“I have an idea. Let’s move to Edinburgh!”
By Victoria Bamber
Leaving university and taking tentative steps towards growing up is a landmark that many students find more terrifying than expanding overdrafts and approaching deadlines. I was no different. After graduating from the University of Salford with a degree in Journalism and Broadcasting I was fully aware of my next move, although whether the decision was a wise one was more than debatable.
I arrived in Edinburgh city centre, friends and worldly belongings in tow, with – it is fair to say – an apprehensive outlook. What had started out as a throwaway comment had ended up with 5 school friends relocating to a city where they had few contacts, no source of income and collective savings of around £23. Oops. For the first few weeks I cried – a lot. Jobs were scarce, family were worried and the household mice had begun to take over. Yet for some reason, we couldn’t stop smiling.
A man wanders down the royal mile in a cloak. He rings his bell and shouts ‘gardyloo’ down Advocates Close. A gaggle of tourists follow him, eager and impressed, two teenagers keep a tight grip of each other, fearing their separation may result in sacrifice. The sound of bagpipes drifts up from Waverley Bridge, the muffled voices of a choir sound from St Giles Cathedral and snow settles itself at the summit of Arthur’s Seat.
This is Edinburgh.
I think it is fair to say that local residents are astoundingly complementative about their home town. People who live in Edinburgh love Edinburgh. You can see why. I didn’t understand this, but I wanted to. I have never lived anywhere that people praised, and this bothered me. I suppose my friends and I took drastic measures to change our situation. My nana asked me: “If you wanted change, why didn’t you just redecorate your bedroom?” I guess we took it one step further…
After a few weeks surviving off noodles, rice and fear, things started falling into place. After traipsing around, endlessly handing out CVs and enquiring for jobs – we found them. We started exploring, wandering, asking questions about our new home town and were always greeted with enthusiastic answers from locals. We were accepted, encouraged and happy and each one of us feels a different sense of belonging in a city which was once so alien. Before relocating to Edinburgh I had visited it only twice – I’ve visited Italy more than that and never had a desire to live there. So why here?
For me it’s the history, the scenery, the culture. I love the cafes, the parks, the ghosts. I love the fact that when people visit we have too full a schedule to get through. I love the fact that when it’s August we laugh, at Hogmanay we dance in the street, in June we watch films and in January we stagger through knee deep snow. I have become accustomed with Scottish tradition, folk lore and life, but as much as I like it here and as much as I feel I belong, I will never, EVER understand the love, desire and passion for the drink that is whisky. Maybe I haven’t been completely converted after all…
Thank you Victoria.