Home is where the heart is
Just when a cold place was becoming warmly familiar and when the tiny roots that had grown tentatively at first were starting to thicken and take a strong hold, the time for a premature and rude uprooting had arrived: graduation.
A plant, acclimatized to temperate weather, was being roughly uprooted and plonked unceremoniously down in a place with weather that was a total contrast and hence, hazardous to its tender budding shoots.
What was familiar was suddenly a thousand miles away and what used to be familiar had grown foreign.
In retrospect, I guess I left a part of my heart in Glasgow when I left. The first few months post-Glasgow, I could not look at photos of my year there without a sickening wave of sadness, of longing for familiar places, of dissapointment and regret for things not done, not achieved, of places not visited, not seen. The hurt was so bad that I eventually hid the photos safely in some forsaken place. Out of sight, out of mind, I hoped.
But whether I could or could not forget, the sands of time swirled around me and passed swiftly. A difficult houseman year, endless soul-searching, tears that I thought were bottomless, trying to find my niche in a profession I wasn't too sure I liked...In the midst of the tornado, I somehow found or stumbled upon the calm in its centre. I slowly began finding my footing, stricking a balance.
The plant adapted by growing leaves with thick cuticles to conserve water in the humid climate and stopped the practice of turning a pretty shade of golden auburn each autumn.
I discovered bits and pieces- good friends, writing, blogging, fav local hangouts, to fill the missing chunk of my heart, to make it whole again. The longing is now different. It's still there, but it has mellowed, the hurt has faded and I can see the times in Glasgow clearly now without a rose-tinted hue obscuring my vision. I see both sides now, the happy and the sad times, the good and the bad.
In a recent trip back to Ipoh, I felt an urge to see the long hidden photos and dug them up and looked back with nostalgia at the distant place in what seemed a far-off time. The following snapshots of Glasgow, I took the day before flying home to Malaysia (16/7/03).
James Blythe Court, our beloved hostel on a gentle slope.
This is just down the hill from our James Blythe Court hostel. Royal Bank of Scotland is at the corner, STA travel further down, Co-op grocery stall, and cafe selling cheap breakfast, sausage/bacon and roll for 1 pound.
Further down the road to your right leads to George Square, a famous landmark of Glasgow
Slope leading down to an intersection where a left turn leads to the Royal Bank road, a right turn leads to George Square. Scary Uni building where we sat for our gruelling final papers is on the right
A left at SainsB, leads you down yet another shopping street, Buchannan Street where Borders is.
Lady we affectionately call "Tesco aunty" as Tesco is just down the road from where she sets up her stall selling lovely flowers, and delicious seasonal fruits.I think she even sold cards during the Xmas season.
St. Enoch Square with Summerfieds supermarket, Greggs and Baker's Oven bakeries, Next the clothing store and also Pizza Hut and Woolsworth down the road on the right.
Frango's, a classy cafe that I always walked by on the way to Argyle Street but never could afford to dine at. Kiam siap? That time student ma!
At long last, the re-potting process is finally complete. The plant shyly opens its first blossom, a cheerful yellow bloom that passer-bys stop to admire."I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils"
(Pix courtesy of Aaron Ong)