Our family is now one week into our journey, having kicked off our trip abroad with a visit to Edinburgh, Scotland. If you haven’t been to Edinburgh (known as The Auld Reekie), I would highly recommend it. I am sure you’ve heard that it’s cold and the weather is awful, and you can believe the rumors. They’re all true and it doesn’t matter. It truly doesn’t make a difference. In some way, it’s downright inspiring, as the people in this great city don’t miss a beat when inclement weather arrives. This is in stark comparison to Los Angeles, where rain constitutes a state of emergency, and we actually enjoyed a week of drizzles, wind, and the sun bursting between clouds for brief moments–all the varied weather conditions that only a summer in Scotland can offer. If you have ever watched the way the weather changes over four days at the British Open, you know what I mean. 
But Edinburgh is full of things to do. We just happened to be here for The Fringe–an annual international festival that brings more than 4 million people to the city each August. It’s an incredible affair with performers and shows from all over the world. People are passionate about it too. In fact, one night we shared a table at dinner with a man who has been attending the festival for 40 consecutive years! Incredible. The city is also filled with some great sites and tourist attractions, and we had fun touring the Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Britannia as well as venturing on a day trip to St. Andrews to see the Old Course, University, and Cathedral–that are all spectacular. We even took in a Scottish Football match–heading to Easter Road to watch Hibernian FC. Hibs (as they are known) have been playing football there since 1893 to give you a sense of the history that accompanies this venue that sits right in the middle of the neighborhood of Leith.img_0119Last, but not least, we did our very best to immerse ourselves in the world of JK Rowling. Cassius, as some of you may know, is a huge Harry Potter fan, and we visited the Elephant House (where JK Rowling first penned Harry Potter) as well the Balmoral Hotel (where she finished the last book). However, the highlight for Cassius had to be Greyfriars Kirkyard–the cemetery where a grave sits with the name Thomas Riddell. A cemetery may seem like an odd choice for top pick of an 11 year-old boy, but Cassius was pretty darn excited to visit the gravesite of the real life man whose name inspired the Dark Lord Voldemort!img_3070
However, the most inspiring thing about Edinburgh has to be the people. It is hard to articulate just how welcoming they were to us all week long. They are as warm as the winds are cold, and we truly never felt like visitors. Whether playing football at the park or hiking up Blackford Hill, people in Edinburgh carry with them, not so much joy, but rather a level of kindness that is almost contagious. Dogs run free on trails. People stroll unapologetically slow, and we even watched a group of boys play football while eating ice cream cones. Truly, the people are tremendous, and they treated us more like old friends than foreigners from the moment we arrived. When our routines found us revisiting local spots, people kindly inquired about how our trip was going with genuine interest. And in 7 short days, we had found ourselves with a bit of a routine. We were thousands of miles from our future home and thousands more from the one we had left behind. But these 7 days proved that home is heartbeat rather than an address, and we were sad to say goodbye.


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  1. We went to Edinburgh (and Dublin and London) in 2009 and absolutely loved it. Greatly enjoyed Elephant House and the Greyfriars Cemetery. For me the highlight was St. Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest of the buildings. St. Margaret was my 26th great-grandmother! Standing in the chapel gave me chills!!


  2. Amazing! Love the writing and the photos. Scotland just rose on the ‘places we want to visit’ list. I’ll be taking notes on all these posts!! Mike and I would love to take our family on an adventure like this when the kids are a bit older. Have so much fun!!!!!!


  3. Karen Joseph Tien August 28, 2016 — 8:42 pm

    Edinburg sounds like fun! I want to go there someday. I LOVE the pictures! I am glad you are having a good time!



  4. Karen Joseph Tien August 28, 2016 — 11:16 pm

    Edinburgh sounds great! I wish was there with you. The field you saw is just beautiful.I can’t wait to visit you in Granada. see you soon!!! Sincerely, Jessie Tien.


  5. Karen Joseph Tien August 29, 2016 — 1:54 pm

    Edinburgh sounds great! I wish I was there with you. The field that you saw was beautiful. Can’t wait to visit you in Granada! See you soon! Sincerely, Jessie Tien

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Glad that you loved Edinburgh! Sounds like you hit some amazing places, and mom would be so glad that you walked the famous golf courses. I too love the blustery weather of Scotland and the genuinely warm and earnest people. Love reading your blog!

    sis/ Auntie K


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