I choose to believe that I will return to Scotland, hopefully again and again, until I am an old lady tottering along with a cane, telling my grandchildren about my time in Scotland over and over again, until they can tell the stories themselves, word for word.

 

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There’s No Place Like Home

I’ve enjoyed my time in Scotland very much and have met some very kind people who were strangers when we met and friends by the time we parted. The one thing about leaving home and going out into the world is that it provides a different view of life, of how one views oneself. Away from the comfort and familiar of home, we tend to find out not only what we are capable of when we break away and stretch our proverbial wings, but we also realize what means the most to us and it usually ends up being something other than our big screen TV or California King bed or even favorite restaurant; it’s the people that make our lives richer, more meaningful and give us a reason to believe that we are important, relevant and cherished. That is why I believe Dorothy had it right when she said, “There’s no place like home”.
On the last night of my first visit to Scotland I want to thank all of the people I’ve met on this trip for their kindness, their willingness to open their hearts to me and give me that feeling of home as well as my friends and family who encouraged me to take this trip and discover myself. I treasure and value you all.

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On Ye Way Lassie

Dec 16, 2014
Love Horoscope for Sagittarius
There’s never a bad time to travel, Sagittarius. Your wanderlust may awaken as innovative Mercury sets sail through your sophisticated second house. This is no time to plan a weekend roughing it at a budget campsite. Instead, think of how enticing cuddling by a fire at a swanky ski lodge would feel, or imagine ringing in the New Year with a belly full of a five-star restaurant’s finest delicacies. Single? To meet a quality mate, you’ll have to frequent quality hot spots—skip the dive bars for a while.

Tomorrow I take off for my first international solo travel adventure and my horoscope (or the creative genius that writes it) sounds as though it is right on track for what I have planned or not planned, as it were. More than a few people have asked me why I’m going alone and why I chose Scotland. I’ll answer the easier of the two first – Scotland is where my father’s family originally came from, so I already feel a connection to it. After reading the Outlander series, I was inspired even more to see the land that held such fascination for me (let’s be honest here – the thought of meeting my own Jamie Fraser held a very strong appeal to me, although Liam will always be first in my heart). As to why I’m traveling alone, I feel as though this is my Vision Quest; my time to go out in the world alone, discover not only new lands and meet new people, but more so to discover myself, who I am when I’m not in the comfort of my everyday world. I want to stretch my wings, test their strength and go beyond what is comfortable, familiar and safe. As far as love goes, it would be nice to meet the man of my dreams, move to Scotland and live out the rest of my days in wedded bliss. But it would be equally nice to just meet a lot of really nice people, trade stories and enjoy the sights, the freedom and spontaneity that comes with no real agenda, other than to enjoy the experience and to grow.

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White the Poem (Revisited)

I had previously posted this poem, which was a class assignment for my Minorities in America Sociology class but it was not the final version. So, here for your reading pleasure is the final version that I had submitted. The assignment asked us to write about our ethnicity/race as we experience it and what it means to us personally.

White.
That’s what you see when you look at me.
No color, bleached of shade and tone,
White, white power, white privilege, white pillars of stone.
It’s symbolic of Conquerors, Superior; the Great Oppressors;
Stealing, taking, maiming, judging, owning, breaking.
White. The Klan. White Robes, White hoods, terror is their making.
White. Snow White. Singer to birds, friends to dwarves, pure as the driven snow.
Kindness and love, light and joy; friend to those in need, never with malice,
A heart free from greed.
White. White trash, trailer trash, poor white trash. Lowest of the low.
No teeth, no drive, no brain, no gain. Loser from the crib,
Destined to be doomed to a life wasted.
Lower than a dog, shunned by all people of all colors.
Not easily disguised, when trying to change it, make it darker,
It burns like fire, then goes back to White.
Inescapable. I have my ancestors to thank for the whitest of white, this skin.
From the Highlands of Scotland, the cool and cloudy lands of Ireland,
My whiteness travels through time, passed down from generation to generation;
White breeds white, no break in the chain, no color to darken.
I was born on the Winter Solstice, the first day of winter.
My skin is not meant for burning sun
And warm climates; it needs the cool and craves skies that are cloudy.
The box I check is Caucasian, but to my own self,
I identify as a proud human of Celtic ancestry,
Born American, raised in the California sun,
Baptized Catholic, educated by nuns.
Seeker of knowledge, lover of truth and Student for Life
I have experienced troubles and am not immune to strife.
The privilege and power of whiteness is something I cannot see;
But it is indelibly a part of me,
This white girl,
Michelle Marie.

Wanderlust Unleashed

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I’ve always loved trains. Ever since I can remember trains have held a special place in my heart. Mysterious ladies with “a story to tell” meet up with tall, dark and handsome men; murder happens on trains, as well as fantastic fights on top of trains with the inevitable tunnel that takes out at least one inattentive bad guy. On a lighter note, trains allow for dining and drinking, sightseeing and socializing, as well. Where the train is going is always the best part because I would imagine places that I had read of in books, seen in pictures and been told of in stories. Ireland, home of part of my ancestry, along with Scotland and bits of France and other assorted lands. Growing up in California, I lived where other girls dreamed about and dreamed about living somewhere cloudy and cool with an ocean between us. I love to travel and although I haven’t journeyed often overseas, I am beyond excited to have booked a trip to Edinburgh this December for my birthday.
Yes, I said December. In Scotland. Crazy? Sure. Do I mind? Not at all.
It will be a quick trip, but as I’m hoping it will only be the first of many trips there, it’s a good start. I’ll spend a Wednesday and Thursday getting there and fly back out on a Sunday (my birthday!) arriving home on Monday. I’ll be home for Christmas, our first since Mom passed, which will be good.
To Mr. Liam Neeson (if you happen upon this post by some cosmic turn of the Universe) I will be in Scotland for 4 days and even if you could just meet me at the airport for a quick hug and a photo, that would be the most treasured birthday gift I can think of. No pressure, though. I know you are a busy man and it is during the insanity that is the Holiday Season.
Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled post.
I have always had this wanderlust and believe it is one of the reasons I used to move every 6 months. Not to a new city or anything, just to a different apartment. They were all perfectly decent places, I would just get anxious and feeling trapped or like I had been there too long and I needed to Get Moving. Ever time I travel, whether by train, plane or automobile I feel better. I love meeting new people, hearing their stories of where they’re going and where they’ve been. I love waking up and seeing a different ceiling, hearing new sounds and seeing new sights. It opens a door for me, allowing me to peek into a different world, culture and energy. Even if I’m going to Jackson, Minnesota I know it will be a different world than the one I left. It helps me to reevaluate what my beliefs are when I see them in a different setting. I guess it’s like the Big Fish in a Small Pond/Small Fish in a Big Pond kind of thing. Lastly, when I do return home, I am thankful to be back to the familiar and the routine, at least until the wanderlust strikes again.