Stay Home

Continuing with the confounding of expectations on the UK trip, I embarrassedly confess that I expected the Scottish leg of the visit to have been far less emotional on every single front; I knew, of course, going in that it was a flying visit (literally, if you consider how we arrived and left): we flew in Tuesday afternoon and left Friday morning, which is far shorter than it sounds initially. Realistically, that translates into just two days there with timing a little bit fuzzier around the edges. That was, of course, not that long, but I still figured something was better than nothing, and it’s not like we could have gotten away with extending the trip any longer than the 11 days it was already lasting — there’s a home and a family to tend to back in Portland, after all.

The bit I didn’t expect, honestly, was how much I wouldn’t want to leave by the time Friday rolled around: how painfully short the visit to reconnect with family would feel, and how much I’d want to stay and talk more, hang out more, just be there with them for longer. It’s not just my two sisters I’m talking about, obviously, but their spouses and offspring — all of whom are actual people now as opposed to the babies and kids they were the last time I was there. (More than a decade ago, to put it in context.) We had dinner on Tuesday, and spent all of Thursday together, as well as Friday morning — Wednesday we spent in Glasgow, again catching up with people I hadn’t seen in a decade-plus — but it didn’t feel like enough time.

I left them at the airport, more than slightly heartbroken, and happy that plans are already in place for a November return. (Another work-related UK trip.) We’ll do Zoom calls in the meantime, just as we have done over the past few years while I’ve not been able to visit, but now I know how unlike the real thing that is. I left Scotland with this need to return, with this sadness for stepping away, again.

(And no, my accent genuinely didn’t get any stronger during the visit. Who knew?)

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