Four years ago, we visited Scotland for the first time and we fell in love with this amazing country, so when our son was admitted to one of the best universities in Glasgow, my husband and I thought “why not?” And here we are, we moved from Spain to Scotland in less than 2 months.
My husband and I are freelance translators, we just need our laptop and good broadband to work, that gives us a lot of freedom. So at the beginning of this year, we had everything planned: we would sell our house and, in Spring, we would pack everything, and take advantage of our holidays to drive from Madrid to Glasgow, and enjoy the long nice trip. Yeah… a great plan, but life is full of surprises, like a pandemic. In March we were under a strict lockdown, only allowed to leave the house to buy food once a week.
During the three months, we were in lockdown, I felt frustration, anger, sadness, concern. I am the kind of person who needs to have everything under control, but the whole world was on standby, and there was nothing I could do. It was then when I started to write down how I felt, my dreams, my plans; writing helped me to cope with the situation. I kept thinking that, at any moment, things would improve, we would be released and could continue with our plan, so I looked for a notebook I could use as an agenda to schedule my work, a journal that would help me to stay focused, and a planner for To-Do lists, expenses, savings, etc. As you probably have guessed, I found the perfect item: A Traveller’s Notebook. Online orders could take months at that moment, but I was lucky and found a shop in Madrid, so I got my beautiful brown TN in a couple of weeks. I fell madly in love with it!! I found my new addiction. The online shop just sold the TN and some inserts and items, so I started looking for other shops overseas, and found Baum-kuchen, those peaceful and elegant videos on YouTube, those nice artifacts… It was almost summer, the lockdown was almost over and we were waiting for our son’s university to confirm the beginning of the course and the opening of the Spanish and British borders, and I could not place an order because at the time the parcel arrived we would probably be in any other place if we managed to sell our house on time. I decided to wait until I was settled in Scotland and thought of it as a reward for all the difficulties I was about to face. During this adventure, two of their statements came frequently to my mind: “be the light” and “Journey is the destination.”
Notwithstanding all the challenges of the pandemic, at the beginning of August, we had sold the house which had been our home for 16 years. It was tough, lots of memories, lots of conflicting emotions, but we went on with it. Things were getting worst with coronavirus again, the cases were increasing, so there was no time for a trip by car, and we sold it too. Our amazing new car, just one-year-old. But what was the point of diving a right-hand-drive car in a left-hand-drive country? Always looking to the bright side of life!
Things, all I have talked about till now are just things. Things are replaceable, but people are not. The toughest part of departing was leaving my family and friends. In just two weeks we had to decide what to take with us in 2 cases each. 100kg of clothes, books, laptops… things. Then you realize how many not-really-useful things you have. And you understand that you do not need 5 pajamas, but you do need your family and your closest friends.
On the 23rd of August, my son and I took a flight to Bristol, where one of my dearest friends would have us at least for the compulsory quarantine of 14 days. My husband stayed in Spain for 3 weeks more to leave everything settled. During those 3 weeks, we got the pre-settled status to be prepared for Brexit, tried to open a bank account (tricky when you don’t have proof of residence), and found a place to stay for another 3 weeks in Glasgow, hoping we could find a house to finally settle.
On the 14th of September, we eventually met in Glasgow. At the door of the flat, we were staying you could read: “Home is not a place; it is a feeling”.
During those 3 weeks in a flat in the center of Glasgow, my husband did his quarantine, and my son and I found a nice house to live in, unfurnished, but beautiful and with really big windows. We had to buy everything, spoons, mattresses, mugs, chairs… ¡everything! For 10 days we used big boxes acting as tables to work and eat, but it was OK. With all the challenges and restrictions due to the coronavirus, we made it. Our house now looks like the Autumn catalog of a well-known company, it was the quickest and cheapest solution, but it is cozy and comfortable, and it is our home.
I miss my family and my friends, but we do video calls frequently, and they will visit us when this pandemic allows us to travel. I have learned that we need just a few things to live a comfortable life, that our home is that feeling of being together, that we can make our dreams come true, no matter what, not even a pandemic is enough to stop us.
In the meantime, we never stopped working, we had projects to deliver and new ones coming (we translate medical documents, so amid a pandemic, there is no rest for us!). My Traveler's Notebook has been with me all this time, I write down my deadlines, my appointments, I journal every day, and my long To-Do lists are now a bit shorter. Last week I could finally place my order to Baum-kuchen, my reward, my amazing treat. We are now settled in beautiful Scotland, but the adventure is never over. Life is too short to stay still.
written by Mercedes Pacheco