After a sleepless night, one canceled layover, and several delays, I am home at last. Well, one home anyway. I have officially bid adieu to Edinburgh, my home for the past two months, to return to my base in Philadelphia. But even this journey is short lived; in a few short weeks I return to my other home in Evanston as I resume my studies at Northwestern. A nomad's rest never lasts for long.
To say this summer has been the time of my life does not do the experience justice. There are times in our lives that we can look back on, particular fragments of our history, of journeys we have taken, that we can pinpoint as life changing; my time in Edinburgh has been all that and more. I have learned so much about about business in the arts, the Fringe Festival, networking, and etc. I've learned about myself, about my capabilities outsides the performance space, and my abilities to utilize my perspective as a performer to navigate the other sectors of the arts industry. And I've been to a kaylee. But of all the lessons I've learned in Edinburgh, I suppose the greatest lesson I've learned from this whole experience is about love.
I fell in love with Edinburgh, just as I fell in love with Beijing four years ago. While this love only served to enhance my experience while I was in Edinburgh, it broke my heart when it came time to leave. The last thing I wanted was to be parted from this city, to be presented with the uncertainty of my ever returning. For you can never truly return to the same place twice; what if, if I should be so fortunate as to return, I came back to Edinburgh and it wasn't the city I remembered it to be? How can you face leaving a place, leaving what you love, with the full knowledge that it can never truly be as it was?
I didn't sleep the night before my flight (I never sleep before I fly). And after I'd finished packing and tiding up my room, I still had an hour left to myself before I needed to get ready to leave the flat. I spent that hour watching the sun rise over Edinburgh. I watched the city stretch and unfurl itself from it's short slumber, coaxed out by the brilliance of that sunrise against my lovingly familiar grey skies. In that moment, my fears and my trepidations slipped away. I realized something; once you love something or someone, you can never truly be separated from it. To love is both the most selfish and selfless act a human being can perform. It is selfish because we take something away and we keep it for ourselves. It is selfless because we also give away a part of ourselves, knowing full well we can never have it back. Such is the nature of my love for Edinburgh. For two months the city haa given me more than I could ever ask for and I gratefully and willingly soaked up every opportunity and adventure the city has offered. But it would seem, over the course of my great adventure, I have left a little part of myself in Edinburgh, some portion of my heart that will forever belong to the summer I have spent there.
The second morning I was home in Philadelphia I was about to go for a run when I realized that there was dirt caked all over my sneakers. The last time I had gone running was by my secret river in Edinburgh. It had been a particularly wet day and I had to slosh through all the mud and the puddles. But, instead of seeing just dirty sneakers, I saw a little piece of Edinburgh. Now dirt is still dirt, even if it is from Scotland, and it's not exactly the sort of thing you want to keep on your sneakers. So I did the only thing a runner can do when they have dirty sneakers; I ran.
I ran through the dust at the bottom of my back porch, through the wilting lawns around my neighborhood, through the mulch laid down by the gardeners of a local university, all the way to my native secret river. As I ran the dirt fell off, some on a bit of lawn, some by the flowers, with the very last bits of it flaking off onto the banks of my river, all of it mixing together, seamlessly blending one soil with the next. And as i stood on the bank of that river, once again covering the soles of my sneakers with some familiar mud, I understood. This is who I am. I am a composite of dirt. I am an amalgamation of all the people I've encountered, all the places I've traveled, all the dirt I've carried. These adventures, while each with their own unique set of stories, do not attempt to separate or be sifted apart from one another. Instead, these stories come together to form one person's journey, my journey. And it is a journey that has only just begun.
Thank you all so much for reading this blog. Once again, I cannot thank the women of the WEAA enough for sponsoring me, without them this trip could not have happened. And to all have you who have read this blog and taken this journey with me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I only hope you enjoyed reading about my adventures as much as I enjoyed having them. With this my last post about Edinburgh, I am going to take a hiatus from blog writing for the rest of the academic year. But I doubt this will be my lost post ever, for I intend on having many, many more adventures over the course of my life and, should you all want to, I would be honored once more to have you all along for the ride.
Please feel free to leave any comments or to send me an email with regards to your thoughts about the blog and any improvements for future consideration.
Thank you all so much and I wish you safe travels on all of your wanderings.