All part of the challenge

I’ve been here only 12 days now, but it feels like months. My bare room is silent and impersonal and unyielding. I feel out of place, again well out of my “comfort zone”, unable to settle. Tonight I long for the familiar, but “home” in Edinburgh feels very distant and beyond reach. I don’t know what I will be able to do here, my limited experience suddenly feels ridiculously inadequate, my friends and family are miles away, and I feel quite alone here. This is part of the challenge of being out here though, I reckon, and it will improve as this world becomes familiar.

I start to re-arrange my room, to make it more my own. There is very little in it, so I improvise with what I have. Mattress next to wall, my old suitcase becomes a table, the single bed base becomes a wardrobe. I unpack my clothes, and my Edinburgh University fleece reminds me of a completely different world and friends. and this welcome association makes it suddenly mean more to me than it has before. It seems out of place here, also partly because it is so hot and I doubt I’ll ever need to wear it.

The room is better once I have imposed some order on it. The dogs outside have started their howling, and our water has just gone off. I am starting to better appreciate how one can become slowly unhinged when alone in an alien environment, with no external reminders of the norms of one’s accustomed civilisation.

My room after rearranging

My room after rearranging



  1. Colin Dewar said

    Well you are not far away from where Heart of Darkness was conceived, but hopefully you won’t be setting up an alternative cult just yet.

    Go easy on the curtains.


    PS You have menioned the dogs but what about the roosters? Surely there are roosters joining the cacophony at about 3am evey morning?

  2. Gareth said

    One would think that there should be roosters, as there are loads of chickens all over the place, but I’ve not yet been aware of any nearby cock-a-doodle-dos!

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