I’m leaving for
in a few days. Part of this blog is meant to document this trip.
I’ve been thinking about my journey lately, and it feels a lot like a one way trip. Although I’ve never
to Europe, or anywhere outside the country (exception: Mexico eleven or twelve times), I can’t help but think it’s going to be a pleasant and rewarding experience. So pleasant that perhaps i’ll never want to return to the U.S. Things will be different for me: No cheeseburgers and no texting. No presidential inauguration and no M.L.K day. Instead, bring on the haggis, kilts, pounds, and the Edinburgh castle. I’ll embrace the green hills and try to separate truth from Braveheart. I’ll go forth on my brave journey with an open heart and an open mind. Like William Wallace, I’ll preserve my freedom. I’ll take on
like never before, immersing in Scottish heritage one lager at a time.
Although I haven’t been affiliated since eighth grade, I will always remember the Boy Scouts of America motto: Be prepared. I’ve packed warm, wool clothes. I’ve been reading up on some Scot history and I have to say that it’s a complicated series of events, treacheries, and bloody victories. None the less, I’ve come to appreciate the various Scottish strides in history and their major contributions to the modern world.
My Scottish neighbor told me his people are tough and passionate. He is a short man with large fists. His voice was polite yet stern. His attitude was kind, but his eyes were serious and bold. I asked him for advice and he told me a Robert Burns poem. I’m not sure i’ll get along with the Scots. But if they’re anything like my neighbor, I won’t have any problems.
As with any inexperience, I have some
about Scotland. My goal is not to be ignorant but to test these notions. Everything about Scotland seems old. Old as in ancient and rich, not decrepit. For one, my abroad school (University of St. Andrews) is about 600 years old. Nothing that I can think of is that old in the U.S. The outlets are different. They write the date with the day of the month first. Drivers use the other side of the road. Scotland’s weather is erratic and unpredictably chilly. The pubs are warm and friendly. The pubs are to Scotland as Starbucks is to the U.S. John Knox is a hero. And Adam Smith, David Hume, and Francis Hutcheson (technically born in Ireland) are some of the most influential thinkers of all time. These are my preconceived notions, and find out I will how accurate they may be.
I am nervous, excited, and relieved to study in Scotland this semester. Luckily, I have this Irish Blessing(I’m mostly of Irish descent)printed inside my hat to keep me sane and hopefully safe. Keep following my journey.