Catching my breath

I read all these other travel blogs and they seem to capture the trials and tribulations of expat life so well. I don’t know how they manage it. When I am in the thick of decision-making – spending countless hours googling “move to France” or “Aussies in Europe + blog” and “why is homeschool illegal in Europe” – I don’t have any energy for blogging.

I also waste most of my downtime online at Instagram, Facebook & Twitter. There just isn’t time for researched ramblings.

But anyway, there are 7 weeks to go in China and I am giddy with excitement. I am so so so so SO happy to leave China. At the same time I am awfully proud of Ms10 and I for surviving 2 years here. I gaze in wonderment at expats who spend 5 or 10 years in China. Mostly the people with that sort of mileage are married to a Chinese national. OR they are here for the money.

We’re all here for the money, which is another post, and says a lot about China as a country. Even we, to an extent, came here for $$$. In fact this is probably the first decision I have made where money has been the main motivation. And let that be a lesson to you kids: Money makes you miserable! But as I keep telling my 10 year old, sometimes you have to suck it up to get where you want to go. We want to move to Europe, I have a dream to live in Scotland – and we have saved more here in the past 2 years than I saved in 10 in Australia.


Hebridean wifey #day17 #365days

Enjoying life as a Hebridean wifey…


Wine, window and Waternish

I bought bamboo knitting needles and wool from Skyeworks Gallery (in the old Skye wool mill in Portree, above the Isle of Skye Baking Co) this afternoon, and think I’ll head back tomorrow to get a giant Tunisian crochet hook. I found a project in Peppermint magazine that I want to start when we’re back in China -to turn out old clothes into a rug. 


Bamboo knitting needles and wool from Skyeworks Gallery
We’ve had another okay day weatherwise. Drove out to Neist a point lighthouse accidentally, whilst looking for Single Track, a cafe we’d heard via @HI_Voices on Twitter made great coffee and even better brownies. I think we headed up the wrong peninsula, but not to worry as the Red Roof Cafe was on our route and their Crofter’s cheese platter, Aztec chilli hot chocolate and lime and coconut cake (fatty pumbas!) were amazing. 
On the way home we stopped at Jans to buy wellies. Yet another Island living essential I should have purchased a decade ago, but as an up-the-duff backpacker could not afford. 


Waternish #day16 #365days

Still. So quiet my ears ache. After a year living in China, where it’s always construction time, and where any time of day or night you look out the window you will see people, and a month travelling from one side of the world to the other…it’s unnerving to be sitting in silence. My ears ache.

Perhaps I am getting old, or perhaps it’s just Skye (which seems to lend itself to cliches), but I feel the stillness allowing everything to catch up with me in the swirl and eddy. 


Words #day15 #365days

I toyed with the idea of doing 365 days via Instagram. I think that’s where it started. But the whole purpose is to force myself to write. It’s just weird that suddenly I don’t want to share. Blogging has always felt pretentious to me. When I do it, that is. Meanwhile I love to read the blogs of others…

I also bought a blank journal and started writing there (hence the gap in posts). But again, I think the challenge to myself with this is to write in public. I don’t know if I’m a very good writer, I only know that I’ve thought about ‘being a writer’ my whole life. And for the best part of the last decade of anyone had asked me where or what I’d like to be (what do you want to do when you ‘grow up’, now that your actually a grown up and life has sort of decided it for you anyway?), I’d have told them I dream of a red roofed stone cottage by the sea, with a studio where I will….and the only thing that really comes to mind is writing (although I can sew a mean beanbag…)


Raasay #day14 #365days

True to form, my #365days blogging is not going so well. Climbed Dun Caan today after thinking about it for 12 years. My new trainers no longer have their Glasgow Ned shine. 

Earlier in the evening I had an epiphany, stumbling on the disused Raasay hotel, and then a local blog mentioning that it was for sale. I found the website where it was advertised and rushed the 200 metres or so up the road to check it out. It is spectacular. The building is rundown but gorgeous – original 19th century inn surrounded by not-too-cringeworthy add-ons. Lounges and rooms overlooking the sound of Raasay to a unique view of Skye’s Cuillins. Only 12 rooms but managers accommodation with 6 more. Ideal.
I had a pint in front of Raasay House and plotted how I could manage the purchase and management. Perhaps my brother and his wife could come over with their kids for 6-12 months for something different, to help me get it up and running? The kids could all go to school together on the island…have chickens and sheep. 

But, sadly the hotel is no longer for sale. Despite still being live on the estate agents website, it sold a while ago. Fortunately for the island it’s sold to the company who are opening a whisky distillery here. Exciting times ahead for Raasay, but we won’t be sharing them. 
Chalking it up on the board of Not To Be with the Barra Post Office.

Germany #day7 #365days

Eins, zwei, drei… One of the options – actually it’s looking more and more liked the best option – for ‘after China’, is Germany. They seem much more open to migrants. Australians don’t need a visa and can actually turn up at the border and tell the immigration officials they are in Germany to ‘look for work’. I try to imagine the outcome of doing that at Heathrow…for one squad at dawn? Deportation and barred for life? They are also part of the Euro Blue Card network in the EU (a scheme which the UK are conspicuously not joining). The Blue Card is being described as Europe’s answer to the U.S. green Card, and allows highly skilled non-EU nationals to work in most of the EU. 

The cool thing about Germany is that they also have a fast track to EU residency program, where proficiency in German after 2 years will give you the opportunity to apply for EU residency. There’s more riles and fine print to this, but I think it’s the gist. The exciting part is, I learned German for about 5 years when I was a kid. Admittedly it was in the Australian education system, who don’t seem to fully grasp the concept of language teaching, but I still have the basics and surely in country I would have the motivation and opportunities to relearn?


365 days

Well it’s July. I’ve been thinking for a while about writing, and when it is I think I will start. Every time I read a tweet or post about writing it’s like an arrow through my soul. Especially those posts that say ‘just write, write every day’.

So I thought I’d challenge myself to one of those ‘post a day’ things – starting on the 13th of this month. 

Will save the explanation for that date for one of my #365 posts 😏