Since we came to Edinburgh many people have asked us why we chose to move to Scotland. You'd think after all this time we would have perfected our answer, but it is still difficult for us to think exactly what it was that got us interested in all things Scottish. We know that most of it comes from reading a book series that is mainly set in Scotland, but our love for kilts, castles and bagpipes goes further back than that. Scotland has been a part of our mom's family for a long time. Our grandpa has visited different parts of Scotland many times and we imagine hearing his stories added to the excitement we felt about the country. When we were younger we always said that when we had enough money the first place we would go to would be Scotland. Living here for a year really is a dream come true! We'll give you a little history about us and the year leading up to our departure. We are the two youngest daughters in a family of four girls. Our two oldest sisters are married and have two daughters each (lots of girls!). We were both still living at home and decided it was time for a change. The thought of moving out of our parents house and into an apartment in the next town, finding minimum wage jobs and basically having the same life just with a lot more to pay for, didn't sound very exciting to us. We both knew that if we wanted to do something crazy and different, now was the time. This was around December 2007. At first we thought about moving out east to Halifax. We have a good friend there and Katie even flew out there for a weekend to check things out. After doing some research, though, we decided that going west to Calgary would be a better option as there are endless amounts of jobs there. This was around February 2008 and our goal was to be in Calgary by May or June, as Katie was not going to miss the Calgary Stampede in July! However, one day while Katie was at work, Amy started doing some research about moving to Scotland. As soon as Katie got home Amy told her that they were moving to Scotland instead of Calgary. It turns out it is a lot easier than you might think. The biggest hurdle is figuring out which visa to apply for and being approved for it. So, from February we started saving our pennies.
Fast forward to August 2008. Not a lot could be done until we applied for our visa. We didn't apply for it until we had enough money saved up, which was the middle of August and we left September 10th, so those couple of weeks were quite stressful! We went into Toronto on a Wednesday to hand in our application and by Tuesday we found out we were approved. What a feeling! For months we had been planning, praying and hoping that we would be approved and our dream would come true. It was great to know that everything we had planned for was going to happen. Next we had to buy our plane tickets, order British pounds from the bank, deal with OHIP and buy health insurance to please our mother. :) At the beginning of September we started to pack and say our goodbyes. Our tickets were booked with a great flight straight to Edinburgh from Hamilton. The weekend before we left we went to Waterloo to spend some time with sister #2, S, and some friends. That Sunday we drove home and had a big family dinner with all our aunts and uncles that live in the area and said goodbye to them for the year.
Wednesday was the day we left and a day of tearful goodbyes. Our flight left at 10 pm, arriving in Edinburgh at 10 am their time. Our parents and sister #1, L, drove us to the airport. After a few hugs from each of them and a prayer for our safety from our dad we were off on the adventure of a lifetime.