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« Landed | Main | Ah, Abruzzo »

There's No Place Like...

"I would like to spend the whole of my life traveling, if I could anywhere borrow another life to spend at home."
                                                                                                        -  William Hazlitt

I've owed you this post for a long time. When the first wheels were set in motion many months ago I assumed it would come out naturally, that I would even share more nitty-gritty details about the whole thing than you'd probably care to know. But then the days kept slipping past; I kept saying soon, I'll write about it soon, but there were always too many other things to do, too many tasks higher on the ever-expanding to-do list. And then before we knew it, it took over our lives completely, consumed every waking minute with planning and details and endless preparation until all of a sudden here we are, seven short days away, and not only have I not found the time to continue the normal food-related programming, I still haven't told you the news.

So, enough procrastinating; it's time to come clean. Next Saturday Manuel and I are putting ourselves and the few belongings that are not currently deep in the bowels of a transatlantic freighter on a one-way flight to the other side of the world. We're going to the land of spruce trees and salmon, the wild and tumultuous Pacific and the stately city on Puget Sound called Seattle. We're going home, and this time we're staying.

To be honest, it still hasn't sunk in. For the life of me I can't fathom that a week from tomorrow I will no longer be able to say I live in Scotland. I can't believe that medieval castles and cobblestones will no longer be part of my daily commute, and that I won't be instantly distinguished by my accent anymore. I can't imagine being so far from Europe, the continent I've called home for a third of my life, and which I know I will miss so intensely that at times it will seem like physical pain. I have no idea what it will actually feel like to celebrate Thanksgiving again, to not have to start thinking about Christmas plans eight months in advance, to talk to my family on the phone and know their clocks are reading the same time as mine. Above all, I can't imagine what it will be like to not be homesick anymore.

We've been actively planning this move for about ten months, and dreaming of it for longer than that, but it's still big, scary and uncertain. We'll have no guaranteed employment or income on arrival; just the savings we've set aside to see us through the first few months. We'll have no car, no furniture, no place to live. We'll have no experience with the maze that is the American healthcare system. Poor Manuel will have to learn things like pounds, gallons and temperatures in Farenheit. And both of us will have to learn to cope with living in a city where not everything is a fifteen-minute walk away.

What we do know is that there will be mountains and ferries and sushi and blackberries. There will be Trader Joe's and Uwajimaya and more farmer's markets than we can shake a stick at. There will be a whole new country, continent and hemisphere to explore. There will be a clean slate, new lives, new freelance careers, and almost certainly more time to devote to this site. There will also be family nearby, my mother and stepfather, my father and stepmother, and my three younger brothers who have grown from boys to men in my absence. There will hopefully be a dog, and a garden, and a kitchen big enough to invite someone else in for a drink while I chop the onions.

Most importantly, we know that we're ready for change, and that we've made this decision with the best compass we own: not our heads, but our hearts.

So cross your fingers and wish us luck on the first stage of this crazy, terrifying, exhilarating adventure. There's probably going to be a few weeks of radio silence while we begin to settle into our new surroundings, but I promise to be back with an update just as soon as I can.

See you on the other side, friends.


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Reader Comments (82)

May your journey be swift and uneventful, and your arrival be on a perfect, warm, sunny day.

Wow! How very exciting! I'm sure it's frightening, too, but having family there will make a huge difference in getting settled. Best of luck and happy trails!

June 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKitt

Traveling mercies on life's new journey ...

June 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAlanna

I will be glad to be sharing a continent with you again my friend, and I look forward to making my first trip to Seattle one of these days to come and have that drink in your kitchen ;)

June 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMichele

Here's to smooth sailing and an easy adjustment to life in your new adventure!

June 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLucy V

There are some people on "the other side" who will be mighty glad to welcome you home! :>

June 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlynn

Welcome home (almost!). What a transition you will be making. But I'm writing you from Bellingham, WA, and it's sunny and gorgeous and I'm almost off to the farmer's market. We Washingtonians have more food goodies than you can shake a stick at. Think of the wine tasting! I hope the pluses here make up for the move.

Here's a local food blogger to get you in the local mood. Her Seattle restaurant reviews are fun. http://foodonthebrain.wordpress.com/

June 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

Wonderful news! I wish you all the best as you make your move to your new home.

Paz xxoo

June 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPaz

Hello! I've been following your blog for close to a year now, it is so riveting. I wish you all the luck on your big move!

June 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlimonana

I've experienced this myself, stuck between two worlds. But a change is always a wonderful experience. You learn so much about yourself, often find your capable of things you never imagined! So, I say good luck and good eating. Seattle is a great place to be if you're a foodie!

June 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commentervalya

We wish you the best of luck and we'll be right here waiting until you're unpacked and writing again.

And now for the selfish part: WE'LL BE ON THE SAME COAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This excites me more than anything :)

June 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermatt

Bon voyage.

Home is an odd notion for the constant traveller, but you'll delight in it before you know it, I'm sure!

June 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLucy

You certainly make it sound really exciting! Wish you both all the very best.

June 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterevolvingtastes

This all sounds so exciting. All the best on your big move!

June 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterthecoffeesnob

have a great move! scary, but exciting. Seattle is great and you'll be closer to Fran's chocolate and those fries at the Baguette Box. Oh, and you'll also have one of those big 'ol American freezers, with plenty of room for thatice cream freezer you've always wanted! : )

June 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Welcome home. It's very exciting, and I'm sure I'll enjoy reading all about it. Funny that you will be nearly as far from me as when you were in Scotland. Big country, this.Bon voyage and good luck.

June 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlindy

You'll be just fine. I've moved back home twice from Edinburgh - first time I wasn't prepared, and missed Edinburgh a lot. Second time I was ready to leave Scotland, and not once during the 20 months I've been back home, have I regretted the decision. I've been back to Edinburgh twice - I still like the city, but it doesn't feel like home any more..
Plus you're moving into a foodie heaven - aren't Molly & Shauna also in Seattle? You'll be in perfect
company :)
So enjoy the move - and I hope i can enjoy a meal in your Seattle kitchen in the future :)

June 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPille

Exciting and scary at the same time too indeed. I have often wondered what it would feel like to go back to France permanently, and I think I would have the same mixed happy sad feelings. But you are going to a great place, so all the best with the new adjustment! By the way, after 10 years here, don't ask me but I still need to use a converter to do farenheits, gallons, inches and such. There are things that just never sink in, so Manuel should not worry too much.

wow--that is big... Very exciting. I'm sure that leaving Scotland is bittersweet...but how wonderful that you'll be close to your family again.

June 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEllen

Good luck with your move...been there when I left Canada for the UK!

June 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCat


WOW! Nice to hear that you are coming back to the states, but I am sure that it is so hard to leave Europe behind. At least you're still close enough to visit!

June 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterReid

It's kinda bittersweet, isn't it? I completely understand the feeling. We made a big move from DK, where I had been living for 3 years, back to the US. It felt good to be back home, but I did (and still do) miss so much about that country.

The Pacific NW is a wonderful region, and Seattle is a wonderful city. I can't imagine you'll regret the move, even if you do miss Scotland intensely.

May your move go smoothly. Good luck!

June 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdp

Welcome back home. May your journey be safe and may you find the things you miss aren't really that far away.

June 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbreadchick

May you have safe travels and many memories as you begin your journey home. The best to you both on this exciting and scary adventure.

June 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterIce Tea For Me

Best wishes and good luck on your new adventure! I'm sure it will be bittersweet, but wonderful to be close to your family again.

June 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStickyGooeyCreamyChewy

What wonderful and exciting news, congratulations! I wish you both the best and I know it will work out just fine. Welcome home.

June 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMercedes

No doubt, moving takes a lot of courage cuz it's almost equivalent to leaving your comfort zone. But, once decided, go all the way. All the best to you and Manuel!

June 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Ergül

I just returned from visiting my family in Seattle and truly there is no more beautiful city in the world. You will make it work!

June 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLianne

Oh Dear, the change is so exciting! You might be thrilled and scared, but the experience is worth every single try. :) May everything turn out the way you both need and want!

June 30, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteranya

scotland will fly the flag at half mast when departure day comes! all the very best to you and manuel :)

June 30, 2008 | Unregistered Commentershauna

oh no! oh yes! i m sad u r leaving edinburgh, for my very own selfish reasons, like knowing we might possibly meet once in a while, but of course i m happy that u r following ur hearts! i wish u all the best, n since i have never been to the states i now have the perfect reason:)

June 30, 2008 | Unregistered Commentergoogs

All the best. It all seems very daunting, but I am sure things will work out. Why have you decided to go now, right time????

Good luck and I hope you continue to blog!!

June 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

Good luck to you both!

June 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSamantha

Here's wishing you safe travels, and a smooth transition. I bet your parents must be so excited.

June 30, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercourtney

well, congratulations and good luck with everything - i am not so sure about seeing you on the other side, seeing how all-consuming my studies have become, but you always know where to come should the wind blow you to london by chance!
all the best to both of you!

June 30, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjohanna

Welcome home!

June 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLisa (Homesick Texan)

Wonderful and scary. May you have a safe journey and may you rejoice in all the things that will be your new home.

June 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. L

Green scallion pancakes at Szechwan Noodle bowl should be your 1st stop... amazing. Come down to Portland sometime the restaurants/farms are boooooming here!

Good luck!

June 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNathan

Congratulations -- and good luck!

July 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersprite


Just a short note to let you know that you have been nominated to July IFP (Inspiring Food Photography) poll on my blog.


Have a nice day, Margot

July 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCoffee and Vanilla

Wow!!! Congratulations on the big move! Now I've got one more person to visit in Seattle, when I ever make myself get out there. :)

July 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLuisa

How did I not know this?! SO EXCITING! Dear sweet lord. When the dust settles - or if you need help in making the dust settle - you'd better give me a call, lady.


July 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

Congratulations on your move and your new adventure. This is exciting and yet scary. Hang in there. I look forward to hearing more of your journey.

July 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

Good luck with the move. look forward to reading about your new adventures!!

July 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commentervalentina

It's a big adjustment - all the best to you both.

July 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterScintilla

Please, do say you'll be visiting San Francisco at some point???!

July 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersam

Welcome home. There are several places I've visited that have felt far more "home" than the area I grew up in - and some that were never "home" but places I long to go back to - Scotland being top on that list. But home is far less a location than family and friends, food and celebration - somehow I don't think either you or Manuel could lack for any of those no matter where you settle.

Again, Blessings and Welcome.

July 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCorey


Have been reading your blog for some time...I'll be back in Seattle (which is not my hometown, but I lived there before) next spring.
Now I am in Vancouver, BC just a couple of hours away.
Good luck!

July 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

Melissa ~ It is indeed a big commitment to relocate oneself. May you and Manuel find your own rhythm in gorgeous Seattle. As for the conversions, I lived there for six years and never got my head around them - I just kept conversion charts nearby (the only conversion I remember without fail is that one stick of butter is 113 grams). My partner and I will this year finally decide on where we will spend our near-future, either in Boston, MA., or in either Auckland (where I presently live) or Wellington, New Zealand. May there be many exciting times ahead. Besides, Europe is not going anywhere. You can always go back.

July 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterShaun

As a Brit that has moved to Seattle, I can safely tell you that Seattle is the complete foodies dream. You are right, the shear volume of farmers markets here is incredible. Make sure you check out the one in Ballard, perhaps the best in the area.

July 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermatt wright

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