A Californian in Glasgow
My colleagues have, during the previous week, talked about the magic of Glenelg. And while I completely agree with them, Glenelg had a charm unmatched by anywhere I’ve been in my life. What was shocking to me was how little I missed it compared to our new home, Glasgow.
I am a California native, and even worse, I’m a California native who lived within an hour of Los Angeles. I now go to school within a 20 minute drive. For my whole life, I’ve seen cities as crowded, awkward places, more meant for buildings than for people. I preferred the suburbs all my life – they were sprawling, yes, but at least I felt like people actually lived in the houses. And frankly, coming to Glasgow, I was scared that I would feel cramped here. Tall buildings bearing down on you, graffiti presenting a rebellion against the pressure that a city provides.
But I don’t. Not even a little bit. This city almost feels freeing. I can explain this very well with my commute yesterday.
I took the subway to the Royal Conservatoire. This means I walk for 10 minutes, get onto the subway, and ride one stop. I do this because the full walk so far has taken me out of commission every time, but standing on the platform usually gives me a moment to breathe. On this walk, I pass through places like St. Georges Square, in front of the Glasgow City Chambers. Everything feels open, and if not, it’s beautiful anyways.
Coming home, I took the bus, and I actually disliked this method. Despite my walk only being about 5 minutes. I walked through Merchant City instead of the City Center, and it felt worse than my walk to the subway. It was completely along a busy road, and I was walking behind a drunk couple. It was probably 8 PM, and a car almost swerved into me. Probably a 3.5/5, if I were to rate the experience.
I don’t really know what to do with this information, to be honest. Long rehearsals mean that the commutes to and from the RCS are the most I see of Glasgow, but the bits that I have seen have really only made me draw one conclusion:
I could live here.
And not in a tourist way. Oh, it’s just so beautiful, I could stay forever! It is beautiful, but the sentiment is more a, “I know exactly where I like to buy my groceries from, and it sure as hell isn’t the dollar tree down the street,” way. There’s a familiarity to this city. The woman at the Japanese fast food place remembers my face, and we talk about the Fringe while she gets my order wrong. I have never seen the same delivery driver twice. Glenelg felt like we were introduced to a home, and guests to happy hosts. It never felt like we could stay there for longer than the duration of our journey, no matter how kind Eddie and Donna were.
Glasgow, on the other hand? Glasgow is a place where you can carve out your own corner, and make your own little home. It’s not a slice of paradise. But it is a little apartment on the fourth floor, above an Italian restaurant, a half an hour commute to anywhere you want. Your own little corner, intimately interconnected.