Remember Chicken Run: 'over-paid......'
Well, one of them was in today, and I took the opportunity to interview her.
Yep, I have always dreamt of being a journalist, and today was the perfect opportunity to put my
So here we go.
World class Journalist (aka, Me): Tell me a bit about yourself. (I'm good, amn't I?)
American Interviewee (aka, Lesley): Ok. I'm 28 years old, grew up in Georgia and lived pretty much all my life there until I came here. In Georgia, I was a teacher, teaching secondary Science. Back in Georgia, I have Mum, Dad, younger sister, brother-in-law, and a dog who's way more spoiled now than he was when I was there.
Me: So - what on earth are you doing here?
Lesley: I got the opportunity to spend a couple of years working for a non-profit organisation, recording stories in Scottish Gaelic. And so I took it. I figured - here's the chance to experience a different culture and language....go for it.
Me: So tell the truth - how does it compare to what you'd imagined?
Lesley: It's a lot more wideopen space than I thought. Truthfully, had no idea what living on as island was gonna be like. I love seeing wide open space all around me.
The people are very warm and very quick to embrace outsiders. On the island, people have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome, and that means so much when you are an outsider, and have no idea what people are gonna think of you.
It's much colder, windier and darker than I'd expected. I'd never figured on a 4pm sunset.
It's a strange feeling, but I don't feel as isolated as I know I actually am. I feel on one hand that I'm at the edge of the world, but it's been a pleasant surprise that I don't feel as isolated as I actually am.
Me: So how long have you been here for?
Lesley: I've been on the island for 18 months - been in this district for eleven of them.
Me: And how long do you think you'll be here for?
Lesley: Right now, the plan is to head back to US next April - so it'll have been a 2 year commitment in all. But I think I'll be back to visit 'cos I'm told that once you've been here, you never get the place out of your system. I reckon that's true.
Me: What do miss most from home?
Lesley: Truthfully, I miss...being around people who've known me a long time.....like, forever. I wasn't expecting that, but it's one of these things that sneak up on you. Though, strangely, I feel really at home here too. I have friends that I can turn to when things are good, and when things are bad. But there's something about a place in which you can .....exhale, and feel totally at home. And I think for me, Georgia will always be that place, no matter where I am.
Me: What's 'home'? A small town, village....what? Do you even have 'villages'?
Lesley: Home is a small town...... just a little town in north-west Georgia - nothing special, truthfully....other than the people that are there - folks I've always known. That's what makes it what it is.
Me: What is your work here?
Lesley: We record stories in Gaelic - primarly Bible stories, and some folk stories, and they're all recorded in colloquial Gaelic. The work is very reliant on the kindness of locals, because I don't speak or understand as much as I'd like to of the language. Quite a few folk have been involved in it in one form or another. Folks have been so good about it, cos although they have lives and work and families, they've been very eager to say 'yes' and help us with the work. That's been the only reason we've been able to do what we're doing. And - not that there's anything wrong with Stornoway (the town on the island) - but the help grew significantly when we came to Ness - more people were willing to be involved.
Me: Any other surprises on the island?
Lesley: Yes! My jaw dropped the first time I came to visit here. Imagine my surprise when I came to the front door and saw in the office window one of these...
(Northerners, please hide your eyes)
......'a Confederate flag! In the UK! In Lewis, for crying out loud!'. I thought to myself..... 'these people are gonna be kindred spirits'. And we were!
I have to say I absolutely love living here and it's gonna be very difficult to leave.
So there you go. My Georgian friend.
Please, please, Northerners, I love you too. Reeeeally love you.
When you're from the island it's really difficult to 'see' the island from an outside perspective. Lesley helps me do that.
And remember, you Yanks - I love you. Have I said that before? Just in case you didn't get it the first time. Please don't leave me!
Hope y' all have a great day, and that none of you choked on your Starbucks.