Just over a week ago, I was in a castle in the Netherlands. Most of the other students have gone home halfway across the world, seeing family and friends again but I’ve decided to do more traveling before seeing family again. Since I left, I’ve been in London for 2 days, Edinburgh for 4 days and back in London now until the 1st of May when I head to Ireland.
The first two days away from the castle was rough. I experienced reverse culture shock coming from a small town in the Netherlands to the total opposite, metropolitan London. Although I should be use to it being from Hong Kong, it was still a shocker when emotions were all clumped up together. I wanted familiarity and therefore, did not go out much and took the time to relax and reflect. Not long after, I went to Edinburgh, Scotland. On my way there, I was a little hesitant and doubtful about having a good time in Scotland considering what my mood was at that time, but it turned out to be one of the best trips this semester.
From the moment I stepped off the plane and went on the bus to the city center, I fell in love with Edinburgh as cheesy as that sounds. For some odd reason, the streets really reminded me of Hong Kong. It was narrow, and construction was everywhere. As I explored the city the next few days, I became more familiar with it and was very content walking around for hours. It was not as quiet as the Netherlands but not as busy and hectic as London. The perfect place for me to adjust.
Although Edinburgh and the highlands was beautiful in itself, what made my trip one of the best is the people that I met and spent time with. “People really make a place enjoyable.” The first person I met was my host for the first two nights, a Masters student in the University of Edinburgh. He was a fantastic host, had the air bed all set for me, had food for me when I got hungry, and was great company. Through him I met other students from the university that I got along with extremely well, at least I thought so.
They were all very friendly, and took the time to show me around town in the midst of their busy schedules. Yes, it is true that I get along and can easily meet people but many times I have to put in the effort to keep a conversation going. The last few days was different, I felt comfortable and was able to be myself from the minute I met them. As I was trying to adjust from leaving the Netherlands, I was not in the mood to have to put in too much effort. I wanted familiarity and although I had only known these friends for a few days, it felt like I was catching up with old friends. It just clicked.
In the span of just a few days, we had conversations about our past, our families, our ambitions, our faith, everything and anything in between. God knew exactly what I needed and I can’t be ever more thankful. Yes I do miss the castle and all the friends I’ve been with the last three months, but God reminded me of what I love the most- meeting new friends and getting to know the world.
A motto I follow in life, wherever you are, don’t be afraid to reach out. You never know who you’ll meet and how they can affect you. I sure hope my new friends and I will keep in touch, and I have no doubt we will meet each other again in the future. I’ll make sure of it.
So here it is, thank you Hsin-Chu, Robert, Chris, Grieg, Ching Wen, Su Chi, Eleni, Anna-Maria and Thomas for making my Edinburgh trip fantastic. Thank you for being great hosts, tour guides, and conversationalists!