The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 41

I have countless posts detailing the numerous reasons why I love living in Edinburgh. I fell in love with the city four years ago, and returned to it like a beacon in the night when I hit rock bottom. Now, as I sit on my moderately comfy couch in my nice and tidy little flat watching the rain fall and the leaves change colours as Autumn blooms, I remain happy with my choice to return.

There is a lot to love about this city, but here are a few of the highlights;

    1. The people. This is a highly international city, and for the most part, people are really friendly. I’ve never felt unsafe living here, and have had some really nice conversations on bus rides to and from work. People here are polite, they let old people on the bus first, will stand to give them a seat, they don’t hesitate to give directions to lost tourists (something I still don’t like to do). If you go into a shop, a cafe, or even the grocery store, people will smile, ask how your day is, and are quick to offer help should you need it. I know that a lot of it is hospitality training, but since I live far enough outside the toursity part of the city, I feel that it is genuine.


    1. The culture. This city is dripping in culture. Between the museums and monuments, the castle and old buildings, you can see history everywhere you look here. Even the building I live in has a history. It used to be a warehouse hosing goods that did not pass customs inspections. Now there are warehouse conversions from 1 bedroom cozy flats to three bedroom really spacious top floor flats. I am constantly learning new things and finding new places to visit. I’ve been to the castle many times now, and spent many a rainy afternoon in the art galleries and museums, and have never been disappointed.


    1. The pace of living. Things are a lot simpler here. People move slower, relax more. I walk most places, and can take the bus most everywhere else. While the commuting sometimes gets to me, the fact that people here enjoy walks in the park or a cup of tea in the middle of the afternoon makes me feel more relaxed. I’m usually burning the candle at any end that can burn, but there is something nice about living in a place where just about everything is closed on a Sunday.



    1. I feel like me here. I’m not really sure what it is about this city, but it is the first place in eleven years that has really felt like home. I feel like I fit here. It is not something I can totally put into words though. It is just a settled feeling I have when I step off the plane in Edinburgh. I’ve had this feeling since my very first visit just before my 25th Even on my lowest days (and there have been a lot of them lately) I am still happy that I am here trying to sort myself out. I hope that when my visa is up and I can stay here and really make this place my home.

The Scamp Blows a Fuse

The universe was certainly not throwing me any bones this week. I had to spend one day this week learning how to be a salesmonkey for the tutoring centre, and got sent home from the same centre after the care inspector came to accredit the centre and it was discovered that I still had some pending paperwork, and I spent the better part of Friday at the doctor’s office having half my blood drained from my body, and having to expose myself to a nurse so the UK can be sure I don’t have cervical cancer.

Usually I have a two dinner minimum before someone can get that up close and personal with my cervix…..just saying.

In my rush to get the doc appointment sorted, get to the tutoring centre on time, and generally not be a cranky pants, I blew a fuse in my flat. I was lucky enough to only blow the ones that control the overhead lights. My power, heating, and cooking appliances all still worked.

The bad news is that I only have overhead lights.

Have you ever tried to pee in pitch black? It is scary.


A little mood lighting on a Friday night.

The problem with my flat is that it does not have a circuit breaker box. It should have been as simple as flipping a switch, I could flip a switch. I’m embarrassed to admit that I had to text my landlord to actually find out where the circuit box was. I have been starring at it for months without actually knowing what it is….because it was outdated in the 1960s.

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Luckily the circuits were labeled, so I knew what needed to be fixed. I wasn’t super comfortable with fixing it on my own though. I text my landlord, and she basically told me I was on my own and to have fun fixing it.

I did what any self respecting girl does when she is tired, ill, and doesn’t know what to do with electrical problems: I called my mom and cried. Luckily she was nice enough to let me cry, and reminded me of some things to do to make sure I didn’t blow up the flat.

I then used my research skills to find a hardware store near mines, and set off this morning on a trip to find a new fuse. The first place I went did not have what I needed. The guy who runs the store laughed when he saw the fuse because no one uses them anymore. He suggested that I might need a man to help me out, and then pointed me in the direction of a vacuum repair shop that he thought might have what I needed.

I love that vacuum repair shop. When I walked in I was greeted by a woman in her late 50s. She laughed when I told her I was a fish out of water and not really sure what to do. She was super nice and explained that I needed to replace the fuse wire, and how to do that before sending me on my way. She told me she had faith that I would be fine.

I made it home with a mission. I checked Youtube for a video just in case I forgot anything, and then I got to work.

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I was surprised that once I had the fuse wire I actually had all of the supplies that I needed to restring the fuse.

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I was able to get the wire into the fuse and trimmed and wrapped appropriately.

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Viola! A fixed fuse!

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And then there was light!

Considering I cried when I was told I had to do it myself, I was all about the victory dance when I got the lights back on. In the end, it wasn’t a hard thing to do at all, but it was the fact that I was able to do it on my own without screwing anything up really made me happy. I was expecting it to take more than an hour to fix. While I was at work my landlord dropped off some fuses, and while it was too late, I appreciate the gesture.

I also have a new found appreciation for lamps. I am going to invest some lamps.

The Scamp and the Gratitude Challenge: Week 36

Week 36 is all about my home.

Home is an interesting word for me. It has been commonly defined as:

  1. 1.
    the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.
    “the floods forced many people to flee their homes”
  2. 2.
    an institution for people needing professional care or supervision.
    “an old people’s home”
  1. 1.
    relating to the place where one lives.
    “I don’t have your home address”
  2. 2.
    (of a sports fixture) played at the team’s own ground.
    “their first home match of the season”
  1. 1.
    to or at the place where one lives.
    “what time did he get home last night?”
  1. 1.
    (of an animal) return by instinct to its territory after leaving it.
    “a dozen geese homing to their summer nesting grounds”
move or be aimed towards (a target or destination) with great accuracy.
“more than 100 missiles were launched, homing in on radar emissions”
In regards to the way that I think about home, on a more literal level, there is a lot to love about my flat. It is the perfect size for me, it is in a crazy cool old building, the neighborhood is relatively safe, and everything that I need is in walking distance. Now that more of my things have arrived, the place has a lived in, “Kim” feel to it (the rubber ducks really make the place). I spend a lot of time in my little reading nook with my academic articles, and I am seriously considering buying a big comfy dog bed so I have something soft to sit on while working. All in all, my little home is perfect for me.
A little art on the wall next to my building

A little art on the wall next to my building

While I am grateful for my little home, on an elemental level, I am so grateful to Scotland and the place that I really consider my home. It is not so much that I love the place, but more so I love the way I feel when I am here. I’m happier here. I’m more me here. I’m not as stressed, not as grumpy, and I get a whole lot more exercise. Those feelings have me eternally grateful, and I know that my stress level is going to amp up in the next few weeks with school starting, my dissertation in full swing, and the project starting, but I know that at least I get to experience all of those things here, where my little heart feels at home.

The Scamp and the Gratitude Challenge: Week 35

This is the week all about my neighborhood. Having only been here a month, I feel that I am still in the honeymoon phase, but all in all, I have to say that I really love where I live.

I am not yet an expert on the history of the city, but according to VisitScotland. com:

Leith is an area like no other. Boasting its own distinct character, Leith is a hub of lively eating and drinking spots, creativity and cultural diversity.

The district of Leith rests on the shores of the Firth of Forth, at the mouth of the Water of Leith. Having served as the port of Edinburgh for hundreds of years, the area’s original harbour dates back to the 14th century and has been visited by many travelling kings and queens, including Mary Queen of Scots and King George IV.

Today, Leith is a vivacious area jam-packed with delicious delis, chic drinking spots, and top restaurants boasting some of Scotland’s finest chefs. The district asserts a jovial attitude and hosts an eclectic mix of people and cultures, making each a visit a unique experience.

The area is famed as the location of the 5-star Royal Yacht Britannia, a fascinating royal residence berthed alongside Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre. Leith also boasts a rich creative culture and is home to various independent and contemporary galleries, such as the Corn Exchange Gallery. Various cultural festivals such as the Leith Festival and the Edinburgh Mela take place here throughout the year, and the area even has its own radio station.

Though Leith can be easily reached by bus, one of the best ways to visit is to take a leisurely stroll along the Water of Leith Walkway. This charming footpath borders the river from Balerno to Leith and emerges at the Shore, an upmarket area lined with bistros, stylish bars, traditional pubs and first-rate restaurants.

The mile-long Leith Walk links the district with the east end of Princes Street and offers a shopping experience like no other in the capital – locals proudly boast that there is little to nothing you won’t be able to find on this street.

What I like about the area is that it reminds me a lot of places at home. It is a little bit sketchy, but you don’t feel unsafe, and I am near the water. I can go have a sit at a bench and watch the ducks and birds, and I can always hear the seagulls. I can’t wait to see what it looks like in the winter, and I wonder if I will still feel so in love with the area when I have to walk to the bus in the rain and wind…and maybe snow.

and because I am a lazy writer today, I am also sharing a photo from one of my favorite sites on Facebook: Beautiful Edinburgh ( This is how I see my neighborhood right now.


The month has gone quickly, and with school starting in two weeks, I am looking forward to a little more of the calm before the storm. I have a job interview, paid all of my bills this month, and feel like I am settling into a good routine. I saw an email on Friday announcing the dissertation proposal defense for one of the women responsible for my dismissal from CSUF, and it really made me sad. I got really wrapped up in my own head about it, and even though I know that I am exactly where I want to be, doing exactly what I want to, it was still hard for me to see something that I should have been doing. I let myself get mopey about it, but was lucky enough to have some people here to let me talk it out and help me remember that it happened, and something good came out of it. That, a walk around the area, and some really good yoga definitely made me feel a lot better about the choices that I have made in the last few months.

The Scamp Has a Home

Today I found my home. One of my best friends from Scotland put me in touch with one of her co-workers who owns a one bedroom flat in an old bonded warehouse in Leith. While Leith is not near the campus where I will be working and going to school, it is near the water, it is safe and affordable, and it does not have to be a forever place. So far I have only traded emails with the owner, but she seems very nice, answered all of my questions, and seems to have a good sense of humor about the whole process. She tells me that she has had horrible renters in past, people that skipped out on two months worth of rent, people that have sold off all of the furniture that comes with the flat, and I guess the person living there is not really the best character.

I think the universe is rewarding me for all of the stress that I have been under lately. I still do not have my student number to apply for my visa, and I am still trying to figure out what to pack and how to get all of the things I need (and not necessarily all the things that I want) to my new home in time for me to get them.

I am very excited about my new home. I really haven’t seen it yet, but it already feels like it is my place. It already feels like this time I am going home after an extended leave. It will be the first time in two years that I live on my own, and while I am leaving behind my furniture, I am going to take some of my artwork and some pictures from my life here. I am excited to add my own personal touches, explore the area around the building, and find a library, a grocery store, and a good spot on the shore to sit and read books. This is the first time in a long time that I am excited to move, and I am not really worried about the packing, the shipping, and how to get the boxes once I send them to my new place. Knowing me, I will stress out about that as they come, but for right now, I am so excited that I can cross that off the list and that I will not be homeless on the 21st of June. Last time I did this I signed on to live in the dorms. At the time, I made the best choice I could, but this time I am 3 years older, and a whole lot wiser. No more dorms, no more snotty freshers, and no more awful food. The only awful food that will make it to my belly is the food that I cook.  I’m sure that my cooking will improve greatly when I get there because I will want to show off for my friends by cooking fancy, authentic Mexican food with kosher tortillas that I plan to smuggle in.

After two very long years, I am finally headed back to my home. Maybe this time there will be a puppy waiting for me when I get there.

The Scamp and the Gratitude Challenge: Week 6

The city that I live in.

La Habra, California is a city with more Pitbulls than people and a liquor store on every corner. When I came back almost two years ago, it was the first time I had lived here in almost ten years. The city covers 3.376 square miles and has a little over 60,000 people. It is in the Northwestern corner of Orange County, which means I can pretend I’m Orange County cool without being Orange County ditsy.

It is hard for me to be grateful about the city that I live in since I have been trying to get out of it since I was 18 years old. Don’t get me wrong, there are way worse places to live, and La Habra did provide me with an education that was good enough to get me to a good college. The city provided me with my first job shelving books, but most of the people who live here grew up here, they work here, and they will die here….and they are perfectly okay with that.

I feel like a caged bird here. I am a flamingo in a flock of pigeons here.

While that seems to go against showing my gratitude for the city, I am in fact grateful. If it was not for the caged feeling that this city gives me, I would never have gone away to college, never moved to San Diego, and never ended up in Scotland.

Everything for me always comes back to Scotland. Scotland is the one place that I could see myself living for more than 3 years, and the one place that I really felt at home. I might never have gotten to Scotland had it not been for La Habra. My wanderlust has taken me far outside of the city limits, and has exposed me to so many great places and so many great people. I am grateful for La Habra for showing me the type of life I want to lead, and the type of place I want to live, and for being full of students that I can help with grammar and writing until I can get back there .

A Scamp Gets Welcomed Home

Nothing says “I love you” like a sign that says WELCOME HOME SHITHEAD in Scots Gaelic. The sign is currently holding a place of honor in my bedroom. It speaks to my family as a whole, but more importantly it was made by my mom and my sister, both of whom came to get me at the airport. It was a really long day of travel. Really long. I have never been more happy to get off a plane. Never so happy to see my family.





I had a horrible headache when I landed, but that didn’t really dampen my excitement for being home. I slept in my own bed with real pillows, ate warm food that was properly cooked, and am back in texting range with the people here. It was very surreal. Even after being here for almost two days, I still haven’t processed the fact that I am not going back to Scotland. It doesn’t feel real yet that I am now living here again. I feel bad because I blew off everything yesterday, including a chance to see my OMGBFF. I got a new American phone, got some unpacking done, and drove my car around a little. The sun was out, I was wearing a dress, and the small breeze moved the air around just enough to make the day extremely pleasant. Despite all of that, all I really wanted to do was curl up in my bed and hide from the world. Even now, I am putting off reading and work in favor of sitting by the pool in the sun and surfing the internet.

I keep thinking about my friends in Scotland. I wonder what they are doing, I miss eating breakfast and dinner with them, having random movie nights or dinner parties with them, and I feel much the same way that I did when I first left here in September, I am now out of sight and out of mind. Their worlds will continue on like I was never there. While it feels good to be home, I feel really out of place. On the one hand, I am very comfortable here, everything feels familiar and inviting, but on the other, I feel like I don’t belong here yet. It still feels a bit like a vacation. I’m hoping that feeling goes away so that I can settle into a work schedule and start to get things back on track.

For right now though, a nap in the sun is just what I need.

A Scamp Meets the Family

La Habra, California has been described as a place with a liquor store on every corner and more pitbulls than people. That is very different than the picture of La Habra I have, and the way I feel about it when I bring people home to visit. If that is the way I feel about the city I grew up in, I would say that is an accurate view of how my BFF feels about his home, Dundee, Scotland. Dundee would never be called a thriving metropolis, and is known for being a low socio-economic threshold, but it lies within the eastern central Lowlands on the north bank of the Firth of Tay, which feeds into the North Sea. The bus ride into Dundee is quite beautiful, and the bus ride out as the sun was getting ready to set makes the place look peaceful and calm. Even without all of that, I knew that I would enjoy Dundee for the simple fact that it is the birthplace of my BFF and he invited me home to meet his family.

With the exception of David’s family, families love me, and more often than not, I love them. I am also really competitive, so the fact that I am the first (and so far, only) person that has been invited meant that the day promised to be a good one. I was not disappointed. The only downside to the trip was that the day seemed to progress at warped speed and was over before I could properly blink. The trip started off with a quick bus ride. The BFF and I are never short on good banter, so the trip passed quickly. We then met a good friend of his for lunch in a fun little pub. We swapped stories, had some good grub, and then they treated me to a quick tour of the university where they did their undergrad. We followed lunch with a trip to Gran’s house. A good cup of tea and nice conversation followed. I also got to meet the aunt and uncle and very excited boxer. Listening to them all interact and chat with each other was fun. The BFF was very much relaxed, and very happy to be in his gran’s kitchen. From there we moved on to his mother’s house to meet the rest of the family. His mother was very nice and very welcoming. She tried to feed us, and then did the best thing ever and brought me a some great baby pictures. I even got to see him with a tan!!!! This is a big thing for those who don’t know my BFF. He is a proper Scottish boy, pasty skin and all. He hates the sun, and his idea of perfect weather is a cold light rain and possibly some wind. His mom sent us off with a backpack full of food, reminding me a lot of my mom whenever I would visit for the weekend when I was living in California.

The best part of the day was the fact that I had a few hours with the BFF that were just the two of us. We had some serious bonding in the backseat of the car in Belfast, but since then, we haven’t really had a lot of BFF bonding time. He didn’t really know the specifics about heartstompapoolza, but he made sure to show up when I needed a night out and offer me chats and his hatred for David. He is generally antisocial, but he always makes time for me, and checks in with a funny thought or insightful comment. He is one of the things that will most about Scotland.




I got to end the night with some of the other reasons that I will miss Scotland. I got a home cooked Chinese meal and some much needed junk food. I love hanging out with the girls from my program because they understand the need to be random and ridiculous, and they are also quick to remind me that I am not a spinster in the making. They listen to my moans and complaints and fears about going home, and are quick to remind me all of the good that is coming from it.

Even though I am stretched way too thin this week, I am glad that they are willing to carve out time to spend with me before I return to the land of sunshine and movie stars.


The Scamp Doesn’t Wanna

Today the sun came out. Not only did the sun come out, but it was 63 degrees! My legs saw the sun today. I wore my toms instead of boots and tights. I walked around without a jacket. I felt great.

Until I didn’t.

I only have ten days left of my adventure here and I have come to the realization that I do not want to go home. I like the safety of my Scotland bubble. There are no painful memories here, no worries about a social circle and friends, and in my little fantasy land, there is no worries about bills, my lack of job and paying for school next semester. I ran out of time to travel, and was unable to see some of the other parts of the UK that I thought I would get to. The end has snuck up on me. I’m not ready. I still have yet to hear from my supervisor about a meeting and have to wait until tomorrow to get the paperwork signed for my leave of absence. I know that I pushed a lot of this to the last minute, but I am a little disheartened at the lack of support from the professors. I hope this isn’t a pattern that will be repeated for the next four months. It will be harder for me to get things done when I am more than 5,000 miles away.

Today I was up at half 6. I read 3/4 of a Stephanie Plum novel before I finally got up and decided to start the day. I’mm not sure what has been disrupting my sleep pattern, but it is on the fritz lately. I have been having nightmares about David which leave me feeling sad and empty, and I am worried about my dissertation and the research that I am doing. I know that these two things are just a product of stress, but I am worried that they will take over and I will go back to being dark and twisty. I don’t want to be dark and twisty.

Last night I packed up parts of my room to ship home. That made the end of the journey seem more real. Today I took the first box to the post office to send on home. While that doesn’t seem like a hard task, I had to carry the box and walk the 10 minutes to the office. The box didn’t seem heavy, but by the time I reached my destination, my arms wanted to fall off. I still have two more boxes that have to be walked and shipped. I’m thinking I am going to wait until Thursday to do the second box and I will take care of the third one on Monday. In the meantime, I am going to do some pushups and work out my little chicken arms.


I need a pint….or maybe three.