Now that I officially have been in Edinburgh for a month, I have gathered many thoughts about living here that I would like to share. Already, I feel quite at home here. It is very fulfilling to have made it all the way across an ocean to another country and feel at ease. I often find myself looking up at the medieval city and thinking about how lucky I am to be here.
Edinburgh is a great university city. It has that perfect mix of being a smaller and friendlier city, while also being large enough that it bustles with activity. I can walk almost the entire city from where I live, and it is such a beautiful city that I often do choose do so just for fun.
While I love Toronto, its humongous skyscrapers downtown can often feel overbearing and larger than life. Here, the shorter buildings really open up the street to the sky (even if it is a cloudy one here). Edinburgh has many parks as well, and these expansive green spaces make the downtown feel even more breathable. There is even an extinct volcano right in the middle of the city if you really want to escape into nature. This all contributes to a feeling that the urban citizen is valued and that our well-being matters.
Edinburgh is well known throughout the world as a festival city. This focus on art and culture means that there is always a plethora of events to go to. So far one of my favourite events has been the Ceilidh, or Scottish country dance. Ceilidhs are practically a mandatory part of being inducted into university life here since every society seems to hold one. This is perfectly okay by me because they are really fun – and I say this as someone who is definitely not a dancer. It is a great way to meet people and bond collectively over having no idea about what you are doing.
Edinburgh is also a city of literature, and as a literary nerd I have also been taking full advantage of this aspect of the city. Last week I went to a poetry launch for a new anthology called Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back. It was held at the national poetry library of Scotland, a beautiful modern building right in the historic heart of the city. I had never been to a poetry reading before, but when one of my friends here asked me if I wanted to come, I immediately said yes. It was an incredibly warm and welcoming event, and the poetry was fantastic. Edinburgh may be a town steeped in history, but it is also valuable to go to events focused on Scotland today, and listen and learn from other peoples experiences.
I am greatly looking forward to my next few months here now that I am settled in. Good luck with midterms U of T!