I am not going to lie to you guys. I am going to be completely honest about my first couple days in Scotland and how they haven’t gone according to my preconceived plans. I thought I would be absolutely in love with Scotland, that all my worries and fears would melt away and the sight of ancient castles and grazing country sheep. I was wrong and I hate admitting how hard of a time I have had the past couple of days. But with the bad there is good, and the struggle now is looking for the good, even if it is apart of the bad.
I arrived in Glasgow and was slightly overwhelmed but I made it to my driver who was so sweet and gave me the low down on how Scotland works. He kept my spirits up and got me excited. Yet the minute I paid him and he literally drove away while I was standing on the sidewalk, completely alone, outside of my building it hit me: I was in Scotland… By myself…and having to carry three bags up a flight of very narrow stairs. I was helped to my room by another exchange student, Katie, and thank the high heavens for that! I am on a floor with almost all exchange and study abroad students like myself so we all were experiencing somewhat of the same thing.
I was in need of a shower because after 15 hours of travel and a lot of running through airports and nervous sweats I smelled rank! I unpacked, which was quiet difficult in my quaint room, and was supposed to go out to a pub with the other students but I still had stuff to do and they were in a hurry. When I tried to fall asleep that night, everyone started to come in and by the time it was quiet which was around 4 o’clock in the morning, I had this horrible panic attack.
These have been my worst enemies for the past couple of days. They have been crippling me from my ability to sleep and function without worrying about pointless and trivial things. Things such as communicating with family and friends with the time difference of 6 hours, getting into town, going put on the town with people I don’t know, starting classes, cooking for myself, fitting in, feeling alone, etc etc. All of these feeling come crashing down when I am alone, in a small room when every one else seems to have their stuff together.
I haven’t felt homesick in a long time, not to the point where my thoughts revolve around nothing else. I was a pathetic pity partier for days and called my mom and friend crying for reasons I sometimes couldn’t explain. I lived in Alaska for 3 months and survived and I thought it would be similar to coming here but it’s not and I hadn’t prepared myself for that. I expected to arrive fresh as a spring daisy and I felt like I was wilting in the sun. For the first couple of days I was naive enough to think I was the only one feeling this way and then I finally opened up to people and found out I wasn’t the only one. People just deal with it in different ways.
I have had amazing support from friends and family who have so much faith in me, especially when I have so little faith in myself. I have been offered such good advice and now I just need to put it to action. This is a time in my life where I am in Scotland, able to explore and see parts of the world other people don’t get the chance to and I can’t spend it whining about how I miss the comforts and familiarities of being at home. The feeling of missing home, family, and friends may never go away, but it’s my choice about whether I let it rule my every waking thought and action. I am so lucky to have such a great home and people who I feel, at times, lost without. Some people don’t have such strong attachments to the ones they love and I am lucky enough too. Even though there are times when I am completely irrational and think “I am never going to get through this, this isn’t worth it,” I know better deep down inside. I haven’t learned to cut myself some slack. I have only been here 4 days!
I was hoping to be uplifting and insightful and able to tell everyone that I am as brave as everyone believes but I can’t. I have struggled with my own inner demons and if I don’t deal with them, I will pay the price. I am looking up and looking for the positives everywhere I go. I am in a beautiful country, with friendly people, and most importantly, with the amazing support of all my friends and and family behind me. At times I don’t feel worthy of your support and faith. As my amazing mother keeps saying to me, “This too shall pass.” I will survive what I hope is the biggest bump along this amazing road.