To the International Student

September 3rd 2017, boarding a highly anticipated plane, gripping the stained handles of a rather matured piece of luggage. A nervous smile, tears glistening in stubborn eyes.

“Yes I want to move to Scotland”.
“Yes I love Dundee”.
“No I am not scared”.

Words that still echoed in earlier conversations with distraught parents as they tried to convince their headstrong daughter to stay at home and try “the nice, little university down by the river”.

I’m not going to lie, the minute I started boarding that plane I was basically shitting myself. Annabelle what were you thinking? You have never been to Scotland. You don’t know what to expect – all I have heard were drunks dancing in kilts. To be honest, that wasn’t even far fetched. I mean I didn’t even know what Scottish sounds like. I still don’t know what it sounds like. The minute I seem to get the hang of it you just have to throw in “headdin,” “boggin,” or whatever else. Seriously, slow down. I am still only getting used to the sound of “aye”.

Anyways, my family thought I had gone completely insane. Especially after checking the weather forecast.

They told me I was doomed to become depressed. Not going to lie, there are times I stare out at the gloomy clouds and the thick rain and try to remember what it feels like to have the soft rays of sun tickle my face. We can always dream right?

So basically, after that internal turmoil and a full force of people condemning me to being mentally ill, it wasn’t to be unexpected that I ended up having a full blown panic attack on that plane. Yes. The whole thing: From sweaty hands, to racing heart, to dampened vision. It was quite embarrassing actually. Especially when I had to be placed on the floor and a doctor was called to my side. I even got my own VIP pick up: an ambulance.

Fast forward to Tuesday 6th November 2018, I am writing a blog post for the student blog with Pixie, my British Shorthair kitten, purring in my lap and Klara, my flatmate, going on about how messy I leave the kitchen.

Here I am, a slightly older, slightly more mature, slightly more sophisticated student reflecting on the past year.

Okay who am I kidding I am still the mess I was a year ago. But you get my point. Anyways back to the sentimental blog post: Here I am reflecting on the past year pondering on a question my mum had asked: “Annabelle, would you do it again? Would you board that plane and face those challenges all over?”

Here is the thing. Yes it was hard. Yes I had a ton of understanding Scottish slang to do. Yes I did try things I shouldn’t have tried and said stuff I shouldn’t have said. It wasn’t always the smoothest ride. But damn right I’d do it again. All of it.

From the panic attack to the culture to the exploring of my sexuality. Everything.

So to you my international chicken, who is about to board that scary plane and has parents telling you not to: Do it. You will have the time of your life. You will meet the most amazing people and grow into the strongest, most independent version of yourself. You will discover things you are capable of and things you wish to achieve.

You will be a drunk amongst drunks who is loving the ride Scotland has to give.

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