That's the only phrase I can come up with for our recent trip to Scotland. It was wonderful, it was tinged with sadness and disappointment.
This visit excelled our last two years ago by miles and several magnitude. We saw so many people we have missed and lost touch with except for random comments over the internet that it felt like a bit of a homecoming. Maybe also because our time was only six days rather than two weeks like we usually stay: we crammed in several visits everyday all over the city.
We also had the overwhelming knowledge that we were leaving, that there would be an unknown, maybe long, amount of time before we saw these people we loved. Some people we may not see again due to circumstances out of our control.
Bump was crying the last night saying good-bye to her favourite cousin. They all had such a short time to re-bond and enjoy each others' company. It feels totally unfair to rip them away from their family and friends.
There are few pictures from this trip. With a the exception of going to the Kelvingrove Museum all of our time was spent shopping for items that we can't get in Finland or are just too expensive and visiting. It seems wrong to post the ones we did get: Pudding getting to know her grandparents, the kids chasing their cousins and friends. They were so personal and so connected with the emotions of the trip I haven't even looked at them since we came back.
The Referendum, of course, was a huge part of our enjoyment of our stay. The energy of the country was phenomenal. Everyone was talking about the vote. We shared ideas with family, friends and even strangers in shops. People had opinions and questions, doubts and hopes and were willing to share them all. It felt like the beginning of something wonderful.
And then it wasn't. The defeat was like a punch to the gut. I woke at 2am with Pudding to watch the declarations coming in. From the beginning with the first NO results, I felt my gut clench. I couldn't dare to believe that independence wouldn't happen. I went back to bed before the count was finished, it was impossible to watch.
The next day the mood of everyone we met was dampened down. Several times many of us almost broke down in tears. It felt like so much was taken away, the light and energy was sucked out of the room, the country. We tried to talk around it, but it continued to weave its way into every conversation.
It feels wrong that we have slunk back to our safe corner of Europe, leaving our Scottish friends and family to deal with the fall-out of the referendum. After two weeks we can already see the after-affects. We can do little, but lend our support and the Chief will vote when he can. I only hope that the fervent activism of pre-Referendum continues and everyone works together to improve Scotland's future. That the immense turn-out continues for the general election and that the UK's government don't forget that Scotland has a voice and will continue to cry out until they are heard.