Do you know about Meetup.com? I found it a couple of years ago in Houston, joined a few photography groups and suddenly I had friends! A social life! Plans!
I think I had lived in Houston for three or four years before I found Meetup, had worked at a few different jobs and even had some family there, but I hadn’t really made many friends. I loved the people I worked with, but I hadn’t connected with any “hang out” friends. Once I found a couple of meetup groups, I had nearly instant friends who shared some similar (read nerdy) interests with me.
A few weeks before I moved here to Scotland, I hunted down some local meetup groups and signed up. If you’re going to move to a new place, or even visit for a while, go take a look. It’s a great way to find some events, tours, classes, hikes or whatever kind of activity that takes your fancy.
The first organized meetup we joined was an “Enlightenment Walk” through Edinburgh. We met at the Mercat Cross, which is the old traditional meeting place in the middle of the market where all the good stuff happened. You know, the news was read aloud, government mandates were announced, thieves ears were nailed to the monument, people were executed. All that normal stuff.
We had a tour guide named Margaret who seemed to know every single thing ever about the history of Edinburgh, especially about the philosophers and great thinkers of the eighteenth century.
Did you know that David Hume was a great cook? Who knew?
Also, if you rub the toe of his statue you’ll absorb all of his intellect and strength of character. I wonder what you rub to get his cooking skills?
We walked for nearly two hours on the tour, stopping here and there to learn another piece of history. While I was entirely interested in the great philosophers who were the subjects of our tour, I can’t help but be distracted by all the closes leading between the buildings. A “close” is a tiny alleyway, and most of them seem to lead to some really cool places. When we’re staying in Edinburgh next month I’m going to spend some serious time exploring and getting to know some of them.
We made our way from David Hume to Adam Smith, where we watched a French woman read a great speech aloud to the statue. It was a bit strange to suddenly be standing next to a woman who is shouting at a statue in another language, but it didn’t take us long to realize she was being filmed. She seemed to be part of a TV show doing an expose on Edinburgh, so we moved a bit away and left her to her shouting.
On we went, statue to statue, building to building, college to park, all the while hearing great stories about the great thinkers of the time, and how far and wide their ideas spread around the world. Religion, education, architecture, etc. All of it was transformed by the ideas of a handful of people.
We ended the tour at Calton Hill, with a beautiful view of the city. I made notes, and now have a list of books I want to read to find out more (added to my list of a bajillion books I already want to read), and off we headed to the pub.
Have I mentioned how much I love the pub culture here? I’m gonna have to work up a whole post about just that. The art of the pub is truly brilliant to experience.
We have more walks planned, and I’ll soon be joining a photography group, a theater group, and a book club. See? Ready made social life.
I’ve been here now for just over two weeks, and even though we’re still living out of suitcases and we have no place of our own, I’m already starting to feel at home.