As I walk down Prince’s street for at least the 30th time, I once again pass by Red Squirrel, a homey-looking restaurant whose motto is “great beer & a bite to eat.” “Still got to go there!” I think to myself and pull out my American phone to add it to my ‘Places to eat in Edinburgh’ list. The list grows exponentially faster than I can cross off each item. With my departure date looming closer and closer, I feel the increasing pressure to eat my way through Edinburgh; every day conflicted between trying to save money to travel and making a dent in the abundance of restaurants in this city. In another note, I have a list for things to do in Edinburgh before I leave—including visiting the graveyard that inspired characters in Harry Potter and visiting the National Galleries, both of which I pass by almost every day. I am tempted to think that a semester is just not nearly enough time to eat at all the good restaurants and visit all the sites; however, when I think about it, I have eaten at more restaurants and seen more things these past 11 weeks than I have the past couple years back at home. The pressure to explore and discover really brings out the list-making side of me.
Today I had my last tutorial for one of my classes and received my first “best of luck back in America” from my tutorial leader; yet with nearly a month left of school, it felt like a bit of a pre-mature goodbye. As I walked away from New College, the Religion school’s building, it began to dawn on me that there is a good chance I will never see most of my classmates again. With its sprawling campus interspersed throughout the city and huge class sizes, it is easy to talk to someone in lecture and then not see them again for three weeks. With three weeks left, most of them being study days and finals, it is entirely possible that today’s tutorial was the last time I will see them. “I should’ve added them on Facebook!” I think to myself…Maybe they will want to study abroad at Georgetown their junior year. Today, the ephemeral nature of a study-abroad semester really revealed itself—making it more apparent the very unique situation that study abroad students are in. As semester study abroad students, our stay here has a definite start and end date that influences the things we do, how we do them, and who we do them with. Trying to travel throughout Europe, immerse ourselves in Scottish culture, and live the life of a Edinburgh student is nearly impossible— because what university student would just book a ticket on a whim and go to Amsterdam for the weekend? The temporariness of a semester abroad influences all aspects from not wanting to buy a toaster because we would have to abandon it after a semester, to not joining a club because the main project takes place next semester. So sadly, the end of semester good-bye season seems to have already begun. Only difference is, the goodbyes here consist of “let me know if you ever come to the US” rather than “see you next year”.
Things on the list:
-View from hike up to Arthur’s Seat-
-Ruins of Holyrood Abbey-