Where is the Christ in Christmas?

Ahh, Christmas. The snow, the joy, the merriment, the massive orgy in the woods. If one of those things seems a little off, than I’d like to ask you how much you really know about the origins of Christmas.

“Well, Sarah, it all starts when Mary and Joseph had to travel to Jerusalem -“

That’s where I’m going to stop you, because you’re dead wrong. You have been brainwashed by the Catholic Church, even if you aren’t Catholic. As a former Catholic and current pagan, I have been invited by the lovely Peachy Keen editors to educate you all on the true meaning of Christmas: distracting ourselves from the fear of the cold, starvation, and darkness by throwing wild sex parties around massive bonfires.

I want to make this clear now. I have been pagan for about a year, focusing on the Celtic and Norse pantheon. I have read about the Romans and Greeks, because, who hasn’t? I don’t know a ton about the Egyptians, or any religions on the eastern side of the world, so I don’t claim to be an expert by any means. I also want to point out that I’m doing this Drunk History style. I’ve got a beer and I’m just gonna talk out of my ass for awhile about a subject I truly love, exposing the Catholic Churches hidden secrets.

So, first and foremost: Jesus was not born in December. Not even close. The mention of a shepherd out with his flock is your first indication that this is probably closer to July or August, because if we go back to 8th grade ecology, we’ll remember that deserts are freakishly hot in the day time and dangerously cold in the night time, and while I have lived my whole life in the temperate forest we know as the Midwest, I can take a decent guess that those dangerously cold nights are even colder in winter. And, something some of you may not know, sheep are usually brought much closer to home in the winter so that they can be easily accessed for their wool and watched more closely, as prey is scarce in the winter and the predators will be more likely to come up to a large flock in the middle of nowhere rather than up in a village or city. So, now that we’re done with our crash course in sheep husbandry, it makes much more sense that this account of angels and sheep and God’s chosen son was more closely tied in with bathing suit season than hot cocoa and snuggling weather.

“Ok, so if Jesus was born in the summer, then why do we celebrate his birthday in the middle of winter?”

Excellent question! Do you know what, aside from Christmas, is happening in mid December?

Most notably is the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Imagine, you’re an ancient human from your area of choice in the northernmost Northern Hemisphere (that’s right, I’m not letting you get away with saying Jamaica so you can get out of this thought experiment). The days are getting shorter, colder, and hungrier. Your crops have all been harvested and stored, you’re collecting what food you can but your haul comes back smaller and smaller each time. I’m sure you’d start to get worried and sad, hoping you have enough to feed your family until the thaw. You begin to lose hope. So one of your neighbors comes up with an idea. “Hey, why don’t we light a huge fire on the shortest day to make it last longer. We can dance and sing and get drunk and… fool around. You know, to appease the gods.”

So the first guy to come up with this idea may have been a bit of a perv, much like the guy who figured out how to get milk, but it starts to catch on. In the midst of the darkness, you and your family and friends create your own light. You ask your gods to hurry up the winter (much like Groundhog’s Day), and you start giving offerings. A goose, some roasted chestnuts, whatever you can spare and emerge into the warmth of spring in a few months. And some of these gods preferred more… carnal offerings. And as people of faith tend to do, they delivered. They delivered to the point that when the Church sent missionaries out to the Celts and the Norse, they were appalled. These winter festivals of sex and merriment went against their whole schtick of “Suffer now be happy later.” So if they were going to get these people to accept Catholicism, they were going to have to rebrand these sex festivals. They let them live in tandem for a while, but eventually push came to shove and Yule and whatever Christmas was originally (I believe it was a day of fasting and penance much like Lent was meant to be) merged and the people decided to only keep the fun parts.

They kept a lot of the elements that we still know today, candles and fire and yule logs to burn through the long night instead of immense bonfires. A lot of people may already know this, but in Germanic and Norse regions, they would go and decorate the fir trees outside with trinkets and food to appease the forest spirits into helping them through. The excess of Christmas dinner and sweets comes from the principle of manifestation. If they were gluttonous and frivolous with their supplies on the darkest of nights, they must be prosperous next year. It was like a taunt to the gods I guess. “Look at us, we’re eating so much and it’s only the start of the cold, we must be so prosperous!”

Now for Santa. This is a one for one substitution. While there was a real Turkish man that would give money and trinkets to the poor, he is not the inspiration for Mr. Claus. No, that right is reserved for the All Father, Odin. That’s right, Thor’s gruff weird father who knows the secrets of the end of the world becomes jolly old saint Nick for Jól, the Norse word for the winter feast. Odin would go and reward his faithful servants with gifts. It may not have been the new PS5, but for Norse peoples it was a hope in a dark place. Hell, they didn’t even go that far from the source material. Odin’s eight legged horse equals Santa’s eight reindeer. Odin is even depicted frequently in a red suit and a wide brimmed hat. So I guess that makes Mrs. Clause Frigga, which I can get behind.

So, we’ve covered the Christmas tree, Santa Claus and his reindeer (which, by the way would be in rutting season at this time of year and the males would be extremely dangerous and also, have no horns due to shedding them. So just know that all of Santa’s reindeer have to be female), the yule log, the festive eating, and the fact that NONE OF IT CONTAINS JESUS. Not that Jesus wasn’t an amazing historical figure, but I feel like he may not be thrilled that we all celebrate his half birthday by giving gifts to each other while dressed as a Norse god and practicing ritualistic manifestation. So happy holidays, because while Christmas may seem like one holiday, it is the descendant of so many winter festivals and celebrations that there isn’t really a true “Christ” in Christmas. Celebrate the longest night of the year the way you want to, whether that’s honoring the Roman martyr, dressing like the All Father, or drinking the night away like the ancients.

. . .

It’s OK To Be SAD

SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly known as Seasonal Depression.

According to the Mayo Clinic, SAD is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — it begins and ends at about the same times every year. For most people, symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often do people experience SAD in the warmer months, but it still happens!

Fall and Winter SAD

Symptoms specific to winter-onset SAD, sometimes called winter depression, may include:

  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Tiredness or low energy

Spring and Summer SAD

Symptoms specific to summer-onset seasonal affective disorder, sometimes called summer depression, may include:

  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Agitation or anxiety

The Mayo Clinic also firmly encourages, “Don’t brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the “winter blues” or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own.”

It’s always startling to me how controversial therapy is. Over the years I’ve heard so many people say, “No, therapy is not for me. Tried it once and nope.” or the quip of, “I don’t need therapy” or even therapy being labeled as liberal poppycock is another quip that has the eyes rolling to the back of my head.

I have a very firm belief that anyone who hates therapy simply hasn’t had a good therapist. It’s so important to find the right therapist for you, therapist shopping is a thing! A sucky tiresome thing, I’ve learned in my adult life, but necessary.

The concept of therapy has never been taboo for me, it’s always been a common party of life and conversation – talking about going to see a therapist is as casual as talking about a trip to the mall, or a more accurate comparison is saying you’re going to the doctor for just a checkup to make sure all the parts are running the way they should.

I’ve been seeing a therapist since I was seven or eight years old. My mom had started seeing Suzie shortly after my parents divorced, but my sister and I weren’t brought in for a family session until a few years into my mom’s therapy journey. After one visit with Suzie, we began yearly visits until sometime in high school when it became abundantly clear I wasn’t doing ok and needed more frequent visits. Essentially, I have a habit of bottling up emotions and carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I hate sharing or opening up, because I feel my problems are mine alone to bear, I don’t want to put them on anyone else.

But talking with Suzie became a such an outlet, and I will say – it was an incredible bonus that she was regularly seeing my mom, my sister, and even some other family members. This meant I never had to do a lot of the background family deep dive you usually do with a therapist – she already knew the deep rooted family problems and how they trickled into my psyche. Every visit with her was always this much needed cathartic release of emotion I had kept tightly sealed… she’s a blessing, honestly.

As I got older, moved away for school and what not, I still would hit a point about once a year where I’d be like, “DRIVING UP TO ANDERSON BECAUSE I NEED SUZIE!”

It took probably the second year of me only coming to see her in the dead of winter where she’s like, “Emily, I’m pretty sure you have seasonal depression.”

I was quick to respond, “No, no – I’m sad year round remember?

But she explained it, that yes overall I struggled with mental health, but my lowest points where I seem to be unable to take it anymore happen the same time every year – nearly without fail.

I still had a hard time agreeing with her, mainly because winter is my favorite time of the year, I love Christmas, I adore the snow (I swear I can smell it coming several hours before it actually snows), and I just love the coziness… there’s no way my favorite season would betray me so much. I couldn’t accept it.

But, she was right – it wasn’t really up to me to dispute the facts.

She also let me know that Indiana has some of the highest seasonal depression rates in the country, ranking number 3 overall!

Indiana 3rd in Google searches for seasonal depression | News Sun |  kpcnews.com
Source: KPCNews

Above is an image detailing states with the most google searches for seasonal depression – I think this graphic is most interesting because it shows how many people are wondering, “Do I have seasonal depression?” and looking into it; scouring WEB MD to see if their never-ending feeling of meh is normal. As you can imagine, seasonal depression, like clinical depression, often goes undiagnosed.

The ultimate “cause” of seasonal depression is unknown, but the Mayo Clinic says it could be:

  • Your biological clock (circadian rhythm). The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may cause winter-onset SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.
  • Serotonin levels. A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in SAD. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.
  • Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, treatments for seasonal depression fall into four main categories that may be used alone or in combination:

  • Light therapy
  • Psychotherapy (this is talk therapy aimed to help develop coping mechanisms)
  • Antidepressant medications
  • Vitamin D

Light therapy may be the one to catch your eye (it certainly caught mine) and honestly it’s something that I had always been told about and it’s my mom and my aunt’s favorite form. The quick way to get some light therapy in high dosage is simply going tanning, which I know, I know, it’s not good for your skin. But I can tell you right now, when I excessively tanned throughout college, it always seemed to be the boost I needed that day.

That being said – there are non-harmful, safe for your skin, forms of light therapy available! Very Well Mind has compiled a list of the best light therapy lamps of 2020 – check those out and maybe invest, or ask for one for Christmas 😉

Over the years, the way that I’ve tried coping with SAD is to jam pack the winter months with activities. At work it’s the busiest time which helps, I try to make it where I get to see as many family and friends as possible, and then at the tail end of winter (that nasty February bit) is when it’s the absolute worst for me – so I always try to plan a trip abroad during that time. I find that for me the depression creeps in when I have idle hands and a dwelling mind, so I work hard to eliminate as many occasions as possible where the depression could take its hold.

Some days the depression still wins, making it hard for me to even leave my bed; but sometimes I do the winning and have great days – and that’s just the way it is. It’s a balancing act to get all those chemicals in your brain steady 🙂

. . .

Ultimately, Seasonal Depression is real and not something to be taken lightly. It’s serious, don’t ignore it or brush it off – and don’t brush off your friends and family when they tell you they suffer from it. SAD can lead to serious issues like school or work problems, social withdrawal, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts or behavior, anxiety, eating disorders, and more.

Seasonal Depression is a real mental health issue, treat it like you would clinical depression, manic bipolar, bulimia, or literally any other mental health issue. Just because you don’t suffer the effects everyday, year round, does not invalidate the severity or the impact it has, or could have, on your life.

. . .

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger due to depression, contact 911. If you or someone you know is in need of support, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255); En Español 1-888-628-9454 or text “HELLO” to 741741 the Crisis Text Line.

The One Where She Went Skiing

Newsflash – Indiana is flat AF. Straight roads go on for miles and miles, the most exciting a road can get is if you hit a pothole that sends you flying.

Indiana is so flat you can watch your dog run away for two weeks.

Indiana is so flat

Okay, ok – done.

Indiana is flat, but something weird happens the farther south you go. The Earth begins to rise and these mounds of dirt begin to emerge. One of the more hilly towns of Indiana is that of Paoli – home of Paoli Peaks. Paoli Peaks is a ski resort in Orange County and built on a natural hill at a 900 ft. elevation with a vertical drop of 300 ft. For well traveled skiers, this may seem like a bunny hill of a feat, but for those who’d like to ski somewhere between Louisville and Indianapolis… I’d say Paoli is the Aspen of Indiana. If you want to get real fancy on this ski-escapade, you’d stay in the West Baden Springs Hotel and drink in that wealth before hopping over to the slopes – that hotel and its entire grounds are seriously impressive and sets the tone for a lush experience.

January 2014 is when I got my first taste of Paoli, and my one and only go at skiing – and my God, was that something to behold.

If I told you I excelled immediately and was a natural born skier, my pants would burst into flames because that would be one of the biggest lies of the century. The amount of times I fell, and cursed the children who were expertly skiing past me as I lie staring at the sky were insurmountable. The number of times I threatened the lives of others, both on purpose and accident, were shocking. But the amount of times I fell and got up either by myself, or with a helping hand… were impressive.

Clearly I learned some existential things during my time skiing in the Aspen of Indiana:

You can’t just waltz in somewhere and think you’ll be perfect right off the bat. Sometimes it happens, but a lot of the time… to be really good at something, it takes time. Not just several hours either, but days, weeks, months, years to be really good at something.

So don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect at something new. In fact, go in with the mindset of “I might suck now, but I’ll get better.”

I can’t emphasize enough how enraged I was, each time I fell to the snowy ground and saw these children just expertly skiing past me. It was unfair, I was older and supposed to inherently be better – it’s how it works.

But it’s actually not, is it?

Those children have been skiing as long as they could walk, maybe. But also the way young minds absorb new things is completely unparalleled to an older/adult brain.

In all walks of life, it is highly likely you will come across a younger person who simply knows more, or does something better, than you. Don’t be bitter about it, be better and maybe even ask them for help. Don’t let pride and ego stop you from being better.

I’m really, really terrible at asking for help. I’m an incredibly determined person and fairly confident in the fact that I can do anything. There’s not much I can’t do on my own, and I quite like it this way.

But do you know how much quicker something can get done if you invest in an extra hand? It took me a couple hours into skiing to just finally ask anyone and everyone for help on that slope. And it’s so crazy – the more people I asked, the more friends I made, and the more enjoyable the day went on to be.

It’s so important to try new things, but sometimes trying a bunch of new things all at once is too much. It sends your body into a bit of shock and can ruin the vibe pretty quick.

By the time I got the skiing “down”, down as in not falling every few minutes, I was quickly convinced by a friend to try snowboarding. I should’ve drawn the line and said, “No, thanks – I still want to focus on skiing and get this solidified before the days done.”

But no, I of course agreed and created this new obstacle for myself. Within moments of trying to snowboard, my body, well my mind really, was just like “Girl, you’re maxed out for the day. You’re done. Also, you now hate everyone.”

Setting goals is just as important as setting limits. Respect yourself enough to do both, and communicate your boundaries to those around you.

It really is as simple as that – don’t let one mistake keep you from trying again.

Epic fails = epic character building.

. . .

Emily at Paoli Peaks in 2014

Ice Queen Vibes

UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT: Winter is better than Summer.

Actually, I’ll go even further. Winter is better than all other seasons! Winter could take on any other season in a fight, even with one hand tied behind her back. I said it.

Before you completely dismiss this article AND Winter, check out the list of reasons I give to support my argument below:

1. Colder Temperatures = Less Sweat

Look, I know that this sounds like a prissy, annoying and superficially “girly” reason to dislike summer. But be honest, who actually enjoys sweating, other than satan himself? Summer is great, until the temperature goes above 75 degrees. Once it’s 76 and over, it is GAME OVER for the armpits of your favorite shirts, your perfectly coiffed hairstyle, the shower that you just took that morning and the skin on the back of your legs as you rip yourself off the leather seats of your car. No thanks, I’ll pass.

2. No Flowering Trees in Bloom = No Incessant Allergies

“But what about indoor allerg–” SHUT UP LINDA, THAT’S NOT WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. Personally, I suffer from pollen allergies. Every childhood summer I had was spent avoiding my siblings pleas to play outside with them. I didn’t know why I hated it out there until high school when my doctor told me for the fourth year in a row that I wasn’t sick, I just had allergies. Finally it all made sense! I figured out that the sore throat, the runny nose and the itchy eyes (actually the itching all over) had a cause. That cause was warm weather. Therefore, God bless buttoned-up coats and bare-naked trees!

3. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

HELLO WINTER HOLIDAYS! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, you know you’re going to have a killer family (or friend) celebration during the Winter months. Even if you don’t celebrate any religious holidays, there’s probably still a New Years Eve party to boogie with your friends at on December 31st. I can’t lie, I love getting fancy and festive! Oh, let’s not forget the fact that even as an adult, you normally get time off from stress for these celebrations. Sign me up!

4. Cold Weather Fashion is the “Coolest”

Dresses with tights, blazers, sweaters, beanies, boots and scarves…need I say more? Much cuter than a pair of sweaty jean shorts…just sayin’.

5. The Cozier, the Better

There’s really nothing better than being wrapped up in soft blankets on a cold night, hot tea or hot chocolate in hand. If you’re one of the lucky ones with a fireplace, cuddle up next to that bad boy and read a good book! Go get yourself a hot peppermint mocha latte and sip your cares away. In the summer, all you get is sweat-soaked sheets and an angry walk in the heat to the coffee shop. Which sounds better to you? I sure know what I’d prefer.

*-*-*-*-*-*

There are some good things about warm weather. I love bonfires and beaches as much as anyone! I also can see why one might dislike Winter, like driving on icy roads (but hey, snow days!) and having to carry your coat all around the bar. However, I’ve weighed the pros and cons of all four seasons and Winter always seems to come out on top. You can try to convince me otherwise, but meanwhile I’m content with being the ice queen I am.

UK Adventures: Beast from the East

Buckle your seatbelts everyone, I’m about to take you for a wild ride.

End of February going into March 2018, I made the ultra-fun decision to go visit one of my friends, Linus, in his home country ~ England. It would be my first time going there ever, and I hadn’t seen Linus since we’d studied abroad together in 2016, so this trip was revved up to be an ordeal. An amazing ordeal.

I did my research and the cheapest way, and really the most fun way, to get to Linus was to first fly to Paris and meet one of our mutual friends there, then together her and I would fly to London that same day, and then… you know what, I’m actually a psycho planner so below is what had been planned:

See my full excel here if you’re looking for planning inspo… LOL I AM NOT ASHAMED

As you can see, we get to do a fun trip hitting various cities. Our two days in London (really only one proper day) we went to Warner Brothers Studios and did the FULL Harry Potter shebang. It was bliss, I would easily pay the 40-50 bucks to go again, and again, and again. It was magic and everything I hoped it would be and more…

PRO TIP: You have to book your tickets for WB Studios in advance. Like as soon as possible, because depending on the time of year, they can be all booked up for several weeks out!

After our super fun Harry Potter escapade, we hopped in train up north to the main event: the visit with the lovely Linus in his humble abode located in Newcastle Upon Tyne. I’ll be real, the only Newcastle I had ever heard of was the one in Indiana, so I didn’t know what to expect when signing up to visit this town. But I’ll be quick to say Newcastle is a pretty major city that perfectly maintains the English quaintness I was craving. We had loads of fun seeing the town, great shopping, fun nights out. We went to this great bar called The Alchemist and the cocktails were so extravagant and hands on, I felt like a witch brewing potions – and lemme tell ya, the potions were working!

At this point you’re probably thinking, “This trip seems so nice! Way to be dramatic, Emily. So much for a wild ride…”

Well here we go… if you scroll back up to my lovely calendar, you’ll see that we had an unassuming day trip planned from Newcastle to Edinburgh. It made sense to do, it was a two hour journey via train, we could easily leave Newcastle early morning and leave Edinburgh late evening. Not to mention, the train tickets were stupid cheap. It was a great setup.

PRO TIP: Check the weather before you travel anywhere – near or far!

Our journey begins like most, tickets are bought, including surprise tickets for an unsuspecting Linus & his roommate as gratitude for letting us crash at theirs during our visit. We’re all buzzing with excitement to journey up to Edinburgh. I can’t wait to catch sight of the castle, more Harry Potter vibes, and of course catch some Scottish accents.

We’re nearly halfway through our train ride when we notice a light snow flurry begin to pick up intensity, and it’s not long before our train makes an unplanned stop. We’re at a standstill for nearly an hour, and it’s unknown when we will start moving. Linus’ roommate’s mother begins texting her frantically, “You guys are crazy to go to Edinburgh! Didn’t you check the weather?! You should turn around and come back…”

Upon the relay of the mother’s message, I speak quickly and firmly for us all, “No, this snow is nothing. We’re fine!”

Oh, those are the famous last words, aren’t they?

The snow certainly was nothing compared to the harsh winters experienced in Indiana, this weather would barely get us a 2-hr Delay from school! But what I had not taken into account is that the UK is not equipped for this kind of icy weather. It didn’t come often enough for it to be a problem, so when it did the country would just simply hold tight at home and wait out what they call a Beast from the East.

The ‘Beast from the East’ is a phrase used to describe cold and wintry conditions in the UK as a result of easterly winds from the near continent.

When pressure is high over Scandinavia, the UK tends to experience a polar continental air mass. 

When this happens in winter, cold air is drawn in from the Eurasian landmass, bringing the cold and wintry conditions that give rise to the ‘Beast from the East’ moniker.

Met office UK

So, basically it’s a crazy polar vortex that can be blamed on Scandinavia, ultimately. This is when the Beast from the East becomes a focal point of the story.

As we finally make it into a snowy Edinburgh, I’m awestruck. This is where some of my favorite film, TV, and literature is set – this is the backdrop of all of my daydreams – I’m in heaven. We wander around, snapping photos and trying not to slip in the quickly piling snow. Then we get to the castle…

Instantly I feel transported back in time – I can almost see the historical figures walking around. is this real life? Am I really here?

We continue, or mainly I continue, to snap photos and relish in the atmosphere before we soon declare it time to explore elsewhere – maybe grab a bite to eat before the train back, maybe finally try some Scotch because when in Rome… 😉

We don’t make it very far from the castle, when suddenly the wind picks up and snowflakes fall in thicker form. What had first felt like a gentle breeze with wisps of snow, now suddenly becomes a rioting force whiting out the landscape. We make a dash into the nearest pub to escape the beast, and quickly get cozy at the bar while we wait for a table to become available.

As we’re waiting, the chatty bartender quickly learns our story. Pouring scotch into a glass, she tells us very seriously, “Everything is closing down, I’ve never experienced anything like this. Even the castle is closed down, and it’s not been closed down in some 50 years! I’ll be surprised if the train will take you to Newcastle tonight…”

We nervously laugh in response and brush her off like idiots.

An hour or so later we’re stuffed to the brim with bangers & mash, scotch, and beer. Once the bill is paid, we begin to make our way through the now full blown blizzard towards the train station.

Well, reader, have you guessed what’s happened yet? Have you?

After a lengthy walk with many near-falls, we make it to the train station. We’re immediately met with a flustered conductor who tells us that all trains have been cancelled and that we should check back in the morning. He then points us to their office where they get us booked up in a complimentary hotel for the night and even equip us with meal vouchers for the inconvenience.

Im Fine GIF - Im Fine Friends GIFs

At this point, all we can do is exasperatedly sigh and get on with life. It’s just one night… I quickly google the hotel to find that it’s actually a 5-Star hotel anyway, so it’s totally fine. And it’s only one day of being the same clothes, luckily I always carry contact solution and spare contacts, so it’s fine. Seriously, I’m fine.

Chrissy Teigan GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

The next morning, Linus’ roommate checks with the train station and they tell her we need to check back later – nothing’s moving as of now. But they also quickly add that they are doing tickets on a first come first serve basis and in person only – so we need to be physically coming down to the station periodically to check the status...

Each morning and afternoon we dutifully check in at the station to see if there’s anything leaving Edinburgh, but always we get the same answer, “Nothin’ yet.”

Days quickly turn into weeks, weeks turn into months…

Just kidding 😉

We ended up being stranded in Edinburgh for four days in total. The trainline, Virgin, put us up in incredibly nice hotels each night and also provided us with breakfast and dinner vouchers each day. They were “perfectly splendid” and we lucked out with their hospitality.

Unfortunately though, due to the weather, everything in Edinburgh was closed down – all of the shops and museums and the castle – truly the only things open were the pubs. So we weren’t that put out, just drunk and stuck in the same clothing everyday LOL!

One of the highlights was when Linus and I stumbled upon this secret little pub off the beaten path, it was so cozy and felt so unapologetically Scottish – it was truly a highlight of the stranding. We were even encouraged to take off our shoes to dry them by the fire – it felt surreal and as if everything was a purposeful vacation in that moment.

So now we’ve hit a super fun part, and I’m curious if you’ve done the math and caught what’s about to go down next!

Not only had my return flight to Paris been missed, but by the time we made it back to Newcastle, so had my return flight back to the US 🙂

PRO TIP: Book all of your travel (flights and hotel) with a CREDIT CARD! Most credit cards have some of the best travel protection imaginable and will refund you for nearly everything – as long as it’s a valid excuse like sickness or weather, etc.

Nope GIFs | Tenor

But did ya homegurl use a credit card to book her travels? Or at the very least get traveler protection?

I was able to rebook my flight to Paris just fine since the UK was so greatly affected by the winter weather, but France was completely unaffected… so I was out a good chunk of change for my flight back to the US.

Needless to say, major lessons were learned, incredibly unique experiences were had… yet out of everything, there’s only one thing I would change. That’s right, after all that chaos I only have one thing to change.

My attitude.

Due to everything constantly changing, being completely out of control of the situation, additional vacation days being used that I had originally allotted for other things throughout the year… it was all eating at me and a lot of the time I struggled to properly enjoy what was put in front of me: an extended, nearly free, vacation with friends I don’t get to see very often. I wish that I embraced it all a bit more openly and accepted that the situation was out of my control, and just lived in the freaking moment. Clearly, there were definitely times I was able to get outside of my own head and enjoy myself, but can you just imagine what more experiences could’ve been added to the list if I just let go?

PRO TIP: Let go & live in the moment.