Sharing things

Who am I? Laura and Nicha revisited

February 24, 2022 The University of Edinburgh
Who am I? Laura and Nicha revisited
Sharing things
More Info
Sharing things
Who am I? Laura and Nicha revisited
Feb 24, 2022
The University of Edinburgh

Welcome to a dive into the Sharing things archive and a selection of 5 episodes that revolve around the themes of belonging, fitting in and finding your place. These are conversations about growth and about identity. In our fifth and final episode of this collection we revisit the conversation between Laura Maciver and Nicha Sarkka and listen to them as they talk about lifelong friendships, belonging and painting with Bob Ross.

This episode is hosted by Kate Stewart, a member of the alumni relations team who took the hot seat in early 2021. 

Laura is a Reporting Scotland presenter on BBC TV and also presents Good Morning Scotland on BBC Radio Scotland every Friday. Upon graduating from the University of Edinburgh she started her career as a reporter for Radio Forth before joining the BBC.

Nicha is a first-year student at the University of Edinburgh. Trilingual in English, Finnish and Thai, she is currently working towards her degree in Biological Sciences. 

Each episode of Sharing things is a conversation between two members of our university community. It could be a student, a member of staff or a graduate, the only thing they have in common at the beginning is Edinburgh. We start with an object. A special, treasured or significant item that we have asked each guest to bring to the conversation. What happens next is sometimes funny, sometimes moving and always unexpected.

Find out more at

This episode of Sharing things was recorded during the Covid thing.

mages designed by Chris Behr. They are part of his Nice Things icon set.

Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to a dive into the Sharing things archive and a selection of 5 episodes that revolve around the themes of belonging, fitting in and finding your place. These are conversations about growth and about identity. In our fifth and final episode of this collection we revisit the conversation between Laura Maciver and Nicha Sarkka and listen to them as they talk about lifelong friendships, belonging and painting with Bob Ross.

This episode is hosted by Kate Stewart, a member of the alumni relations team who took the hot seat in early 2021. 

Laura is a Reporting Scotland presenter on BBC TV and also presents Good Morning Scotland on BBC Radio Scotland every Friday. Upon graduating from the University of Edinburgh she started her career as a reporter for Radio Forth before joining the BBC.

Nicha is a first-year student at the University of Edinburgh. Trilingual in English, Finnish and Thai, she is currently working towards her degree in Biological Sciences. 

Each episode of Sharing things is a conversation between two members of our university community. It could be a student, a member of staff or a graduate, the only thing they have in common at the beginning is Edinburgh. We start with an object. A special, treasured or significant item that we have asked each guest to bring to the conversation. What happens next is sometimes funny, sometimes moving and always unexpected.

Find out more at

This episode of Sharing things was recorded during the Covid thing.

mages designed by Chris Behr. They are part of his Nice Things icon set.

[Theme music] 

Kate  0:05  Welcome to season four of Sharing things. Lots of things have happened and kinda nothing's happened. We're still recording remotely, but there's a new host! I'm Kate, your guide and conversation wrangler. In this episode, I spend quality time with Laura and Nicha, and it really made me want to call my friends. 

[Theme music]

Kate  0:29  Hello, Laura and Nicha, thanks so much for joining us today.

Laura  0:33  You're welcome. Hello to you, too.

Nicha  0:35  Thank you for having us.

Kate  0:37  Great to have you both here. I thought it would be a good chance to kick off and just give you both the option to tell each other a bit about yourself. 

Nicha  0:46  Um, I don't mind starting.

Laura  0:48  Go for it Nicha.

Nicha  0:51  My name is Nicha. I have moved from Finland. I'm Thai and Finnish but I moved from Finland and I've been here for six months now in Edinburgh. I'm doing Biochemistry. I'm gonna throw in a fun fact. I really like oat milk in my coffee. Yeah, that's it. What about you, Laura? 

Laura  1:11  Well, I am a journalist. I work at the BBC and I have done for 20 years. I'm from Edinburgh, born and bred. And I also went to Edinburgh Uni. I am married. I've got three children and a puppy. Erm, I'm one of four children, so I'm from a big family. My mum's from Edinburgh, my Dad is from the Isle of Lewis, which is why I've -- one of the reasons why -- I've chosen my object as a painting, which is actually a landscape of a view of his parts of the world.

Nicha  1:42  Oh, that's interesting. I've chosen a drawing for my object. So we're -

Laura  1:45  Oh wonderful.

Kate  1:47  I was just gonna say, you sort of started off the chat with the object. So I feel like we should probably just go straight in with that. 

[Theme music]

Kate  1:57  Nicha, do you want to kind of go into more detail about your object?

Nicha  2:00  Of course. Um, so my object, it's not a very, like intricate drawing or anything, but it's not my drawing either. This is the drawing. It's, it's a very basic line drawing. And it's been framed, it's in a white frame. And the backstory of this is that everyone in this drawing has received a copy of this. And she has drawn this and given them to all of us with the frames. And it was basically given to all of us as a graduation gift when we graduated from high school. And it was really sweet. And I have it in my room. And it's a nice little reminder of, you know, the good times we had, I guess, [laughs] but it was really, really sweet of her. And I'm really glad to have something with me that's you know, from home, I guess.

Laura  2:42  Tell me, first of all, who are the other people I'm intrigued to know who the other people in the drawing are? Because they're obviously important to you.

Nicha  2:48  Yes. They're all my friends. It's the six of us. And we have, you know, we were basically a friend group without sounding too corny. We had this, I guess, tradition where every once in a while we would meet up at one of their apartments. And we would have tea, and we would drink them specifically out of Moomin mugs. [laughs] Which I don't know if you're familiar with them, but I have one right here. And it's basically these little creatures called the Moomins. 

Laura  3:14  The actual Moomins, when you said Moomins, I was like, does she mean the Moomins?

Nicha  3:18  I mean the Moomins. I love them. I even have a Moomin calendar right there. But we have these little Moomin mugs, because they're just nice and comforting. You know, at these little talking sessions with tea, we would just like, talk about what's been happening. And we would -- I don't know, I guess when I was younger, I'd never really realised that people wanted to listen to what I had to say, you know, like, this is the bar for what friends should do. And it's just -- I'm sure everyone has that sort of experience growing up. And I'm really glad I have this reminder now.

Laura  3:49  Yeah, that's lovely. And are you still friends now?

Nicha  3:52  Of course, yeah. It's been hard -- harder, I guess. Because we are all doing uni in different places. Like we have one of them in the Netherlands. But I'm obviously here in Scotland, but we do have little Skype calls every week. So that's been really lovely. Everyone knows how everyone is doing. And there's like kind of a genuine concern when we talk about these things, which is really nice. It's not the same. We don't have the tea, but you know, it's still pretty nice.

Laura  4:16  You'll have the tea again. What has connected you now -- what has made this friendship group continue, would you say? 

Nicha  4:25  Um I think it's just like the, the genuine concern, I guess and care for each other. You know, like when you ask people, like how are you, it's not just like a formality. It's more of like, I really want to know how you're doing. And it's also the circumstances a lot because we don't really, you know, none of us have had the first year uni experience that we, we thought that we would have. So it's just like that's just another form of social interaction that we get to keep if we keep up with it. It's just good for all of us to have it because we just need it -- first of all in these times, but also in in general, it's just good to have people who -- where you feel like they actually care about what you have to say. And that's really, really nice. So I think that's what's really kept it going.

Laura  5:09  Yeah, that's lovely. Well, I'm 45 this year, and I'm still friends with my school friends, you know, like really closely. So actually, we've talked even more, so probably on WhatsApp together,  now we're locked down than, you know, we did -- we get together once a year, and some of us more often than that. But I just think knowing these people who you grew up with is really special and important, because they know so much more about you than your adult friends that you meet as an adult, and they know your families, and they know your failures and your successes. And I think that's really important. If you can keep carrying that through your life. These people are just, you know, linchpins, I think.

Nicha  5:50  I think there's also kind of a nice feeling to know that these people have watched you grow up and change over the years. Because it's, um, you know, sometimes in friendships that, you know, you eventually, like, lose touch with people, it's just easy to feel like, well, I mean, I can't really go back to that, because for me, at least, it's weird. I just have this, you know, thought in my head that they kind of have an expired version of who I am in their head. And that's really unappealing to me. But yeah, it is really nice. And it's really promising to hear that you've been friends with them since school, and you're still friends, and you still talk. And you still see each other, you know -

Laura  6:23  - and if they phoned in the middle of the night and said, I need you, I'd be in the car.

[Theme music]

Kate  6:31  You both mentioned that, you know, you're staying in contact with these friends that you've had for years and years. Why do you think, especially now, it's so important to stay in contact with people? You know, from, from years ago?

Laura  6:46  I think, yeah, there's just a comfort to it. I think for me, certainly just, just the comfort in the shared experiences that you had when you were younger, and now we're all going through this shared experience. And, you know, most of us have children and partners, and we've got that in common now, but some don't. And we're trying to navigate working from home and missing our parents and we all know each other's parents. So it's, yeah, it's just that shared experience, I would say.

Nicha  7:18  Yeah, I think that it's just because, like, it's really important, because I don't think anyone's really having a good time right now [laughs]. Because, like, I hate to, you know, I hate hearing the phrase, like unprecedented circumstances, or, you know, these difficult times, because you hear them so many times. And it's like, okay, we know, but it's true, you know, like, no one's having a good time in these, you know, unprecedented circumstances. And, and when you chat with people that you have, you know, I guess like seen in the past and who have been like, a really like significant part of your, like, normal life in the past. It just feels like okay, they're still you know, things are still happening and things will return to what they were, we just need to push through it. 

[Theme music]

Kate  8:03  And Laura, could you tell us about the object that you've brought along today?

Laura  8:08  Okay, let me describe it for you. I'll, I'll do my best radio job of, of painting a picture with words. So this is a watercolour landscape, it is Scottish, it is, is very special to me. First of all, it was interesting when I was asked about an object that means a lot to me, because I -- it makes you realise that actually, the things in your life that mean the most to you are not objects for a start. I thought, you know, the, the thing I always say means the most to me, you know, that I'd save in a fire is my wedding ring and engagement ring. They're the only possessions, if you like, that are important to me, but that's really boring. So one of the other few things I would attempt to save in a fire from my house, is this painting. So as I said, my Dad was from the Isle of Lewis, he grew up in Stornoway, the main town, but his family, his Dad was from a small island off the island -- off the west coast of the island called Bernera. And we used to go on holiday there. And this painting is a view basically from the house that my Uncle now has -- my Uncle and Aunt, my Uncle Kenneth and Aunty Shirley gave me this as a wedding present, this painting. Lots of people in our family have a version of this view, if you like. And it's the view from the house that my Uncle Kenneth now has, looking out, down the bay to the sea, there's some hill and there's the wee tiny old black house that was the family home that my dad's cousins now own and have sort of renovated and keep standing basically over the last 20 years or so. So it's basically a place that means a huge amount to me and having this painting in my house is just a lovely daily reminder of my dad who died 14 years ago. And it's again, I'm using the word comfort but it's it's it's a comfort to me, it's somewhere that I can, I can look at this painting and wish I was there and remember being there. Particularly at the moment during lockdown, you know, I live in just south of Glasgow city centre, and I miss the sea so badly. So it's lovely to look at this painting and see the sea and hope that I will be able to see the sea again soon.

Nicha  10:24  You know, I feel like there's kind of like a calmness to it. Yeah, it looks very serene. Do you know when the last time was that you've, you've been there? Sorry, if you said that and I missed it.

Laura  10:36  I was there now, it must be two to three years ago that I was last there. My Dad's actually buried there with his parents very close to, where again, where this painting is taken, just around the around the coast a mile or two around the coast. 

Nicha  10:52  How did, like -- did someone make the painting or like was it bought?

Laura  10:55  It was a local artist, my Aunt and Uncle had it commissioned, a local artist did it. They gave him a picture, a photograph, and he just recreated it. As I say all, various members of the family have a version and we call it the Bernera picture. We all have a kind of version, but I do love mine. And I love the colours and yeah, it's beautiful. It's just, it's it's probably one of the only things that I genuinely treasure in terms of possessions.

Kate  11:22  Those objects were, were given to you and they were also created by someone else. So does that kind of, does that change your connection with, with that object and what it means to you? Because it was, because it was made by someone, someone else?

Nicha  11:40  I think so. Yeah. I think at least in my case, that there was the intention of you know, it being kind of a nice reminder, a nice thing. And it was like, I don't know, for me, it was just about the intention. And it was just like the the meaning behind the drawing itself, that it's just a little line drawing of all of us. And it was, um, it was from a time where we were like having a lot of fun together. And so yeah, it does.

Laura  12:07  Yes, same I think the fact that my painting was gifted to me by my aunt and uncle who I adore, anyway and they knew how important it would be to me. So it was lovely to receive it as a wedding gift and it's now served as a reminder of my Dad, which, you know, they didn't know at the time, but it will always serve as a reminder of all of them, of my Dad and my Aunt and Uncle. That's why it's just a lovely thing to have.

Kate  12:36  Yeah, I really like that also, Laura, your other family members have a version of that painting and Nicha, you said that everyone in that photo also has that that picture. That's just really nice. 

Nicha  12:48  It is really nice.

Kate  12:49  Do you feel quite connected, then --

Nicha  12:52  Yes.

Kate  12:53  -- with those objects?

Nicha  12:53  Yeah, definitely. Because sometimes I will get, you know, pictures of my friends. And I'll see the little, you know, like picture of that the little drawing in the background. And it's just like, a lovely thing to see. And like, this is something that just like, I guess connects us, you know, like no one else in the world has it? And it's just like, yeah, a sweet little thing.

Kate  13:12  Different to-- do you think if the picture had been just the photograph, you would feel different about it?

Nicha  13:19  I think, I think maybe I think I would. Yeah, because I think there's just something so personal about a drawing. Like I said, it's nothing, you know, nothing crazy. And it's a drawing instead of a picture. It just, I don't know, it just means more to me for I -- it's hard to explain why, but I guess it's just, you know, the fact that she's the one who chose to do it this way and she framed it and she gave it to all of us. 

[Theme music]

Kate  13:44  Yeah. Are you ever tempted to capture these moments yourself? Like to create something?

Laura  13:49  I am completely and utterly -- I'm just uncreative. I mean, I draw or paint like a child literally. [laughs] Yeah, I am terrible. It's just not what I do. I love to write words. I'm very handy. I actually love DIY. I paint the house, I paint the walls, but when it comes to actually trying to paint, no. I just, I wish I could but I just have-- I don't have an artistic bone in my body.

Nicha  14:15  I mean, I don't think I'm that good at it either. But I think there's sort of like, it is kind of calming in its own way. 

Laura  14:21  Yeah, I was going to say, do you enjoy doing it? 

Nicha  14:23  Yeah, I do enjoy doing it.

Laura  14:24  What kinds of things do you paint? 

Nicha  14:26  I like back in school, this goes back to school, but I really like to follow those Bob Ross tutorials in between my classes when I would have like a skip lesson, I guess. Um, you know, I would paint along with the Bob Ross videos with like my friends. Yeah. And that was a lot of fun. And you know, he's always really calming and the -- there's no such things as mistakes. Just do what you feel like you know, and so that's really nice to -- it's a nice thing to do, I guess if you're feeling stressed and stuff. 

Laura  14:52  Yeah, definitely. Well, I'm a practical painter for sure. I have literally painted half my house during lockdown. I've just spent the past week painting a new garden fence. So yeah, it's very practical. But, but again, just the kind of repetition, the peace, the therapy of doing that I've actually really enjoyed. 

[Theme music]

Nicha  15:19  You mentioned that, like you said that you're not creative but I mean, you are a journalist! [Laughs] and I was wondering how you got into that?

Laura  15:27  Yeah, well, I've always liked words and I've always liked, well loved news. I was as a child, probably quite strangely obsessed with watching television news, listening to radio news and just reading the newspapers every day. My Mum and Dad had papers delivered to the house, which I would read. So I just always loved news and stories, storytelling. It was something I always thought I would love to do. By the end of school, I was beginning to think about it but I didn't want to study journalism as a course, I didn't want to kind of have that narrow -- look on things. So I ended up doing American Studies, because I loved American history, and politics. Also literature as well. So that was the mixture of things that I did in my course at Edinburgh doing American Studies. But yeah, just a love of storytelling really, and current affairs. What's going on? I always wanted to know what was going on! And I really enjoy telling -- trying to tell other people's stories, and now that I'm doing you know, radio presenting, just talking to people, you know, chatting to people, questioning people, I really enjoy doing that. It's just my favourite thing to do.

Nicha  16:42  What's been the most memorable, like thing that you think has happened, or the most memorable person that you think you've talked to?

Laura  16:47  I mean, in terms of there have obviously been the big life changing events like I was working on 9/11. I was working that day --

Nicha  16:55  oh --

Laura  16:55  -- on our radio news bulletins. So watching that unfold was, you know, something, obviously, that you would never ever forget. And listening to just the heartbreak and the  terror of what was going on was just, yeah, something that will never leave me and just this last year, as well, covering Coronavirus has has been -- and the thing for me that's been most important about our role in that is, as I said before, listening to people's stories.  I interviewed a man recently, and it just stayed with me for days, he's terminally ill, he's 38 and he's got two young children. He was campaigning for people who are on palliative care to be able to get the vaccine as quickly as possible. And he has actually no had the vaccine a couple of weeks ago, but speaking to somebody like him changes your day. It completely changes your day when you're -- and gives you, you know, perspective that you just didn't have before. So it's always the emotional impact of the news that interests me, and that stays with me. You know, I enjoy politics. I enjoy all the cut and thrust of that too. But it's definitely at the end of the day, people's stories that interests me.

Nicha  18:12  Do you think that's changed the way that you approach life? Because I think when we hear about stories, like, you know, like this person, you know, I guess like has been, has passed away from COVID, or this person is like terminally ill, or this person has lost a loved one to 9/11 you know, you always look at the news and you kind of think, well, that that's happened to them, that could never be me. Not maybe -- not consciously, but you kind of, you know, have this idea that's like, it just seems so distant and that you don't really realise that it could happen to you, or, you know, someone that you love. Do you think that that's kind of changed the way that you approach things?

Laura  18:42  Absolutely, definitely. It really has, you know, I come -- you know, I used to come home from a difficult thing at work, and, and stare at my children, my sleeping children and, you know, kind of breathe them in and just be grateful. It makes you -- you know, it makes you grateful, for sure. 

Nicha  19:00  Yeah. 

Laura  19:00  And it makes you think, a lot more and yeah, it's perspective. It gives you perspective that --

Nicha  19:07  Yeah.

Laura  19:08  -- I definitely think I might not have if, you know, in a different job.

Nicha  19:12  What does, what does your average day look like then? If I mean, you, obviously, you have these big things, but would you say every day is very, like, eventful, or?

Laura  19:20  Yeah, every day is different which I love. And every day is interesting. It's, you know, because there's a constant motion to what I do, there's a constant need, whether it's TV presenting or radio presenting, there's a constant need to be producing things. You don't just sit and do nothing, even if it's a quiet news day, that just makes it harder because you're kind of searching around. But yeah, my average day actually starts about four in the morning.

Nicha  19:47  Oh wow!

Laura  19:47  I tend to work early, early shifts, so I'm waking up at four in the shower, into work for five o'clock if I'm on TV, and then it's just, you know, gathering what's been left, checking what's happened overnight. Getting ready to go on air at 6.25 and then radio I go in at half past four in the morning and we go on air at six o'clock, and we're on air for three hours.  It's just live interviews for three hours and it can be about anything and everything, which again, I love. Yeah, what about you? What do you fancy doing? Because you're obviously still studying just now what -- do you have a job in mind?

Nicha  20:25  Well, my official degree is Biological Sciences and I choose to specialise next year, and I'm thinking either in Biochem, or Genetics, or I might switch to Biomedicine. So I'm kind of all over the place with that, because, you know, yesterday, I kind of went down this little rabbit hole of like, why didn't I apply to law, why have I never considered it? [laughter]. You know, and it's, I just, I have no idea. And, you know, a few days ago, I even thought, you know, what if I became a journalist, [laughs] and it's just, I wish I could do everything all at once. You know, it's just so --

Laura  20:57  Maybe you can, maybe you can do lots of things.

Nicha  21:00  Yeah. Because I think, you know, I definitely shared that same love for, I guess, words. I really do. And I like talking to people, I like, you know, putting my opinions out there and hearing other people's opinions, but I also really think that a career in science would be fulfilling, just because I would feel like I'm contributing to a greater scientific community, and everyone kind of benefits from that, even if it's like a small contribution, you know. You know, like, all these little bits and pieces of information will together, you know, form something significant.

Laura  21:31  Do you think COVID has changed that, our attitude towards science? Do you think it's made people more respectful of it?

Nicha  21:38  I have no idea because I -- it's really hard to say, because I think, you know, people are still sceptical of the vaccine, maybe not so much here, because people are just dying to get out. But I, you know, I have a flatmate who's French and she says that in France, like, most people are not on board with the vaccine. And you know, even as someone who studies science, I was sceptical of the vaccine, you know, I was never like, "Oh, I'm not taking the vaccine", but I was like, it is pretty quick for a vaccine to be developed. And it's hard to say, you know, for something like France, because that could easily be a cultural thing. I don't know, it's really, really hard to say, if, you know, they're more believing in science or not, I'd hope they would be! But a role of science, I guess, is also just to serve the community, you know, we have science to benefit the community. And a part of that is being able to communicate that to the community, you know, communicate what you're doing to the community. Because if you -- I mean, if you don't, like, it's really hard to kind of, like, get people to see the importance of it. And also, for people to even be interested enough to go into science, you know, like, I think people get discouraged from doing science and math from a really young age, because they're like, "Oh, I'm more of a words person, or I'm more of a language person". And it's just like, well, maybe, I mean, I'm not saying everyone has the potential to be interested in science, but it's just that, like, maybe you just need to get the right person to kind of explain to you because a lot of people who don't do science get really interested when they hear about, you know, like, discoveries in the scientific community, or, like, just general things about science, and they're like, oh, wow, that's really interesting. You know, I think a lot of it also just has to do with the way that like things are taught or the way that like, they're kind of taught to think I guess, like, like, you know, like, I can only be good at one of these things. Yeah. 

Laura  23:31  Well, you're obviously good at languages too [laughs]. How many do you speak? 

Nicha  23:37  Three. I speak English as my first language. Yeah, I would say it is my first language because I was raised in Singapore. So they speak English there, like, as the kind of shared language. I think there are four national languages but that's, like, the shared language. And I speak Finnish because my Dad is Finnish. I definitely have a noticeable accent, which kind of puts me off from, like, speaking it sometimes, but I'm trying to get over that. And I speak Thai, but I can't read or write it. I can read it, but not -- I wouldn't say fluently. Yeah. What about you?

Laura  24:13  Well I feel inadequate now because I speak a kind of school girl French. My vocabulary is really good and I understand a lot but my written French is terrible, but I can stumble through a conversation and then I did my year abroad when I was at Edinburgh University at the University of Miami. So I didn't have to learn a new language for that. But I had a great year but yeah, I didn't -- I tried to learn Spanish there because obviously there was, there's a big Hispanic population.

Kate  24:43  Having the different languages and then having grown up in Singapore, do you think that that makes you look differently at your, at your identity? Do you have any different sort of -- [laughter]. 

Nicha  24:56  Yes! [laughs] It's so -- it's very weird to think about my identity, I guess, because growing up in Singapore, you know, I was never like Singaporean, but I, I did go to Thailand a lot more than I went to Finland and that was up until age 12. So I've always, like, kind of identified with that side of my identity a little more. And then, you know, I moved to Finland and it, I don't know, it's just a weird thing. I realised how much I didn't really like fit in to the -- like, culturally, I mean, and it was just like, a weird thing to realise.

Laura  25:33  Were you happy there, though?

Nicha  25:34  Um not for the first few years, though. But eventually, you know, when I kind of, I think that's just kind of part of being a teenager, because you know, the years were, it was harder for me, I was like, 12, to 15. And I think those years are generally pretty hard for people growing up, it's just like, you're you're like, grasping onto anything to like, call your id-- like a part of your identity, you don't really know what you are, what you're doing, or at least that's my experience and the people that I've talked to, but yeah, I was happy at the end, though. And I just don't know, if I, I just think maybe like Finnish culture in general is, like, kind of hard to integrate into if you haven't really been born and raised there. Especially, you know, with the accent thing, it's-- I find it really hard for me to speak to Finnish people who are native language, I just find it hard because I'm so self aware about it. And like, I sound different, I sound different. I sound different. And, you know, like, I don't think I look too, like, I do think I look a bit ethnic, or like ethnically ambiguous, I guess. So I, you know, I would have people coming up to me and asking me if I speak Finnish, like nothing terrible has ever, like, happened to me, or like, didn't happen to me regularly or anything. But it was just hard to, like, integrate into the culture itself. I am where I am right now with my identity. And that's, you know, my Dad is Finnish, my Mum is Thai. And you know, I just am what I am. I have elements of those two cultures in me and that's, you know, that's fine.

Laura  27:02  Yeah, no, I'm just fascinated because it's so opposite to my experience. I feel like I had a very, you know, a very boring, a lovely, if boring experience just where I grew up. And, you know, my parents didn't leave the house I grew up in until 15 years ago. So it's, it's just yeah, it's interesting that you've had such a different experience. Yeah.

Nicha  27:28  I've always kind of like wanted that, like, having a little childhood home and you can go home to it. And it's like, I'm sure it is, like, really comforting. Um, I'm not saying you can't find comfort if you don't have that, but I'm sure it's like, that's just like a really, I guess, like a comforting thing to have even into your adulthood that you're like, that's my childhood home. It's still there. I can go there. And you know, that's where I grew up. I don't know what do y--

Laura  27:52  Yeah, that sense of place. Yeah, definitely. I definitely do. And, you know, my Mum still lives in the village --

Nicha  27:57  Yeah.

Laura  27:57  -- where I grew up.

Nicha  27:59  Yeah.

Laura  28:00  That does feel like home. And you know, going to Lewis feels like home because it's where my Dad was from and it's where he rests now. So yeah, it's lovely to have that and I think home is so much about people actually, it's, you know, it's not even about physical houses. It's, it's about people definitely, and, and cities. I'm always really intrigued about cities as well, because I always feel very emotional about cities at one way or the other. And Edinburgh. I just, I long to go back to, you know --

Nicha  28:30  Yeah.

Laura  28:30  I think definitely when my husband and I are finished working in Glasgow and educating our children we'll move back to Edinburgh because it's just to me, it feels like home in a way that Glasgow never has.

Nicha  28:44  You know, the point that you said, especially about people, that homes are about people and not like physical places, necessarily, I think, you know, the older I get, the more I will kind of lean into that. And I'm sure because -- I, like, I am spending my university years in Edinburgh, it's kind of like the first few years that I feel like, kind of truly independent. You know, like, I you know, I've moved out obviously, and it's like, it's, I think that in some way or another I will probably come to think of Edinburgh as like a home of sorts. 

Laura  29:12  It's nice to know you can be happy in different places.

Nicha  29:14  Exactly.

Laura  29:14  I always said that about my year abroad in Miami that it just proved to me that you can go somewhere really far away on your own and be happy and that's such a defining achievement in your life, especially when you do it when you're young. You know I was 19 and it's something I'll always look back on and be so glad I did.

Kate  29:34  Do you think, like, so you're saying about being in different places and making it home, do you think that's got a lot to do with with yourself and the feeling that you have when you're in those places and you yourself are making it feel like home? 

Laura  29:47  Yeah, that's really interesting Kate. What you know, which comes first? [Laughs] is it the place or is it how you feel when you're there? You know, I love New York [laughs]. I feel at home in New York [laughs], I would happily relocate to Manhattan [laughs] if I had the money to do so. 

[Theme music]

Kate  30:13  Final question that we always ask on Sharing things is, if you could use a word that represents your object, um, what word would you choose?

Nicha  30:25  I don't know. I will probably-- I think I'm gonna say warm. It just feels warm. Yeah, well, there's just a warmth to, you know, our, like, friendship and our, like, interactions. I just don't feel like they've ever been, like, they've always been kind of, like, everything that's been done it's just done out of the kindness of their hearts, you know, and it's never been like, for personal gain. And so I think there's always just, it just feels very genuine. And so I think that gives me such a warm feeling. Because it's just, I know, I can go back to it and I know I'll always have it and you know, the experiences that we had, you know, I will like -- no one can take those away from me, like, and so that just feels, like, warm.

Kate  31:09  Yeah. Laura what about yourself? 

Laura  31:12  Yeah, I would say this is my compass. 

Kate  31:14  Okay.

Laura  31:15  This painting -- my Dad was my compass in so many ways and this is just, you know, a compass the kind of a touching point, a guide to home. You know, a centring, comforting thing. 

Nicha  31:28  Yeah.

Kate  31:30  Yeah. Well, thank you very much both for coming along to Sharing things today. It's been really great chatting to you. I hope you've enjoyed it. 

Laura  31:37  Thank you, I have. Nicha, it was so nice to meet you.

Nicha  31:40  It was really nice to meet you too. I'm so glad we got to do this. It's actually been really really nice.

Laura  31:46  It has, it's been lovely to have a conversation that's different. I feel like life has been very much about well for me, news, coronavirus, and then just the practicalities of everyday life and the difficulties of home-school and it's just been lovely to actually chat about something completely different. 

[Theme music]

Kate  32:15  Thank you for listening to Sharing things. Subscribe now for more conversations and more people. Take a look at our website to find out more about past episodes and guests. See you next time.

[Theme music]

Sonia  32:25  So what is it like to graduate during a pandemic? We spoke to 2020 graduates and asked them to tell us their stories. Join us for a new podcast, Multi Story Edinburgh, available on Apple, Spotify or your other favourite podcast platform. 

[Theme music] 

Transcribed by