Entry for 25 March 2023:
Sixteen and a half years ago we moved to Scotland for ten years. Yes, we know that the math doesn’t add up, except in the calculus of the heart. We were exiles, living in Scotland, but we found that we were warmly welcomed. We went on regular Saturday adventures, many, many adventures. We must have seen every standing castle in central Scotland, and a fair number that are now just piles of fallen stone. We made new friends, started new projects, made a life for ourselves there. I wrote and posted more than 500 entries of this blog.
And then, as the years went on, even as our mothers died, I had surgery for prostate cancer, our children finished their PhDs, and grandchildren arrived, we found that we weren’t quite ready to go back. There was crucial work to do: meta-analyses to carry out and publish, a new course to start, a lively church community, the folk club we loved even on an off night. There were adventures we’d never gotten around to, like the islands of Skye and Lewis. And America, with its toxic politics, self-absorption and gun violence, did not much appeal.
So in 2016, instead of going back the US, we settled into a routine of commuting between Glasgow, Scotland, and Pleasanton, California, staying in each place for a month at a time. This made a lot of sense when my mother-in-law was still alive, in that we were able to support her during our time there. However, after a year of this she suddenly died, leaving us to continue as we had done previously, on automatic pilot. In the meantime, the new MSc in Counselling started and I switched to 60% time, allowing me more time for research and writing projects while still staying involved with teaching and delivering EFT training.
This went on for several years… until the pandemic arrived. At that point, we made the decision to stay in Scotland, where I could keep teaching online and where the public health policy made more sense. At the same time, the climate crisis emerged as more significant for us and led us to become more uncomfortable with the level of carbon emissions we were producing by flying so much. At the same time, a wonderful opportunity emerged in the form of the EmpoweringEFT@EU project for developing curricula for training more EFT supervisors and trainers. I retired from teaching in late 2021 but stayed on for yet another year on a researcher contract as part of this project.
In the meantime, we set about the project of making our condo in California more carbon neutral. We replaced our old natural gas furnace (which was leaking carbon monoxide) with a high-efficiency heat pump. We spent a year getting a solar energy system installed on our roof; this took some doing because we were the first in our development to do so and the Board was deeply suspicious what a potpourri different solar panels would do to the look and feel of our development. These are things that we could not do in Scotland, since we didn’t own our flat there.
Finally, this month, it was time for the leaving of Scotland. We located a moving company and began sorting through our things: We were going to have to squeeze our two parallel lives into one life; a significant downsizing in both Scotland and California were required. In the end, we got rid of roughly half of our stuff in Scotland, by giving much of it away to the Counselling Unit/Research Clinic (books, journals and data), to the British Heart Foundation or the Salvation Army, or to friends. A few things we sold on Gumtree, which turned out to be amusing but time-consuming (every object sold involved some kind of little drama)..
|Moving Lorry: Bound for Far California|
This week, the movers came on Monday & Tuesday and the British Heart Foundation came on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday were taken up with cleaning and getting rid of the rest of our stuff. Finally, on Friday afternoon we finished the cleaning of our flat and left, after 16 years in the same close, dropping our keys through the mail slot. After a bit of drama at the Dawsholm recycling centre (Diane fell and twisted her ankle while getting rid of some of our last cardboard), we dropped our car off at the garage where we bought it 7 years ago. We are now flying back to the USA, leaving our Scottish life behind.
|Robert in empty flat, with Mom's Butterfly Hanging|
What’s next for us? Stay tuned!