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  • Writer's pictureSonja Lembke

Recharged – Summer Weather and First Holiday

The last two months brought a few significant transitions: The weather went from bleak and gloomy to perfectly summerly, the relaxation of covid restrictions allowed me and my co-workers to travel more, I got a new roommate after lacking one for almost two months, and I went to Edinburgh for my first holiday in ten months! Although these changes all had a positive effect on my life at Corbenic, my mood didn’t necessarily reflect that as I spent much of my free time preparing for an English exam that I decided to take during my holiday in June in Edinburgh. After my holiday, however, I noticed that my energy and motivation are recharged.

The weather in Scotland shifted from cold and rainy to warm and summerly later than I expected: It wasn’t until mid-May that it was bearable to wear a t-shirt outside. However late, we appreciated the development and tried to enjoy the good weather as much as possible. We went for walks, to the trampoline and to the swing and played football with the residents whenever the daily routine allowed. On my days off, I also tried to soak up the sun by going for walks and especially by reading outside. An additional opportunity to enjoy the improved weather presented itself when I joined the hillwalking group. Every other Wednesday, some residents particularly keen on exercise are going for a long walk, accompanied by a workshop leader and some co-workers. Besides spending more time in the nature, I like getting to know residents from other houses while hillwalking since residents and co-workers from the whole main house can participate.

After new covid restrictions for Scotland came into place on 26 April, it was possible for us to travel more and outside our council area again. Two friends and I took advantage of this only three days later when we went to the Glenfinnan Viaduct. We even got to see the Jacobite Steam Train, better known as the Harry Potter Train, passing the bridge while we were there. A passionate Harry Potter fan myself, this was definitely one of my favourite outings. Another outing, this time with the house, that let my fandom heart beat faster was to the Kelpies in Falkirk. We also went to see the Falkirk Wheel but the Kelpies were much more interesting in my opinion. Despite being connected to Harry Potter only slightly, the Kelpies were special to me because they refer to my former quidditch team, the Kiel Kelpies. Other outings, with the house or co-workers, included going to the Highland Chocolatier in Pitlochry, Stirling, Loch Turret in Crieff, the forest in Falkland and the Kinclaven Bluebell Wood. It’s just great to be able to travel again and actually see something of the country that I have been living in for the past ten months yet seen so little of.

At the end of May, I got a new roommate. My former roommate, whom I had shared a room with for seven months and who soon became my best friend at Corbenic, went home in late March. Although I have missed having a roommate, it was still a big transition when the time came for someone else to move in. It is just natural that it takes some time to adapt to someone else’s personality when you’re living together. My new roommate had already been a co-worker in another house at Corbenic and we have been friends before. I am very happy that she was finally allowed to move into Mullach as I can see that her happiness and wellbeing are improving under the new circumstances.

On 1 June the Corbenic Camphill Community celebrated its 43rd birthday and belated International Day. Traditionally, International Day celebrations take place a week earlier on Whit Monday but as the weather didn’t permit an outside gathering, they were postponed to the date of Corbenic’s anniversary (on which day the weather couldn’t have been better). In the morning, every house prepared a dish typical for the nationality (or multiple nationalities) represented in that house, which resulted in a big international buffet. The whole Community came together to eat lunch outside and listen to the history of Corbenic. After having sung Happy Birthday in all the different languages that people at Corbenic call their mother tongue, we watched some performances. Mullach sang “The Flower of Scotland” in proud representation of our residents’ Scottish heritage.

After ten months of working at Corbenic, I finally went on my first holiday at the beginning of June. Edinburgh was the destination as I wanted to explore Scotland’s capital city in general and some places relating to Harry Potter in particular. I started out with one day completely dedicated to Harry Potter places: I went to Greyfriar’s Kirkyard where the grave of Thomas Riddell (whose name gave inspiration for Tom Riddle) is located, I saw George Heriot’s School and the Balmoral Hotel (both of which are said to have influenced the looks of Hogwarts and the latter being the place where J.K. Rowling finished writing the last Harry Potter book), I strolled along Victoria Street (which strongly resembles Diagon Alley), and I ate at the Elephant House (which the author frequented to write her books). The day after, I went to Edinburgh Castle and the National War Museum. The view from the castle was spectacular and what I learned about Scottish history was very interesting. Additionally, I learned a lot about history, especially about the reformation in Scotland, during my visits of St. Gile’s Cathedral, Rosslyn Chapel, the National Museum and John Knox House. A guided tour through Mary King’s Close, a narrow street dating back to the 17th century, provided a fascinating insight of how people lived at that time. Throughout my stay, I climbed three of Edinburgh’s hills: Blackford Hill, Calton Hill, and Arthur’s Seat. One of my highlights was the exhibition about “Ray Harryhausen – Titan of Cinema” at the National Gallery of Modern Arts Two. It featured many works of arts, sketches as well as models, unfolding the process of Harryhausen’s stop motion filmmaking and allowing a refreshing view on modern cinema. I usually packed my day full of activities which is why I included one day of just relaxing at Portobello Beach. The day after, I travelled to North Berwick, a small town east of Edinburgh and a twenty-minute train ride away, on the recommendation of a co-worker. I booked a boat tour starting at North Berwick harbour around the isles of Craigleith and Bass Rock, the world’s biggest gannet colony. Besides many different kinds of birds, we were lucky enough to see some dolphins too. After the boat tour, I climbed the North Berwick Law, from where you get a beautiful panoramic view of the Firth of Forth. On my last two days, I took the speaking test and the written exam for the English certificate which I had been studying for for months. Whatever the relaxation that is the result of any holiday, having the weight of the exam lifted off my shoulders has undoubtedly been the biggest benefit of my stay in Edinburgh.

Now, I am back at Corbenic with my batteries recharged. I have missed the company of the residents and my co-workers and it’s so good to be back. Although I have some more holidays planned in June and July, I am most excited about spending time with my Mullach family as my leaving date in August is coming painfully close.

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