Thursday, June 3, 2010

it is time

It was nothing like I thought it would be.
It was everything I never knew it could be.
It was difficult, scary, terrifying.
It was beautiful, full of joy.
It was awkward and complex.
It was freeing and simple.
It was full of laughter. So much laughter
It was full of tears. So many tears.
It was essays, exams, lectures, tutorials.
It was castles, exploring, adventuring.
It was unimaginable, but it was real.

The key word: was. My time in Scotland has come to an end. And I'm beyond numb. Apparently, tomorrow morning I'm saying goodbye and not only am I numb to the fact that I'm leaving, but I'm also numb to the fact that I'm not going to be on this soil for a long time. And even if someday I'm blessed enough to return, the soil will not be the same. It won't ever be the same as it is right this second. This day. But years from now, if I ever do come back, I'll be filled with only the deepest joys, the most beautiful memories. This experience has been the blessing of a lifetime for me. I needed it to grow and see life outside of the box I've lived in for twenty years. And to know that somehow, on a whim, I ended up studying abroad for a semester will always be a reminder that my plans never work out. My plans never included a semester in Scotland, but a greater plan did. And so there it is. My plans never work out. They never turn out how I assumed they would, how I wrote them on paper. They only turn out much, much better. And to be twenty years old and still be able to say that everything has only been better than I've ever dreamed brings tears to my eyes. So as I say goodbye I feel many things, but above all, I am grateful. So, so, so grateful.

Tomorrow morning, I will look out the window of a plane and see Aberdeen get smaller and smaller. Tomorrow night, I will look out the window of another plane and see Traverse City, MI like I've never seen it before. And I've never been so sure of where I'm supposed to go next...

Goodbye Aberdeen. It is time.
Hello home. It's been too long.

(I've taken a picture a day in Scotland of the most beautiful things I have seen. If you have time, take a look.

Also, something I've made as a reminder of my last week:

Blog: El Fin. Cheers.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

all these little things

This is Miss Mousey. Miss Mousey has been around the world and back now--to Jamaica, to California, to Connecticut, to Vermont, to New Hampshire, on every plane, every family vacation, and now, to Scotland. (And yes, I am twenty years old. If you have a problem with this, well, bullocks to you.) I recently looked at her apart from being my pillow and noticed...she's mighty rugged. 19 years of life for her, and many of them have been soaking up my tears on homesick family vacations or being smushed under face for 8 hours a day, 7 times a week. Still, it's funny to think of all the places she's been. And that I've been. And soon, she'll take her rightful place back on my bed in Williamsburg, MI. So three days left. Here are my thoughts for now.

Top 15 things I will not miss about Scotland:
1. Seagulls of abnormally large size that rampage around Hillhead and campus and try to eat my macaroni pies.
2. The uselessness of my cheap umbrella in the rain.
3. Philosophy tutorials where no one speaks and I can hear my watch ticking.
4. Professors who say, "George Washington was a dumbass," and "America never had an Enlightment."
5. Walking 20 minutes to lecture up a steep hill that, contrary to popular belief, does not become easier after walking it over and over.
6. Drunk older men whistling. And drunk everyone. By 6PM.
7. The lack of Northern Michigan stars. Although once in a great while a few would spring out and make me smile.
8. Having to calculate how much I'm actually spending due to the blasted exchange rate. Example: "Only 10 pounds!" Oh wait, that's like $16.
9. Paying 30 pence to use a "toilet." Oh dear.
10. Sinks that only have a I'll-singe-your-skin-off faucet and a hypothermia-is-grand faucet. It is a skill and an art to use two faucets and attempt to mix them. And getting burned is an everyday occurence... in the literal sense of course.
11. Essay exams that count for 50% and 60% of my grade, taken in an impersonal room of 400 students. And no, you don't know the questions before hand. Fly by the seat of yo ..trousers!
12. If you say pants, it should be clear that you are talking about underwear. That way, when you yell, "Wait, I can't come out yet! I have no pants on!" from the GAP dressing room, you don't feel so embarrassed. Also, don't yell "Paragraphs without periods!" at the airport bus stop. You will have just yelled, "Paragraphs without menstrual cycles!" Say end stop. Always say end stop.
13. Having to look every single way (left, right, up, down, around, backwards) to cross the street. Instead of feeling like drivers should be on the left, I now feel that drivers are anywhere and everywhere and I must sprint around looking every way to cross a street
14. Having to communicate with the people I love over skype. Their faces in computer screens are far from ideal.
15. I will not miss missing people from home.

Top 15 things I will miss about Scotland:
1. Living 25 seconds from my best friend and taking naps in her room from 7PM-8PM when homework isn't the priority and too much daydreaming makes me sleepy.
2. The way the daffodils seem to stare you in the face and yell, "GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE!"
3. Green, green, and more green. The shire has been my home and the comfort of the trees and the river and the benches and the clouds off the sea. These are things I can't forget.
4. Beautiful people from places around the entire world. Lithuania, Germany, Czech Republic, France, Scotland, England, South Africa, Belgium, Latvia, Switzerland... all with their own stories. I've been blessed enough to hear a few.
5. Closing the 3,613 mile gap with the noise of the the mailbox slot.
6. The atmosphere of a good ole' pub and having the giggles from yummy cocktails. And having my first drinking experiences in a country where they do it right. Slain's Castle, ftw.
7. Hearing bagpipes on the way to class and spotting men in kilts. Yes, kilts are sometimes funny. Mostly though, they are just legit.
8. Running through castles and embarrassing your best friend as a weekly experience.
9. Feeling alone and alive and all things standing in a valley, surrounded by mountains.
10. 288A: My small, picture-filled, thought-filled room. My favorite room I've ever had in my life.
11. Learning that traveling is not so much stressful as it is hilarious. Lochs, castles, cathedrals, mountains, valleys, cities, views. Also, traveling with your best friend is nothing but wonderful. Even if you have to keep a death grip on the map.
12. Tattered maps. Campus maps, London maps, bus-route maps. Tattered because they've been used. And kept in a drawer because they aren't needed anymore.
13. The tree outside my window that I've watched grow and change with every season. On January 29th, it was covered in snow. In April, pink flowers. In June, green again. Always back to green.
14. Secret thinking spots where I've sat and wondered how I came to be in Scotland, why I came to be in Scotland, and how none of those questions really even matter because here I am. And although it hasn't always been easy, I wouldn't change a single thing. Not one.
15. I will miss feeling at home in a country with my best friend, surrounded by the most beautiful woods and sunsets, with more questions that answers, more doodles than homework, the largest range of emotions, the deepest joys that come with feeling alive, and the tears that come with being so far away. I will miss Scotland and every memory that goes along with it.

I can't believe I only have three more days. Three days to say goodbye.