When a friend visited me in Edinburgh last year she observed that the city “is like an ex girlfriend, absolutely beautiful but cold as ice” which felt like a fair representation of the place I fell head over heels for during my year abroad here. Now I am back in the windiest city in the world, working in the University of California Edinburgh Study Centre. Stepping out of Edinburgh’s Waverley Station after five months in Santa Barbara, I had to catch my breath. Not because I am out of shape, though too many holiday cookies and bi-monthly visits to the gym might say otherwise, but because even after 12 months here, I still find this city breathtakingly beautiful.
Every Scotsman’s favourite joke when they hear I moved to Edinburgh from California is to question my sanity for leaving the sunshine behind. I respond with an attitude sunny enough to make up for the rain all around us that I’ve returned because Scotland genuinely feels imbued with a sense of magic. The winter mist and the snow seeping into the cobblestones are bewitching when contrasted with the mesmerising emerald green of the extinct volcano at the base of the city.
Leaving Scotland this past August was one of the most painful and nerve-wracking
experiences of my life. I left behind my Scottish partner of nearly a year and my future felt utterly obscure. There is a lot of concern when embarking on study abroad programs that one will experience bouts of homesickness but I wasn’t at all prepared for the tremendous weight of the reverse homesickness I experienced after leaving Scotland.
It’s been such a blessing to have the opportunity to return to the country I adore and to the person who kept me warm here even on the coldest of days. I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us and the amazing students who are on their own journeys across the United Kingdom and Ireland. Take it from me, the time flies by at the speed of Scottish winds so embrace the rain and the foggy grey mornings, because soon enough you will miss them dearly.