Day 24 of Project 365: The way home.

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Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

A few weeks after moving here, I kept asking FunkyPlaid what that big group of buildings looming over the city was.

Half a year after moving here, I had finally figured out what it was.

A couple of years later, befuddled tourists started asking me how to get to the castle. Me! I could hardly believe it. I must have looked like I knew where I was going, but the truth is that the only place I knew how to get to without thinking and without checking on the blue dot on my phone was home.

This is home to me. This has been my home for four years. This will not be my home tomorrow. All of these facts take their turns flitting into and out of the “inconceivable” box in my brain.

I am ready to leave, and I am not ready too. That’s the best time to go.

Writing from: a home, my home, in Edinburgh. Listening to: all of the subtle noises that I won’t hear again.

Day 9 of Project 365: Bagpipes in the mist.

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2016-01-09

I was promised bagpipes. And there were bagpipes.

Everything else was icing.

Speaking of icing, when I set out for Holyrood Park this morning at my usual brisk warm-up walking pace, I slipped and fell. It wasn’t a bad fall, although a passer-by stopped long enough to tell me that I should be walking in the road (thanks, I think). While taking eensy baby steps the rest of the way to the starting line, I wondered if running a race was the best thing to be doing at -1°C (30.2°F). Although I was prepared mentally and had plenty of layers on, I worried a little about the state of the course.

When I arrived to my wave’s place in the starting line-up, the race organisers announced that there was nothing to fear. Plenty of grit had been placed on the course, three times over, and so I took my place and we were soon off!

Even though the first third of this particular course is all uphill, I was immediately glad to be running it. It was misty and cold but not wet. I got to see the swans in their pond one last time. I tried to peek down into Duddingston but it was so misty that I could barely make it out.

And the pipers! There were pipers at the 1k, 2k, 3k, and 4k markers. Some runners stopped to take selfies with the pipers. I asked the piper at the 3k marker if I could take his picture and he obliged. (I loved running in the slowest wave. Most of us were just trying to finish, not get any PRs, so lots of us stopped for pictures and chatted as we jogged.)

Shocking no one, I listened to the original Broadway cast recording of “Hamilton” as I ran. This was one of the best ideas I have ever had and it resulted in the following tweet:

The last bit of the course is all blessedly downhill so I got one last soar down Arthur’s Seat to the finish line. And then:

I hope I never fall out of love with this musical.

It was a slow 5k, even by my standards. I don’t even have accurate statistics because Runmeter quit at the start (due to a RAM issue that I now know how to fix) and I had inexplicably left my Garmin at home even though I remembered to bring my lip balm but it is pumpkin spice lip balm so before you question my priorities remember I’m a white girl and this is pumpkin spice lip balm we’re talking about here people.

As this is a special post doing double-duty as a race report, you get a second photo today. It’s a super-creepy selfie I took on the walk home. What is going on with my eyeballs in this shot? I’m not even looking in the right place and I’m the one taking the photo! It’s all the pumpkin spice.

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When I got home, I took a very hot shower and discovered just how cold I had gotten because it was all going so well and I was warming up and then everything itched all at once like I was one giant chicken-pock. (Yep, that’s the singular of “pox”.) It was still a great shower, and a great race. No matter where I live, Arthur’s Seat will always be my favourite extinct volcano.

And thank you, anonymous person, for donating to the Joshua Nolan Foundation. Your generosity will help someone here get the mental health counselling they need.

Day 8 of Project 365: One last 5k around Arthur’s Seat.

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2016-01-08

Shortly after moving to Edinburgh, I met an extraordinary woman named Laura. She is extraordinary because she somehow picked up the pieces of her life after her son Joshua took his own life at only twenty-two years old. And after she picked up those pieces, she forged ahead to found the Joshua Nolan Foundation the very next year.

Tomorrow will be my last 5k race around Arthur’s Seat, at least for now, and I’m running to raise awareness for the Joshua Nolan Foundation. The Joshua Nolan Foundation works with their partner counsellors to fund counselling sessions for people who have been identified as ‘at risk’ of suicide. If you or someone you know has been impacted by not having access to this kind of support, please consider donating to the Joshua Nolan Foundation.

And please think fleet-footed thoughts for me around 10:00 GMT tomorrow! I’m a bit creaky but I want to finish strong for such an important cause.

Day 7 of Project 365: Wee swan.

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In my haste to submit a story for critique by my writing group, I almost forgot all about Project 365. That means you get a hastily-snapped “here is something on my desk” photo.

While my friend Sharks was visiting last month, we spent some memorable days tooling around Edinburgh, chatting and poking our noses into various places. That whole week was charmed: the weather was good, we got on well, and there were plenty of magical moments like finding this wee black swan. She was in a type of shop neither of us normally ventures into, one with a cutesy name and frilly brassy shabby-chic knick-knacks. But there she was, and now here she is, and fond memories will come to mind every time I see her.

I would need a whole tiny menagerie to remind me of all of the wonderful things I’ve experienced in Scotland. I’ve been so lucky.

Day 3 of Project 365: That view.

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If you ever have to leave a place, I hope that right before you go, someone visits you. I hope that someone visits you and that the someone is still full of wonder and excitement about travel, about newness, about being surprised by a glimpse of a city.

Just like our guest was surprised today as we led him out of Waverley and into this city we will soon leave.

Fitting, really, that of all of the photos I took today it’d be this one that I ended up liking the best. Not the ones of the castle, or of the holiday market just about to close, or of the Royal Mile.

This one isn’t even a good photo, but it evokes the mood I feel whenever I get to lead someone out of Waverley. That first glimpse, bending into something you know is going to result in a breathless noise, not quite a word but its approach.