Yesterday I opened Facebook to see this.
This week has been Fresher’s Week and I’ve been quite busy. My mom left about a week ago and since then I’ve been running about the city getting things together for the start of term. My classes are sorted, my attendance is confirmed, and I’m all moved into my flat.
On the Mountaineering side of things, we’ve had our first committee meeting, social, and our first day trip is tomorrow. We are going to the Cobbler (just north of Glasgow). I remember that trip from last year, I was a stupidly underprepared Fresher. But, as with all things… it’s been a year.
A year since I said my goodbyes, boxed up everything, and left my family’s farm in Kansas. A year since I boarded my delayed flight from Kansas City to Newark and had to run across two terminals to catch my flight to Edinburgh. A year since I first moved into Pollock Halls not knowing anyone in this new country. A year since I went to my first archaeology lecture and finally felt like I belonged.
And guys, I was so freaking scared to move over here. I loved archaeology and history too much to miss out on this opportunity but I couldn’t shake my anxieties of moving, making new friends, and my worst fear of all – not being good enough/smart enough to fit in. I was terrified, my panic attacks got worse, I actually started to dread leaving Kansas. But I knew I needed to, I’d done enough reading and needed to go out and see the world.
And so I did.
My first semester proved I had nothing to fear. I made wonderful new friends, experienced the beauty and history of the Scottish Highlands first hand, wrote killer essays, listened to even more killer lectures, and learned how to down a pint. The past year feels like the exposition to my new bildungsroman of which I hope I have many more chapters yet to write.
By second semester, I gained more confidence in the city and ventured further outside my comfort zone. I continued to push myself academically even getting a few firsts on some essays, traveled to Spain to climb mountains, and spent the summer in Romania (finally) on my first archaeological excavation.
When I went home in June, Kansas felt different. My room was still the same, Rory recognized me, Downtown Lawrence still had it’s quirky charms but the vast prairie skies didn’t seem so limitless as before. There’s obviously ‘no place like home’ but I know I’ve done what I can there. I needed to leave, to experience new things, and chase my archaeological dreams.
And so in September, my family decided to get a new kitten (they named it Rick O’Connell after Brendan Fraser’s archaeologist character in The Mummy films) and I left. Basically they replaced me (their archaeologist daughter) with a new (archaeologist) cat.
Coming back to Edinburgh this year felt much more like a homecoming. I wasn’t scared. I didn’t have any panic attacks this year. I am ready to tackle my classes and get back into my rapidly normalizing life here. I am so happy here. There is so much history in this city and for the next part of my life I get to be part of it.
Classes start next week and I am beyond excited to see what this year brings. If it’s anything like the last … I know it’s going to be incredible.
So here’s to one year (and hopefully many more) in Scotland. ❤