There’s No Place Like…

"I would like to spend the whole of my life traveling, if I could anywhere borrow another life to spend at home."
                                                                                                        –  William Hazlitt

I’ve owed you this post for a long time. When the first wheels were set in motion many months ago I assumed it would come out naturally, that I would even share more nitty-gritty details about the whole thing than you’d probably care to know. But then the days kept slipping past; I kept saying soon, I’ll write about it soon, but there were always too many other things to do, too many tasks higher on the ever-expanding to-do list. And then before we knew it, it took over our lives completely, consumed every waking minute with planning and details and endless preparation until all of a sudden here we are, seven short days away, and not only have I not found the time to continue the normal food-related programming, I still haven’t told you the news.

So, enough procrastinating; it’s time to come clean. Next Saturday Manuel and I are putting ourselves and the few belongings that are not currently deep in the bowels of a transatlantic freighter on a one-way flight to the other side of the world. We’re going to the land of spruce trees and salmon, the wild and tumultuous Pacific and the stately city on Puget Sound called Seattle. We’re going home, and this time we’re staying.

To be honest, it still hasn’t sunk in. For the life of me I can’t fathom that a week from tomorrow I will no longer be able to say I live in Scotland. I can’t believe that medieval castles and cobblestones will no longer be part of my daily commute, and that I won’t be instantly distinguished by my accent anymore. I can’t imagine being so far from Europe, the continent I’ve called home for a third of my life, and which I know I will miss so intensely that at times it will seem like physical pain. I have no idea what it will actually feel like to celebrate Thanksgiving again, to not have to start thinking about Christmas plans eight months in advance, to talk to my family on the phone and know their clocks are reading the same time as mine. Above all, I can’t imagine what it will be like to not be homesick anymore.

We’ve been actively planning this move for about ten months, and dreaming of it for longer than that, but it’s still big, scary and uncertain. We’ll have no guaranteed employment or income on arrival; just the savings we’ve set aside to see us through the first few months. We’ll have no car, no furniture, no place to live. We’ll have no experience with the maze that is the American healthcare system. Poor Manuel will have to learn things like pounds, gallons and temperatures in Farenheit. And both of us will have to learn to cope with living in a city where not everything is a fifteen-minute walk away.

What we do know is that there will be mountains and ferries and sushi and blackberries. There will be Trader Joe’s and Uwajimaya and more farmer’s markets than we can shake a stick at. There will be a whole new country, continent and hemisphere to explore. There will be a clean slate, new lives, new freelance careers, and almost certainly more time to devote to this site. There will also be family nearby, my mother and stepfather, my father and stepmother, and my three younger brothers who have grown from boys to men in my absence. There will hopefully be a dog, and a garden, and a kitchen big enough to invite someone else in for a drink while I chop the onions.

Most importantly, we know that we’re ready for change, and that we’ve made this decision with the best compass we own: not our heads, but our hearts.

So cross your fingers and wish us luck on the first stage of this crazy, terrifying, exhilarating adventure. There’s probably going to be a few weeks of radio silence while we begin to settle into our new surroundings, but I promise to be back with an update just as soon as I can.

See you on the other side, friends.


82 thoughts on “There’s No Place Like…

  1. Wow! How very exciting! I’m sure it’s frightening, too, but having family there will make a huge difference in getting settled. Best of luck and happy trails!

  2. I will be glad to be sharing a continent with you again my friend, and I look forward to making my first trip to Seattle one of these days to come and have that drink in your kitchen ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. There are some people on "the other side" who will be mighty glad to welcome you home! :>

  4. Welcome home (almost!). What a transition you will be making. But I’m writing you from Bellingham, WA, and it’s sunny and gorgeous and I’m almost off to the farmer’s market. We Washingtonians have more food goodies than you can shake a stick at. Think of the wine tasting! I hope the pluses here make up for the move. Here’s a local food blogger to get you in the local mood. Her Seattle restaurant reviews are fun.

  5. Hello! I’ve been following your blog for close to a year now, it is so riveting. I wish you all the luck on your big move!

  6. I’ve experienced this myself, stuck between two worlds. But a change is always a wonderful experience. You learn so much about yourself, often find your capable of things you never imagined! So, I say good luck and good eating. Seattle is a great place to be if you’re a foodie!

  7. We wish you the best of luck and we’ll be right here waiting until you’re unpacked and writing again.And now for the selfish part: WE’LL BE ON THE SAME COAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This excites me more than anything ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Bon voyage. Home is an odd notion for the constant traveller, but you’ll delight in it before you know it, I’m sure!

  9. have a great move! scary, but exciting. Seattle is great and you’ll be closer to Fran’s chocolate and those fries at the Baguette Box. Oh, and you’ll also have one of those big ‘ol American freezers, with plenty of room for thatice cream freezer you’ve always wanted! : )

  10. Welcome home. It’s very exciting, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy reading all about it. Funny that you will be nearly as far from me as when you were in Scotland. Big country, this.Bon voyage and good luck.

  11. You’ll be just fine. I’ve moved back home twice from Edinburgh – first time I wasn’t prepared, and missed Edinburgh a lot. Second time I was ready to leave Scotland, and not once during the 20 months I’ve been back home, have I regretted the decision. I’ve been back to Edinburgh twice – I still like the city, but it doesn’t feel like home any more..Plus you’re moving into a foodie heaven – aren’t Molly & Shauna also in Seattle? You’ll be in perfect company :)So enjoy the move – and I hope i can enjoy a meal in your Seattle kitchen in the future ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Exciting and scary at the same time too indeed. I have often wondered what it would feel like to go back to France permanently, and I think I would have the same mixed happy sad feelings. But you are going to a great place, so all the best with the new adjustment! By the way, after 10 years here, don’t ask me but I still need to use a converter to do farenheits, gallons, inches and such. There are things that just never sink in, so Manuel should not worry too much.

  13. wow–that is big… Very exciting. I’m sure that leaving Scotland is bittersweet…but how wonderful that you’ll be close to your family again.

  14. Melissa,WOW! Nice to hear that you are coming back to the states, but I am sure that it is so hard to leave Europe behind. At least you’re still close enough to visit!

  15. It’s kinda bittersweet, isn’t it? I completely understand the feeling. We made a big move from DK, where I had been living for 3 years, back to the US. It felt good to be back home, but I did (and still do) miss so much about that country. The Pacific NW is a wonderful region, and Seattle is a wonderful city. I can’t imagine you’ll regret the move, even if you do miss Scotland intensely.May your move go smoothly. Good luck!

  16. What wonderful and exciting news, congratulations! I wish you both the best and I know it will work out just fine. Welcome home.

  17. No doubt, moving takes a lot of courage cuz it’s almost equivalent to leaving your comfort zone. But, once decided, go all the way. All the best to you and Manuel!

  18. I just returned from visiting my family in Seattle and truly there is no more beautiful city in the world. You will make it work!

  19. Oh Dear, the change is so exciting! You might be thrilled and scared, but the experience is worth every single try. ๐Ÿ™‚ May everything turn out the way you both need and want!

  20. scotland will fly the flag at half mast when departure day comes! all the very best to you and manuel ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. oh no! oh yes! i m sad u r leaving edinburgh, for my very own selfish reasons, like knowing we might possibly meet once in a while, but of course i m happy that u r following ur hearts! i wish u all the best, n since i have never been to the states i now have the perfect reason:)

  22. All the best. It all seems very daunting, but I am sure things will work out. Why have you decided to go now, right time????Good luck and I hope you continue to blog!!

  23. Here’s wishing you safe travels, and a smooth transition. I bet your parents must be so excited.

  24. well, congratulations and good luck with everything – i am not so sure about seeing you on the other side, seeing how all-consuming my studies have become, but you always know where to come should the wind blow you to london by chance!all the best to both of you!

  25. Wonderful and scary. May you have a safe journey and may you rejoice in all the things that will be your new home.

  26. Green scallion pancakes at Szechwan Noodle bowl should be your 1st stop… amazing. Come down to Portland sometime the restaurants/farms are boooooming here!Good luck!

  27. Wow!!! Congratulations on the big move! Now I’ve got one more person to visit in Seattle, when I ever make myself get out there. ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. How did I not know this?! SO EXCITING! Dear sweet lord. When the dust settles – or if you need help in making the dust settle – you’d better give me a call, lady. xo

  29. Congratulations on your move and your new adventure. This is exciting and yet scary. Hang in there. I look forward to hearing more of your journey.

  30. Welcome home. There are several places I’ve visited that have felt far more "home" than the area I grew up in – and some that were never "home" but places I long to go back to – Scotland being top on that list. But home is far less a location than family and friends, food and celebration – somehow I don’t think either you or Manuel could lack for any of those no matter where you settle.Again, Blessings and Welcome.

  31. Hi,Have been reading your blog for some time…I’ll be back in Seattle (which is not my hometown, but I lived there before) next spring. Now I am in Vancouver, BC just a couple of hours away. Good luck!

  32. Melissa ~ It is indeed a big commitment to relocate oneself. May you and Manuel find your own rhythm in gorgeous Seattle. As for the conversions, I lived there for six years and never got my head around them – I just kept conversion charts nearby (the only conversion I remember without fail is that one stick of butter is 113 grams). My partner and I will this year finally decide on where we will spend our near-future, either in Boston, MA., or in either Auckland (where I presently live) or Wellington, New Zealand. May there be many exciting times ahead. Besides, Europe is not going anywhere. You can always go back.

  33. As a Brit that has moved to Seattle, I can safely tell you that Seattle is the complete foodies dream. You are right, the shear volume of farmers markets here is incredible. Make sure you check out the one in Ballard, perhaps the best in the area.

  34. Wow. Good luck with your move – what a monumental life change! Scotland is a very bewitching place I know (I live in London) and I am drawn back to it in my thoughts after holidaying there a few years ago. I can’t imagine the logistics of moving your whole life either!! Good luck in Seattle.

  35. It’s been so long since I’ve read your blog and I’m so pleased to come back to it and find that you’re in such an exciting stage of your life! I feel doubly excited because I made my first trip to the West Coast (Seattle, Portland and Bend to be exact) this past April, having grown up on the East Coast and lived in the UK & Ireland since 2002.I can tell you (but you probably already know this) that the Pacific NW is a fab place to be. I love the coffee/breakfast/microbrew culture. When people ask me what I miss about the U.S. I always say, "Food – mainly the diner/breakfast culture. And places being open past 6, I miss that too".I hope your move goes as smoothly as possible. My brother Chris is a chef at Lola in downtown Seattle – I suggest you slip in there one Sunday afternoon after peak brunch-time and order the Donut Bites – made to order with vanilla mascarpone and rhubarb compote. Snap a pic of the steam that will drift out. Again, congrats!

  36. Good luck to you and Manuel. I hope that your transition is smooth and look forward to seeing you post again soon.

  37. I’m *so* excited for you. My mom was just here with my for a month and I can’t say that thoughts of at least an extended visit home aren’t floating around my head….Best of luck!

  38. Wow… well I guess it’s time for me to delurk. I discovered your blog about 2 weeks ago and since then I have devoured every archived post! All of your amazing travels and fantastic food discoveries in Europe make me wish like mad I had the means to do the same, as I’ve wanted to visit Europe for many years now, but so far have to settle for dreams. However, Seattle strikes closer to home since I am a fellow northwesterner… welcome back! Looking forward to more of your adventures.

  39. I’ve been reading and enjoying your blog since it began,but I’ve never left a comment before. Good luck for your move! Keep on blogging.

  40. Hey Melissa, All the very best on the move.. Seattle is a great place with fantastic restaurants.. I’d recommend B&O Espresso – its an awesome coffee shop + dessert place (their poached pear is a killer ๐Ÿ™‚ and its open late!CheersAsh

  41. Wow….big move. But I have to say, it’s our gain, so welcome to Seattle. I can’t imagine leaving Scotland, but Puget Sound will try hard to fill the hole.

  42. What a big change in life! Welcome back to the US (in advance). I think like many people who have lived the expat life for so long, you will always be someone with two homes in your heart.

  43. As an American who has been living in Germany for the last 12 years (and thinks about the pros and cons of staying or moving back), I can completely relate to what you must be going through. Good luck with your move and can’t wait to hear how everything turns out. I really like your blog and the combination of food, photography, and travel!

  44. What an exciting adventure for you. I’m sure there will be challenges, but how nice to be closer to your family again. I remember when I barely started blogging your mother wrote to me and complimented me on my blog. She seemed so proud of you (and rightfully so!) and I’m sure she will be happy to have you closer.

  45. All the very best with your move Melissa.How wonderful that the destination is home.I look forward to reading your posts from that part of the world.

  46. We wish you the best of luck. It sounds very bittersweet. This is my first comment on your site. I made the Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Brioche last week and yes, I fell in love! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  47. Congratulations on the move. I have been reading your blog for a long time, but am only finally now delurking. I used to write a beauty blog, but have now switched the focus to more of a lifestyle blog ( which includes a cooking post every week. This week’s is your amazingly wonderful Catalan Chickpeas. Hope you get settled in and start posting again. I love your blog.

  48. If you are going back to Seattle, you should try Tutta Bella for pizza, and for the best Mexican try Rossitas near Greenlake. Good Luck!

  49. Aah, moving…a difficult task but quite an exciting one too. Meeting new people, discovering new places, new foods…even if it was your first home, places change, people change, it’s like starting all over, re-adapting, and you probably have changed too. Happy moving and settling. Oh and, I love your writing – so captivating with lots of personality. Continue the good work.

  50. Welcome back!!! When I first started reading your blog I thought you were in the States, but then it became ever so apparent you were definitely more expat, so the question now is; Are ya gonna’ be ready for the very amped up hyper-holidays, endless amount of television, and shopping-malls? Those seem to be things that I was a bit blown away with when I moved back from Europe. p.s. Will ya finally get an ice cream maker?! ๐Ÿ™‚

  51. Hey, thereโ€™s a new website about to launch called Behind the Burner: it features exclusive tips on products and cooking techniques, as well as video demonstrations with New York Cityโ€™s best chefs! Be sure to check out the website,, where you can sign up for email updates and more info.

  52. When I first started reading your blog last year I remarked that we had the same name…but not that big of deal, lots of people are named Melissa! But now I read you’re moving to the city where I live…Quelle coincidence! Then again there are probably lots of bloggers in Seattle name Melissa, but not whose blogs I enjoy like I do yours! Anyway – I look forward to reading about your food adventures in Seattle and comparing them to my own! Best of luck with the move!

  53. Hi guys!!! Two things:a) This is long overdue, but thank you all SO, SO much for your well-wishes, encouragement and support. I’ve read through your comments more times than I can count over the past couple of months, and they’ve always cheered me up immeasurably. b) A new post is imminent. Really.

  54. Oh, I’m so glad you’re nearly back and have made it through your enormous move. I keep rolling by to check – I miss your posts. I’ve been cooking away through Diana Henry and Tessa Kiros (so thanks for those too).

  55. I’ve just wiped a few tears from my ears. Literally. As an American expat in Ireland, I too know how it feels to be so homesick it hurts. May you enjoy every minute of your new life and may you be constantly inspired by it’s changes. (And don’t forget to gorge yourself on good sushi every few weeks in memory of those of us across the Atlantic…)

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