Edinburgh, pt 2 (the sun)

18 December 2011

Winter equinox is coming up. Edinbr’a will have an amazing 6 hours and 57 minutes of sun. I like being able to start work later, I get to see the sun in the morning even if it’s on my back. I try to sneak out for lunch late, so I can catch it again when it’s low. Today I spend the whole day outside, and realized the major problem isn’t that it’s so short, but that it almost never reaches you in the street, unless you’re lucky enough to walk a street in the right direction. The comical result is that most of the streets and building are quite dark, while the sky is quite dramatic as sunrise almost immediately turns into sunset. I spend a lot of time looking up. This is not really a bad thing, as the city gets more interesting from the 1st floor up.

When I get out of my house in the morning, I can see Arthur’s Seat (dormant volcano) in nice lighting. Then it’s a short way North to North Bridge, which never fails to slow my cadence. I still think it’s an amazing sight, and as soon as my camera arrives here I’ll show you why. Suffice to say that you can see about half the landmarks, including my personal favorite Edinburgh’s Shame (aka Scotland’s Disgrace, or the National Monument of Scotland), for which I share an affection normally reserved for my late brain-damaged cat.

Today marked my fifth week living here. I’m not sure why, but I still don’t have any well developed opinion on this city, or on how I feel living here. Basically, I need to relearn 9 to 5, learn a new field, make a new circle of peeps, and, something which I underestimated initially, get used to new cultural sensibilities. I think a mistake I made was thinking it would be quite similar to when I moved to Berlin. While it’s not harder, it’s different, and when I moved to Berlin I didn’t realize it was permanent, so in a way I took it less seriously. Next time I move somewhere new I will probably make an effort to arrive with some obligation free weeks, just to explore and get a grip.Right now, it’s pretty hard to tell you where I stand and how I see it, as I still figure out stuff every day about this city and myself,

The advantage of the whole darkness though, is that I have discovered the Scottish alternative to Berlin’s freeshops. It’s called a charity shop, and I can find tons of great books for about 3 pounds each. I’ve been a’hoardin, but I can already tell you right now that William Dalrymple seems to only write great books, and if you’ve had any passing interest in traveling or history, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. From the “Holy Mountain”, about Christians in Turkey/Levant. Incidentally, he’s Scottish.