It’s that time again, time for me to take another exciting journey!
But first, a little backstory, a tale of a long-ago odyssey.
Once upon a time in bonnie Scotland, a young Edinburgh woman had a pen-pal, a young man from Texas. After writing to each other for five years, they finally met. The young man traveled to Scotland to attend the University of Edinburgh as a graduate student. It only made sense for him to room with the girl’s parents, right?
Well, for a few weeks, anyway, during which time they fell in love and got engaged.
Fast forward to the next year.
After a wedding and a new daughter, the young man lost his job, and so his visa as well. Faced with a choice between staying with her parents and family in the only place she had ever lived, and leaving that country to cross an ocean and half a continent with her husband, she chose the adventurous journey. With grace and courage, she left everything she knew to come to a strange land.
It was quite a trek–a 16hr ride on a propeller plane to New York City, then a 3 day train ride to Austin, Texas, all with a 4-month-old baby and no disposable diapers. Leaving the cool misty rains of Scotland to arrive in Texas in a blazing hot July was a case of culture shock. An odyssey, indeed.
Back in 1953, of course, there was no Skype or internet, and trans-Atlantic phone calls were prohibitively expensive. Five years of communication by letter and tape-recordings went by until she was able to visit her parents again. What a reunion!
That intrepid Scottish woman was my mom. Over the years since 1958, my mom and dad have been able to make occasional trips back. In 1966, my mom, my brother, my sister and I lived with my grandparents for six months on an extended visit, which left me with a life-long love for Edinburgh as well.
Even after 63 years in the USA, Edinburgh still feels like home to my mom. So now, in her eighties, she’s making another trek across the ocean. Things are different now, of course. It only takes about 6 hours from Philadelphia to London, and we’ll be sailing around Britain on a luxurious cruise ship.
There’s more traffic, more people, more tourists, and fewer tea shops. But hearing the accents of home, walking the streets and gardens of her home city, drinking tea with old friends–all these will make up for the changes.
We’re both excited for the trek to begin!
Our itinerary begins at Southampton, England and includes Guernsey (one of the Channel islands), County Cork, Dublin, Belfast, Grennock (Scotland), The Orkney Islands, Invergordon, Edinburgh, and Le Havre (France) before returning to Southampton.
If the internet cooperates, I’ll keep you posted.