This is a place where I bare my soul. I express feelings deep inside myself and sometimes that makes me feel a bit uneasy. Not sure how my readers will react sometimes. But nevertheless, I will continue to write from within my heart and hopefully won't ruffle too many feathers.
I have been back from Arkansas for just over a week now. The emotions that I've experienced, while there and since I got back, are varied and wild. It felt strange being back after being away for so long. Two years, seven months, and eight days had passed since I'd set foot in my home state. I was a little apprehensive about how much would have changed and also about how much wouldn't have changed.
I found not much had. What I did notice was so much of a difference between central Arkansas and where we live now - a stark contrast indeed.
When I drove the country roads between civilization and my daughter's college, I noticed straight away that the grass was dead ... brown ... lifeless. It certainly makes a difference to the landscape when there is green grass year-round. They say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence ... in my case, its true. Scotland boasts beautiful green grass, even peeping out from under the snow in the frozen winter months. I don't recall ever seeing brown grass in Scotland.
I also noticed a cluttering of signs, billboards, and notices along-side the freeway. Although the road was wider, I felt closed-in. It really disturbed me. All I could see, as far ahead as I could see, were the poles of hundreds of signs and billboards topped with brash, colourful signs - they all seemed to run together and cloud my mind as I drove along. I remember my friend Cathy said on our first trip (now nearly 13 years ago) over here that she noticed right away that there are no signs or billboards in the countryside here. But there are very few even in the cities. Its a smaller country but there are regulations that forbid the placing of so many signs that scar the beautiful landscape. A lesson could be learned here.
The lifestyle is so much more relaxed here. Not necessarily in my particular job, but things are slower here. Much slower. I have time to read. I have time to go swimming on a Saturday morning. I have time to spend with my family enjoying this beautiful country. That time always escaped me in Arkansas.
My accent is changing. Everyone in Arkansas said I sounded Scottish. People here tell me I sound American. Where does my accent belong now? Everywhere and nowhere? Maybe one day it'll settle into something solid and people will know. Maybe.
I also noticed while I was driving along ... that although it was familiar, it wasn't home anymore. I was loving spending the time I had with my kids and my friends ... but at the same time, I was homesick for what is now my home. I've told people that since I've been back and they all seem pleased that I've acclimated well here. But part of me is sad that I don't feel at home in Arkansas anymore. I know I'll never call it home again.
I know its hard for people to believe, especially people that know me well ... but I don't like change. Moving here, bringing my boys with me here, settling here ... was a huge step in my life. One I don't regret. I know I've got a future here in Scotland, my new official home. One of my neighbors called me a local a day or two ago. I guess that means that I've now been accepted in my community. A community that makes me feel like a local, like I belong. I belong. For the first time in so very long, I really belong...