Friday, January 16, 2009

Before I arrived in Scotland, I "saw" two images. The first was a room with tiny pink roses on a delicate patterned paper. The second was a lighthouse viewed down a narrow body of water from a high bluff. I didn't know what they meant, but I kept them tucked awayf for further reference. I had had such a busy semester that by the time I finally arrived in Edinburgh on the train from my BUNAC orientation in London, I was exhausted. I went to the Tourist Centre just outside Waverly Station. They booked a room for me at a B & B and I caught the bus to make my way to The Knolls and its amazing proprietress, Allison Fairbairn. She was waiting outside for me, wisked me and my suitcase into her lovely home. Settle me into the conservatory with tea, fresh scones and red raspberries from her garden. I was in heaven. I read for a while and she showed me to my room upstairs. And there was the rose wallpaper! I knew I was on the right path. I showered and slid under the downy duvet and slept without moving until morning when the aroma of rich coffee wafted up the stairs. After a full Scottish breakfast, I returned to my room and read and slept and read and slept. I don't think Mrs. Fairbairn knew quite what to do with me in the house, she was used to her guests being out and about. I just I had to get my energy renewed. Later that day I took the bus downtown and booked a day tour through the Kingdom of Fife for the next day. I walked around Edinburgh and visited the oldest pub in Old Towne, met a couple of chaps from Glasgow with thick Glaswegian accents. They told me their stories and we had a few lagers and lots of laughs. The next day I'm on a bus to the Kingdom of Fife, where there were villages with wonderful names like Pittenweem, Ainstruther and Crail. Also the ruins of Linlithgow Palace where Mary Queen of Scots was born. We also made a stop in the Village of St. Andrews where I had no luck obtaining a job. But it was all so beautiful and a day well spent. The following day I told Mrs. Fairbairn I was going to take the train to the west coast and make my way to Iona. She kept asking me what my "plan" was. When I told her I came to Scotland to look for a summer job, she didn't seem to think that was much of a "plan". She offered to drive me to the train station and made me promise to write or call when I got settled so that she would know that the "crazy" American was alright. Next stops... Glasgow Queen Street Station andthe train to the fishing village of Oban, my home for the next week and my base of operations for the Job Search.