One Year Since I Left Canada
I’m sorry; it’s already been a year since I left Canada?!
If you have been keeping up with my posts you will know that I am writing to you all from Edinburgh, Scotland!
Four years ago my two best friends and I booked a trip to travel around Ireland and Scotland. Little did we know back then that trip would lead to me finding my new home and my boyfriend S. They have openly admitted wishing we had booked another location so that I was still in Canada…but hey ;)
My life back in Ottawa was great, I really couldn't complain. I was close to my friends and family, had a lovely home, and a career. The thought of leaving it all behind to move to a new country was daunting, but also really exciting. It helps that I was moving closer to my family in Ireland, but also I was moving to be with S. and that would save money on constant flying back and fourth to Scotland!
The lead up to moving to another country for me was surprisingly flawless, up until three days before my flight where all the emotions and anxiety hit.
In this post I will focus on my one-year recap about the how it’s going so far.
Let's start at the beginning though, shall we?
My name is Mary-Catherine, most commonly known as MC. I am 29 and in February 2018 I moved to Scotland.
If anyone has done any kind of long distance relationship they will know that it can be really difficult. Although looking back on my childhood long distance relationships were quite common for me. The fact that my entire family on my mum’s side was in Ireland, and that I went to an international school that saw friends come and go very frequently. All that to say that when I met S. in Scotland, I wasn’t scared of committing to long distance. That being said, we knew it wasn’t sustainable to keep at it for too long as it is pretty taxing financially, physically, and mentally. Thankfully we didn't have to do it too long as my Irish citizenship got me quick entry to moving to Scotland!
Although I could go on and on about the steps it took for me to actually move, and perhaps I will in another piece, I would like to focus on my 1 year here, because it wasn’t as easy as I expected it to be!
The biggest challenge I found was actually securing a job, and I say actually because I was so confident going in to the job market here. It was a rude awakening to say the least.
In Ottawa I was an R.E.C.E (registered early childhood educator) in a French school. I had worked within the school system for about 7 years and had, what I thought, a pretty impressive CV considering all the PD courses I had taken along with letters of recommendation. I got this, or did I?
I did all the right things before moving including reaching out to a Scottish government run careers Advisor Company and asked them what I needed to do to get my qualifications assessed. I had all the assessments done and dusted prior to leaving Canada, but turns out I had been given false information which meant that the company I was told to go through (and which cost money) wasn’t the company that the Scottish schools recognize…cool. When did I find this out, you ask? In June! It was not obvious enough for me to realize until then, and even then it was because I cornered an employer and asked them what was going on with my application. The reason I didn't bite the bullet right away and get that other qualification is that it would cost approximately £1000, which is roughly $1,700. Now, moving isn’t cheap and every dollar/pound is very specifically allocated and I quite honestly did not have that allocated out considering I had been jobless since February.
I ended up being offered two different jobs at the same time at the end of June; one was at a Palace and the other at a Spa. It was a very difficult decision, but I had to outweigh which would give me more transferable skills. I still wonder if I made the right decision to be honest, it is always hard when you are given a choice. Both jobs were offered to me within 24 hours and I was leaving for Canada a week after so a quick decision needed to be made.
I ended up taking the position at the spa and at the time seemed to align with what I was looking for in life. The spa itself had an infrared sauna, which was a huge selling point for me as it was the only one in the city! For my health journey the infrared sauna was really important. I am not one to live in the past, I tend to accept and move on, but I would be lying if I didn't say sometimes I wonder how things would be if I had gone with the Palace job.
I am still working at the spa in a different position, but I have also realized that I miss working with the kids and it may be time for me to get that qualification.
Something that is worth noting… It was REALLY hard on me to not get any positive feedback from my applications with the schools. It became overwhelmingly stressful, and it did put some stress on my relationship with S. because I kept feeling “I wasn’t good enough” and unintentionally I was putting that on him. It also made it very difficult for me to feel that I could settle here.
LIVING IN A NEW, but really old, CITY
So Edinburgh is pretty different from Ottawa, but it’s also the same. If anyone is from Ottawa or has spent time in Ottawa they will know that small town in a city feel. Edinburgh has that same feeling, although with buildings that date back to the 1600s. I went out for walks almost every day to discover new parts of the city, and new coffee shops along the way. The city is incredibly walk-able, and there is something to see anywhere you go. I am also obsessed with British history, and walking around the same stress as Mary Queen of Scots, for instance, was just the most amazing thing to me. (And now feeling regret about that Palace job again…)
I am happy to say that Edinburgh is really feeling like home, and I do really love it here.
LONG DISTANCE NO MORE
Well this one was a bit of an odd one to begin with. Of course S. and I had spent loads of time together during our visits, but to actually share a closet was a different thing all together. I used to call myself an organized mess. Although you could walk into my room and it could be a mess I knew where every single thing was. I can still call my mum and tell her exactly where something is in my room. S. on the other hand needs everything to be tidy and put away. You can imagine the power struggle that soon erupted… The important thing I have realized since moving in with anyone is communication (Rebecca I’m look at you girl…). No one can read minds, or understand passive aggressive sighs, even though they seem effective because trust me, I love a good passive aggressive sigh, they are not effective! My bestie/roomie Rebecca and I had our middle girl Veronica who used to tell each of us what was annoying the other, which surprisingly was super effective but I wouldn’t recommend putting someone in the middle of a roomie row. With S. it was just us, and finally we got so annoyed at each other that we spoke out, and now we have been able to compromise and communicate our needs.
In general that was the big thing that made our relationship better is that we communicate our needs.
This one was a tough one. I was SO close to my friends in Ottawa, and leaving that behind was very difficult and still is.
I was lucky enough to have persuaded a good friend of mine who was moving to the UK to move to Edinburgh so it was nice to have her around, but I didn't have the same social group I had before.
I ended up going on a Facebook group with was for expats and people living in Edinburgh and I put out a message to see if anyone was keen to get coffee or a drink.
Well I ended up meeting up with a few girls, and I am so happy to say that I have made two great friends through that night out.
It can be really difficult to meet people when you get a little older, but you just have to put yourself out there and find your tribe.
I also am no stranger to the long distance relationships, and with technology it is so easy to keep in touch with people back home which I am so thankful for.
Being in Europe is so convenient for travel, and city breaks. My first year here was spent mostly touring more of Scotland and there is still so much more to discover of this beautiful country!
I am excited to say that this year will be spent doing more traveling and I can’t wait!
All in all, my first year here has been a bit of a roller coaster with very high highs, and some pretty decent lows. It was probably one of the more emotional years I’ve had, but I worked through it.
I also joined the Healthy Is Hot family last year and it really helped me express things, and re-sparked my love of writing.
I challenge you all to find a passion that will help you grow and be positive, because even when you are in a stressful situation that can really be helpful.
If anyone is visiting Edinburgh have a wee look at my Edinburgh articles to get some ideas of my favourite places, and also give me a shout!!
With happy vibes,