Words cannot describe how much I miss being in Scotland and the time I spent with my friends at the university. It has only been seven months since I left Aberdeen, yet it feels as if years have passed. I would have loved to stay in Scotland longer, but because of one thing and another, I have to just enjoy my time here in my hometown, Jakarta.
The fact that this pandemic makes it difficult to travel around amplifies the longing to meet my friends who are now mostly back in their respective countries, thousands of miles away from me. And realising that not the scenery nor the same fresh air of Aberdeen exists in my city makes me feel that I am a universe away from Scotland. Sure, there are things to enjoy in my current place, but as I have fallen in love with Scotland, I would like to bring the country closer to me, even just a little bit.
I have searched for Scotland-inspired decoration ideas online, yet most of them would require a lot of money to be implemented (e.g., renovation, expensive ornaments and paintings). One of the more attainable ideas includes displaying antiques and/or old trinkets that are already owned by yourself or your family, so I looked around my house and found some old books, antiques and aged furniture. I have been thinking about how to arrange them nicely in the rooms I frequently go into, like the living room or my bedroom. Maybe I am not the best interior designer or maybe my house looks too tropical for Scotland, but in the end, the Scottish ambience remains absent in my house. Oh well, I thought to myself, perhaps I should just save more money to afford the essential elements to get the look I wanted.
One rainy day, I was about to get a drink from the kitchen when I smelled familiar scents that reminded me of Aberdeen. Apparently, my sister was baking a sponge cake. You might think this is very random but my former flatmate, Anna, used to bake sponge cakes (they were delicious). And what can I say about rainy weather? It’s just very Scottish. The combination of the scent of rain and baking sponge cake immediately took me back to Scotland. Then it hit me, thus far, I have been trying to create a “Scottish look” that did not even exist in my former modern accommodation in Aberdeen. I also forgot how powerful a scent can be when it comes to triggering memories (I would recommend you read articles about how human brains integrate smell with information to form episodic memories. It’s interesting!).
At that moment, I felt warm inside. I was back in Scotland.
For now, I just have to stay optimistic whilst waiting for the day when my friends and I can reunite and travel around Scotland together, which I am sure will happen sooner than we think. In addition, I am thriving to liven up memories of Scotland through the items, music and routines that remind me of the time I had with my friends in the beloved country, and of course, staying in touch with the people I cherish (though mostly through social media and Zoom).