This morning marks the first of November, my second to last month in Scotland and as an intern within the Edinburgh Study Centre. Before walking to work today I sat at my kitchen table, shivering in the chilly autumn air, drinking tea from a mug which depicts a snowy winter day above Princes Street and the tracks of Waverley station. A warm pink and orange glow engulfs the painted, snow-laden city, formed by fluid lines of orange and blue which make me smile. As I scanned my new keepsake of Edinburgh I found myself reflecting on all of the memories I have formed in this beautiful city.
When I first left California on September 9th, 2015 I had never been outside of the United States or even left the western half of the country. Stepping off of the airport bus at the western corner of the city, I felt awe-struck and bewildered by the breath-taking architecture just before Princes Street. I beamed while standing in the mildly warm Scottish sun in a thin T-shirt, watching an impromptu jazz band perform in front of the Walter Scott Monument. I remember folding up my boarding pass from the day before, forming a crease in a new chapter of my life that I could never have anticipated would span the course of two years here in Scotland.
Those streets have become so familiar after all this time; they signify home and comfort to me as I am sure they do for many of our students even after one semester in Edinburgh. When I chose to move back to this city as a “young professional” as opposed to my time here as a student, I expected change. I expected to feel disoriented and a bit overwhelmed by the realities of leaving student life behind but I had not expected to undergo the palpable shift in my ways of thought, values and self-perception that I eventually experienced. This has been the most trans-formative year of my life and I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to experience it and have another two months to appreciate it.
I couldn’t be more grateful for the staff at the Edinburgh Study Centre for their care and support throughout this internship and our students who have brightened my days and listened to me drone on about my time abroad with patient smiles. I am endlessly blessed by the love of my friends in Edinburgh and the everyday people that have touched my life in unexpected ways. As I think back to all those that have drifted in and out of my life like the little flecks of snow in the foreground of the mug I now hold, despite the sadness that colours their departure, I am left with a warm, hazy pink glow of two years spent well-lived and well-loved.