I feel like I’m always chasing my tail with blogging. I have lots of ideas for posts and half drafted posts and by the time I get round to sharing them it’s ages after it would have been relevant. (Hello, birth announcement weeks after the birth…) But HEY. I’m going to keep on keeping on at it, because really, what else is there? Thanks very much if you still read my intermittent ramblings, though. It’s much appreciated.
So, although it’s probably not “news” anymore… We’re leaving Shetland. It’s going to be a massive change for us and I want to document it here, partly so we can look back and say “look how far we’ve come!” in a year’s time. (I’m very hopeful that will be our feeling and not help, what have we done, can we go back now please etc etc.)
I also thought it might be helpful or interesting for anyone thinking about moving in similar circumstances – and if not, it might at least provide some light entertainment. I mean there’s bound to be at least one minor disaster we can all learn from… my own hormone induced meltdowns included.
So. Why are we moving? Anyone who’s followed me for a while will know that Kris has to go away for work a fair bit (he’s a musician and travels for gigs and other work). We’ve lived in Shetland for 5 years (as a couple, I’ve been here longer) and never intended to settle here, truth be told. It just sort of happened. And while it’s been brilliant, we really want to give being together more a shot.
So we’re moving to Glasgow! Travel will be easier from there, we have friends there and know (and love) the city already. I’m scared and excited and scared again all at once. If it was just me and Kris leaving, it’d be totally different and I’d only have excitement for it: after so many years in Shetland a city is all kinds of appealing. But with the kids in tow it’s a different story. I grew up in the isles, I know what childhood here looks like, and I’m also surrounded by friends and family. Going somewhere new (to Soren at least) and without that comfortable safety net of Shetland life is a little bit daunting.
Living in Shetland is the easy option, in many ways. It’s home, it’s familiar. It’s very safe. You can leave your door unlocked (not that I do this. Ok, I do. Shetland people: don’t rob me); you get used to a slower, more laid back – too laid back, sometimes – way of life. It’s peaceful and beautiful and wild and there’s a wonderful community spirit.
There are obviously things about the place that I find irritating. They’re probably not too different from the bad points of any small rural community: lack of anonymity, lack of diversity, lack of choice. Shetland’s location almost 250 miles north of Aberdeen can sometimes throw a different element of frustration into the mix, and it’s mainly those reasons that have contributed to us wanting to try something else: Kris having to leave at least one day early to make sure he gets to gigs on time. A flight service that is often at the mercy of weather and other “operational” issues (don’t @ me, Loganair/HIAL).
The things that make it different also make it amazing: it’s a fantastic place to bring up children thanks to all that safety and wildness. The beaches are some of the most beautiful in the country, and the community benefits from excellent amenities, thanks to a comparatively wealthy local council (cheers, oil industry). Schools are of an excellent standard.
But you can’t thrive as a family when you’re not together very much. I know that many families have a parent that works away, but often that parent is then “off” when they’re home. Kris (much like most self employed people or those with their own business) is never really “off”. There’s always work to do to keep the machine going, so throwing travel – and often trying to cram in work while he’s away to justify the expense – into the mix only means less family time. I wrote about some of my solo-parenting travails a few years ago (and it’s definitely, definitely not easier with two). We need a bit more balance.
So, we’re heading sooth! And apart from missing family and friends very much, I’m really optimistic about this next chapter. I have lived in Glasgow before, after my University years (I studied in Stirling), but back then my only responsibilities included getting home after a night out and paying my rent on time. It’s going to be a bit different this time around, with a family and a whole different outlook on life, but I’m ready for it.
I’ve loved how helpful the Instagram community has been so far in assuaging my fears, so if you have any advice or words of wisdom on moving a family or settling in a new place I’d love to hear from you!