crossing the pond and looking back

This is my first post from the States in over four months!  Jet lag and reverse culture shock are still hitting me, the latter more than the former.  I landed in Charleston on Saturday night , and somehow it still has not completely sunk in that I am back in the States or that I do not know when I will get to return to Scotland.  As I write this, I am sipping English breakfast tea out of a mug with the South Carolina palmetto moon on it, which makes me feel like a traitor somehow.  Also, considering that the highest temperature I experienced over the semester was 20 degrees (~68 Fahrenheit), to come back to a humid 30 degrees (~86 Fahrenheit) in Charleston is rather miserable.  Air conditioning and ceiling fans are definite blessings right now.

Charleston has been welcoming me back by storming every day for the past few days; I woke up to thunder on Monday morning and realised that that was the first thunder I had heard since before I left.  Despite the inconvenience of trying to run errands around thunderstorms, I was definitely excited.  I love Scottish weather–rain and wind and bitter cold included–far more than Southern weather, but I did miss thunderstorms.  The rain reminds me of my last day in Scotland; it was an absolutely gorgeous day, the kind that St. Andrews is famous for, until that evening when it started raining as I was packing.  The weather matched my mood, except for the moment when I found a huge piece of bubble wrap.  When I’m a counsellor some day, I will keep a stock of bubble wrap because I truly believe that popping little plastic bubbles somehow makes any bad day better.

I found it while packing. all of it is getting popped.

Here is the massive piece of bubble wrap I found while packing: now that I am home it is ALL getting popped.

my entire semester packed into suitcases and a backpack. so sad :(

My entire semester packed into two suitcases and a backpack. So sad 😦

But back to being home.  Between sleeping a ton, appointments, doing washing, and catching up with friends on both sides of the ocean, I am still in the process of unpacking.  (I promise my room will be cleaned up soon, Mom!)  Unpacking is almost as heartbreaking as packing up my room in Melville was, but I am [mostly] saved from tears by the wonderful memories that come from stumbling upon each memento and note that I brought back with me.  I have always been teased for being too sentimental, but I would never wish to change this about myself.  I consider it a blessing to be able to love so deeply, even when it brings me heartache.  Saying goodbye to all of my friends in Scotland was more difficult than leaving the States in January, because I do not know when I will see any of them again.  I am sincerely grateful for Facebook and Skype which allow us to keep in contact and see each other.  And I am truly grateful for each person I was blessed to meet over the course of the semester, both in St Andrews and across Europe.  I met truly interesting, kind, and inspirational people from over thirty countries (yes, 30) and all over the United States and I have truly been changed for the better as a result.

It is really strange being home, much as I am happy to see my family.  I am a wee bit envious of my sister, Aimée, who is leaving in the morning for a two-week opera programme in Brighton, England.  Remember her? Extremely talented singer and performer who graduated from Erskine a year ago? Yep. She’s pretty awesome.  I’m really excited to hear how the programme goes.

Despite the sadness at being home, there are many things I’m excited for this summer.  The most recent of these already happened: my parents bought me a car, a Scion xD, as a [very] belated high school graduation present.  I am overwhelmingly grateful for such a gift; I am paying my own way through school and it is a huge blessing to have parents who have the ability to support me this way.

I've named him Hamish. yes, that's a Scottish name. Three guesses why it's Scottish.

I’ve named him Hamish. yes, that’s a Scottish name. Three guesses why.

I am excited to start working again.  I am returning to work at Chick-fil-A, where I worked before starting Erskine.  It is a fun place to work and I like being useful.
I am excited to finish giving gifts to my family! I’ve given my parents and brother the things that I got them abroad, but not my sisters and brother-in-law. Being able to give them their gifts also means that I get to see them in person, which is a happy occasion as well.
I am excited to be able to sing in my church choir again! I have been singing with them for at least seven years and I really missed it while I was gone.
I am excited for July, when I will be a bridesmaid in my friend Megan’s wedding.  Megan was my room mate freshman year at Erskine and I am so happy to be a part of her special day!  And remember my friend/academic dad, Lawrence? He is coming up from Miami to see Charleston and to be my guest at the wedding.  Happy day!

I think this is a long enough post for now.  Sufficient to say, the last few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotion and a reminder of how blessed I am.  Many more posts to come! I have not forgotten to finish telling you about my Easter travels, and then there is the second half of the semester to talk about!  Until then, God bless and keep you!

also, congratulations to the Erskine College class of 2013! I wish I could have been at graduation.