Saturday, January 21, 2017

MEET A MEMBER - MARGARET FINLAY

Meet Margaret Finlay from Edinburgh (via Shetland, Dumfries and Galloway and Glasgow) who moved to LA about 15 months ago to pursue a life worth living!


Was there a particular reason you chose LA?
My husband is retraining as an actor (from a software engineering CEO!), so LA was the no-brainer destination!
He was born in Santa Monica, grew up in Munich and spent the last nearly 20 years living in Edinburgh, where we met 8 and 1/2 years ago. I'm not gonna lie, I was talking up Vancouver as the best destination option, but here we are, "living the dream" ;) 

What do you miss most from home?
I miss the fresh air! And the green hills. And until this past couple of weeks, I was really missing rain too, but LA has been delivering the moisture of late - love it!
Now we've been here over a year, I'm missing family members more keenly. We haven't been back to visit yet, and are planning our first trip 'home' later this year. 

What was your first impression of LA and has it changed since ? If so why?
I thought LA was busy! A sprawling concrete jungle with wonderfully wide streets, that were less wonderfully full of traffic ALL the time! I'm a country girl at heart, so the sheer volume of people and cars was a bit of a culture shock. I've adjusted now I think, and settled in a bit more, so I take it more in my stride. In the heat of the summer the air seemed oppressively grubby - now things have cooled off it's wonderful and there are some days it altogether feels practically fresh!

What do you find the biggest difference is living here versus Edinburgh?
I don't miss the dark, grey winter days. The damp and the cold (although this past summer I did recall them somewhat fondly), the wind and sleet. Despite the weather (there's no such thing as bad weather after all, just inappropriate clothing...), I used to walk more in Edinburgh, and miss being able hop on a bus as required, or a train! But I found this first LA summer a bit too hot for spending much time outdoors, and the public transport options are a bit more limited.
There's actually been some pretty major changes in my life the past few years and LA, for me, at the moment (!) is a bright and brave new world. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012 and had to give up my vet work (I'm a veterinarian) because of it in 2013. For a time I thought my life was effectively over and I never thought I'd be able to work again. I was on a half dozen or so prescription medications, daily injections and what-not and was generally feeling pretty hopeless. But then I kind of stabilised, medically speaking, and I began to look at different ways of optimizing my health and taking responsibility for managing my disease.
Fast forward to now, I'm not taking any drugs at all and have spent the last year working more and feeling better than I have in a long time! I used a functional medicine approach, focusing on nutrition and lifestyle adjustments. After spending the past year working as a veterinarian here in LA, I've come to realise that many of the diseases I was seeing in pets, could be prevented or treated using a more holistic approach, and that conventional medical options (as I had discovered to be the case in human medicine) were not always in the best interest of the patient. So I decided to quit my job and am in the process of studying holistic and integrative veterinary practices, including nutrition, therapeutic massage and hospice care and plan to set up my own business advising owners how they can best prevent disease development in the first place - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure after all ;) So LA feels very different for me on a personal level too - this biggest perceived difference is the feeling of opportunity; the positivity and the 'aliveness' of LA is just fantastic. 

Do you have a hidden gem in LA that you want to share with us?
Definitely Bea Bea's in Burbank!
I am a huge fan of sweet breakfast options - pancakes, waffles, lashings of syrup - but I'm gluten free these days and was researching possible GF options (I think I researched this months before we even moved over here - priorities!) when I discovered this gem. If my husband and I are celebrating anything, rather than go out for a meal, we go out for breakfast at Bea Bea's!

What would you suggest to others who are thinking about making the move here?
Marry an American - makes the paperwork easier! Bring lots of tea with you and be sure to resist the temptation to employ any attempts at humor when dealing with immigration officials.

Lots of our members join our group Brits in LA seeking out words of wisdom - what is the best piece of advice you've been given?
Be kind. And patient. But mostly kind - to yourself as well as to others! Try to keep an open mind and trust your intuition.

Lastly, how can we find out more about you? Are you working on anything at the moment? 
It's not quite finished, but my website is www.betterhealthholisticvet.com - I am looking forward to really making a difference in the lives of pets and their owners - we have so much potential for making really positive choices for ourselves and our four legged family members!
visit BetterHealthHolisticvet.com

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