My friend Teddy and I have committed to each other to create content once a day for August, in a bid to just get things out in the world. His blog is here. This is Day One.
We have been in Edinburgh for a week today, and it is extraordinary. It strikes me as a small, clean, English-speaking Paris – stone buildings, ancient traditions, history everywhere, and we’re once again foreigners, getting used to a new place. We were bouncing around for six months, learning new cities and countries and languages and cultures, and now we’re in the same situation, but we are looking at spending years and years here, and so when we learn new words for our daily conversation – hence, and aye, and tis, and the musical Scottish inflections up, down, higher, lower, higher still, that everyone from nans to roofers use that makes them sound like they’re laughing with every breath – we are learning them not to forget again when we move on to Cambodia, or Laos, or Thailand, or Fiji, but because in ten years we will say something like, “It’s pissing down horizontal rain, and will be two weeks hence,” and it will be normal to us.
The weather, too – stunning blue skies, white puffy clouds, and rain. Alice looked up rainy days here, and it seems that there are 191 rainy days a year in Edinburgh. We know that it rains a lot in London, so she looked up comparisons…and it rains about 106 days a year in London. The thing is, in London, it’s grey all the time, rainy or not. In Edinburgh, it seems that it will rain REALLY hard for an hour or two, but the rest of the day – before and after – it is sunny and gorgeous. We’ll see if that pattern holds across the winter, but right now, outside our window, lovely puffy clouds are floating by, and the sun is giving each a silver lining.
We’re on the top floor of a building in New Town, overlooking a park, and again, around the corner from everything – coffee shops, bars, restaurants, salons, the Royal Scots Club, grocery stores, organic grocery stores, liquor shops, even a brothel. It is strange to be around the corner from an actual operating brothel. It’s even stranger to think that people reviewed it on Google. Perhaps that’s more a reflection of my American prudishness.
And today, Alice started work at the RSNO, and I started CodeClan. It’s nervewracking, getting into coding at 37. With so many stereotypes of all-night coding sessions, and the different languages, and the reputation as a young-person’s game, I feel like stepping in the building was a huge step. And it’s overwhelming, even with weeks and weeks of pre-course work under my belt, and a day of introductions and very little actual coding work; what little we did was just review of Git and the command line, but it often felt completely new. But everyone seems nice, and smart, and there are only a few early-20s people in the room – everyone else seems older, some older than me, and it was reassuring to think that they might be retraining as well. Our homework assignment was pretty easy, too, so that was a welcome relief at the end of an uncertain day.
So, in summary, everything is new under the Edinburgh sun to us.
And I’ll be watching this at least once a day for the next four months.