|peerie fleuri park|
In some ways visiting Shetland is like taking a trip to another time where family lived close to each other, visited, and met each other on the street regularly. As I have been a visiting family member, everyone has been so eager to show me family photos and to give me gifts to take back to Canada.
The Shetland Islands are a lovely spot to visit. Flowers are blooming everywhere and every house has a garden or greenhouse. Although we are located North of Sixty, there is sunshine and on the few days without wind it is possible to sit out in the gardens and parks.
|container of tulips in garden|
In my family, it has been common practise for two brothers to marry two sisters so land has been easily shared and there are a lot of "double cousins" who are almost like brothers and sisters. Traditionally people "pair up" early and have more children than we do in Canada.
|greenhouse in Shetland|
The people work very hard here. Few people leave the islands to attend university because of the high cost of living off island but there are colleges where people learn trades. Most of the my mother's cousins were away to fishing, whaling or the merchant navy but now there are houses being built and there is the gas processing and North Sea oil to help to support the community.
The oil money has provided modern care homes, leisure centres, a state-of -the art museum and a performing arts centre. Considering that Lerwick has a resident population of fewer than 7,000, the amenities are excellent. Ferry transportation between Lerwick and Whalsay is available every 45 minutes and is inexpensive for foot passengers.
I will be sad to leave all of my family knowing that I will not see some of them again. I hope that I will be able to come back with my daughter so that she can learn a bit about the family and experience life here even if it is only for a few days.
I hear the clock ticking and I am being picked up in just two hours so I had better go and cram my possessions back in the suitcase. I started out so well-organized but it is almost two months since I left home and the system has broken down along the way.