Tomorrow, Saturday 2 September 2017, it’s been a year since I left to Scotland for my study abroad semester. I’m so aware of it that every day the thought pops up in my mind, as if it is a kind of alarm I cannot turn off. It seems almost impossible that a year has passed, and that everything changed so much since. I think of myself a year ago, only a couple of days before flying, packing my things, saying the last goodbyes, and I realize how clueless I was about the way this trip was going to change my life. I’m completely honest when I say that I could not have imagined myself a year later the way I am now, with all the things that happened in the middle.
I know I talk –and write– a lot about Glasgow all the time. I think about it all the time too, but more than being hit by the images and the places, I’m constantly hit by the moments and the feelings that Glasgow involves. Sometimes I’m lying in my bed and I can sense and remember that time I walked with my roommate to Mario’s Place to have a burger because we didn’t feel like cooking. I can remember the cold, the almost-rain; I can hear the noise in the street while walking. Most of all, I can feel the emotions exactly as I felt them the first time, and it makes me so incredibly happy and melancholic. I can remember the joy of being in my room, the nerves when taking that train, the tenderness of seeing my friends eating and laughing and talking all at the same time. I can remember how powerful I felt every time I overcame an obstacle, or just after doing my laundry or buying vegetables in the supermarket.
When I was in Glasgow, I was aware that at some point it would be over. I never imagined that that over would come so fast, and still all I could think while being there was how I wished I could stop time from moving on. It never did. It never does. I had to say goodbye to people and places and moments. I had to say goodbye to a part of my life that I was not ready to let go of. Time didn’t stop for me. And then suddenly, a year passed. A year since I took that flight not knowing exactly where it was taking me, but that I can finally see with clarity now. From the distance, after having gone through excitement, happiness, loss and pain, it looks better. I feel better. Going there was a huge challenge, but coming back was probably even a bigger one. I wonder sometimes if maybe going there wasn’t the real adventure; maybe, just maybe, the adventure was coming back.
I miss Glasgow with every single part of my body. I miss my friends, I miss my freedom, I miss my independence and my life; I miss what Glasgow meant and what it was. But here I am, 11,735 km away from my beloved city, and still alive. More than alive: I’m living. I’m living my life and trying to live it as fully as I did there. I’m trying not to overlook how awesome every moment in here is, and I’m trying to learn from them as much as I can because even though my heart still hurts, things here are more than good.
I am glad to be able to look back now without that sadness that I could barely hold in my body a couple of months ago. I’m happy that even though I had to keep moving with my life here, the memories that I was so scared to forget remain intact, sometimes hidden, but always there in one way or another. And I am grateful, I am eternally grateful for the experience I had, for the opportunity that was given to me, for every single person I met and every moment we shared together, and for the life I am living now thanks to them.