I Think I’m Gonna Like it Here…

I’ve been in Scotland for just about two weeks, and I’m already getting the feeling that a year won’t be enough time here. There’s something about Scotland that has always appealed to me. The of endless expanses of rolling hills suggesting limitless possibilities are uniquely combined with a cozy climate and weathered architecture that hug you as you explore more. It’s an atmosphere that is hard to explain but wonderful to experience, and I plan to experience it to the fullest. I do realize that some of my fascination may be just a romanticized view of a place where everything is novel and exciting; I’ve told countless people that I really don’t mind the rain or cold at the moment only because I’m thankful not to be sweating it out in the North Carolina heat anymore. But if after a few weeks of rainy days, the shiny newness of Scotland begins to wear off, I’m confident that the people I have and continue to meet will remind me of why I initially fell in love with this place.

From day one I have been whole-heartedly welcomed with prayers, lunch and dinner invitations, tours of local sites, theatre tickets, and – one of my personal favorites – a trip to the Highland Games. Members of my own church as well as other local congregations have adopted me into their community faster and more fully that I could have ever imagined. Not everything has been smooth sailing since I arrived. I quickly realized that this year would require a whole new level of adulting than university did, and I’ve struggled through banking technicalities, internet complications, and confusing bus routes. However, even as I fumbled through this weird time of transition, I always felt supported by those around me. My naturally independent and introverted self typically shies away from asking for help, but without ever asking I got off a plane and was met with a support system that refuses to let me walk alone.

Now back to the Highland Games. I was invited to go on my very first Sunday here by a couple from my church who met competing in the games themselves. I was shocked at such a big and unprompted invitation, but not too shocked not to say yes immediately. We would go the following Saturday, so I had a whole week to build up the event in my imagination, and the games did not disappoint. In many ways it was as thrilling and almost otherworldly as it seems on TV, watching watch men in kilts toss cabers as big as telephone poles into the air and girls in traditional costumes dance to bagpipes. In addition, there was running, cycling, shotput, long jump, tug of war, art stalls, and more, all combined into what I could best describe as a Scottish State Fair. This outing was a rare opportunity and a much more heightened experience than my day-to-day life has been; but, as I reflect on the day now, I am realizing that what I loved so much about the games isn’t so different from what I have loved about my general experience so far. At the games there was a unique atmosphere of tradition and community; the crowds weren’t there just to be spectators. Rather we were participants in the events, just as integral as the athletes competing. I have been similarly embraced by my new community here, and though I am still adjusting, I have never been made to feel like an outsider but rather welcomed as the newest member of an abundantly compassionate, amusingly outgoing, and perfectly Scottish community.         

2 responses to “I Think I’m Gonna Like it Here…”

  1. I can’t wait to show this blog to Nana


  2. Emma, I’m so excited for you and this adventure. My whole life has centered around travel and once you get a taste for it there’s no turning back. It is the absolute best education you can get especially in Europe. Keep exploring our beautiful world and showing your kindness to others and this will be an amazing memory. You are there in a unprecedented time in history. Soak in all in.
    Love, Uncle Greg


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: