Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the stunning experience of visiting Scotland- the homeland of my beau, Ritchie Munro. Through old streets where I envision sheep roaming the cobbled stones to sprawling mountains where blood was shed over freedom to ancient churches where beauty still strikes through stained glass and spire, the spirit of the old has not left this place.
It’s been interesting over the past few years of Ritchie and I being together and learning about his strong ties to Scotland, his clan- The Munros- and the history of the country. His knowledge of his past and how it’s affected the present, and possibly the future, is something I admire. I’ve never felt inclined towards one country or the other to show a strong sense of patriotism for, whether America or Vietnam, and it’s been a curiosity learning about his history and try to understand his viewpoints on the changes Scotland currently goes through with the vote for or against independence, the lives his friends continue to lead here, and what a future may look like in this heathery land.
Yes, watch Braveheart and you may get a taste of some of the history- but alternately keep in mind that the whole film is a mashup of several strong Scottish figures in history and the story is pretty skewed- but moving nonetheless, especially to us Yanks. Still though, when watching I get a strong sense of what things could have been like in the gorgeous highlands of the country I’m currently in.
One of the most important things for me to see here was Loch Ness- not only because of it’s absolutely picturesque views and getting to pretend that I was an elf in Lord of the Rings, to find Nessie (which I did, but no one will ever know), and to see something my best friend Brooke and I have been dreaming of for years.
When we visited Loch Ness and the Urquhart Castle a few days ago, it was like stepping into a different world. As my fingertips traced the walls hundreds of years old and my Nikes scuffed the furry, rich green moss I thought of what life would have been like so many eras ago.
The era of wealth and power of Urquhart Castle isn’t the only thing that’s ended. Yesterday was Ritchie’s 30th birthday, the end of his 20s, and a day of bidding adieu to a chapter of his life that was much like most of all of this decade: tumultuous, exciting, confusing. He made a move across the world, met wonderful people and created long lasting friendships and relationships, made mistakes and learned from them in some of the worst ways possible, and has propelled forward career-wise in ways that I’m more than proud of. Rather though than a loss of a kingdom, he’ll enter this part of his life with wisdom that some men I’ve met can’t begin to fathom, honor that is unknown to many, and strength in himself that hundreds of men will never achieve. As the highlanders hundreds of years ago navigated through change, loss, fighting, winning, and learning: so will this Munro as he forges into the future.