I have a dirty little secret (in all honesty I have several). However this one pertains to me being a secret Neil Diamond fan.
Of all the Neil Diamond songs, there is one that particularly resonates with me, especially now. The song is called I Am, I Said. In it, Diamond examines his feelings of where he belongs, specifically with the lines:
“Well, I’m New York City born and raised
But nowadays, I’m lost between two shores
LA’s fine, but it ain’t home
New York’s home but it ain’t mine no more.”
For me, substitute New York with Scotland and LA with England and you have my situation to a T.
I’ve lived in England since 1989 – almost 23 years to the day when I left for traveling. I enjoyed my life there, found friends and love (albeit love imported from Ireland). Life there was good and the decision to head home wasn’t one taken lightly. However I can’t for a minute say that I was ever fully assimilated. In all honesty I think my living in England made me more proud of Scotland than I would have been had I grown up there.
I have for all my life had the aspiration to return home. I feel something different inside when I’m there – it sounds wishy washy bollocks, but it’s true – friends and loved ones have even gone so far as to say that when I’m north of the border I’m generally happier (no small feet when you’re as miserable as me).
However I also have to concede that the excitement I feel about moving back is tempered with a lot of nerves. I have what can only be described as a quintessential English accent. I know more of England’s systems and institutions than of Scotland’s. Though I care for neither, if forced to I could answer far more questions on the English Premier League than the SPL. The fact is to the casual observer I’m more English than Scottish and I can’t forever hide behind a Scotland rugby jersey.
So how will I be accepted? Only time will tell. I like to think that I’ll slip quietly under the radar and that people will take me as I come. Failing that I’ll keep my trap shut and let the missus do the talking – everybody loves the Irish, right?
To paraphrase Diamond, Scotland’s home and may not be mine yet, but I fully intend to make it mine in time…