Monday, November 15, 2010

On the Road Again

(do do, do do, do do, do do .... you can't tell from the screen, but I'm singing to myself.  Unfortunately I don't really know any more lyrics than "...on the road again ..." so it's a bit annoying.)

I'm hitting the road again, in case you haven't already heard.  I'm flying off to London tonight, where I haven't been for SIX YEARS!  (Sorry, had to capitalize that, it just seems so wrong that it's been that long.  It's my second home, how on earth did I stay away that long?)  I'm staying the first couple of nights with friends in Earls Court (right around the corner from where my friend Stacey lived when we were both living in London), for which I will owe them big -- Sarah especially!  (Steve chose to be my friend, but she inherited me by default when she married him.  Fortunately she is a lovely person, and very kind to put up with random Canadian crashers.)

From London, I'm going to head up north for a big loop around Scotland, stopping on the way to visit my English ex in Edinburgh (where he now lives with wife and two kids -- I still find this a bizarre concept, but hey, good for him).  Some of you know that story already, but if not, I'll probably fill you in one night on a future blog post after I've had too much Scotch, or something.  Stay tuned.

I will also, of course, be stopping in Oban, the ancestral MacLellan homeland.  Last time I was there, I met an Aussie fellow whose last name was also MacLellan -- we compared notes and figured out that we were probably related, as we thought our respective great-great-grandfathers had left about the same time.  And HIS ancestor probably got caught and shipped to the penal colony, while mine hightailed it for the safety of the Maritimes in Canada.  (Rumour has it the first MacLellans in Canada fled Scotland for stealing sheep -- I like to think it was an act of political protest against the English landlords of the time, who booted small tenant farmers off their land in order to raise sheep instead.  See here for the story of the Highland Clearances.)

Then I'll swing over to Northern Ireland, where my mother's family hails from.  In fact, the O'Neills were kings of Ireland once, but as that was about one thousand years ago, I doubt it'll get me any special treatment today.  I've been to Belfast in the north, but nowhere else, so I'm looking forward to checking out more.  If time permits, I'll probably hit Dublin as well, and check out some of my old haunts (if I can find them, 16 years after I lived there).

Then it's back to London, and home again on Christmas Eve.  After Christmas I'm heading east -- India for sure, possibly Vietnam or a few other spots in southeast Asia too, and maybe Australia for the summer sunshine before I return to work in April.

*Sigh*  I'm not sure I'm going to be able to cope with being a working professional person again.  But, as my money will definitely have run out by then, it will be necessary at least for a while.

But in the meantime ... yahoo!!  It's been 13 years since I was in Scotland, and 14 years since I went to Ireland, so I'm over th moon about both.  (So what if it's going to be grey, and rainy, and cold!  That's what pubs and whisky are for -- a surefire way to warm up in the gloom of Celtic winter.)  Most of you probably know that I lived in London for a while in university, and -- while I don't want to move back -- I miss that time in my life.  I remember most feeling so very, very alive -- the highs were higher, the lows were lower, and while it wasn't all endless joy and happiness (I also got my heart broken), at least I felt something.  I had too much time in the last few years where I didn't feel especially bad, but didn't feel especially good either -- just kind of blah (and numb is no way to live -- I'd rather put up with the pain as well as the joy than live flat).

There are things I will miss here, of course.  I don't get to see the finale of Battle of the Blades, which I am seriously addicted to.  (Although now that Theo Fleury is gone, I am less so.)   Only in Canada would this show make any sense at all, so I don't expect I'll find it on BBC.

I'll also miss George.  That's Stroumboulopoulos, FYI, on whom I have a wee bit of a crush.  (Smart, funny, engaging, kinda cute -- really, what more could I want?)  I won't get to watch him every night at 11:05, unless the BBC has also cottoned on to the charms of Strombo.  But I'll probably survive that too -- there might be a few cute Celtic boys with adorable accents around to distract me.

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