Tuesday, April 12, 2016

So Long, Scotland

So my ambitions to blog failed, but it has been an absolutely remarkable few months in Scotland. I had more than my fair share of sunny days, which are worth more than gold in this country. I met some wonderful people, made some great friends, and traveled to beautiful places. I learned some excellent new vocabulary (eejit, blather, skelp, for example) and consumed way more haggis than I ever planned on eating. I sang folk songs in pubs, climbed hills and mountains, and fell into the habit of using "wee" in my everyday talk. I love Scotland.

The souvenir I purchased in memorandum of my time here is a 1906 children’s book by H.E. Marshall titled Scotland’s Story. Although the history itself is littered with Unionist bias, I was endeared to this small book by Marshall’s CS Lewis-esque introduction describing Scotland as “a plucky little nation … defeated often and yet never conquered.” I love Scotland, the people I met here, and the Scottish National Party for the persistent resilience and optimism that they can and will make Scotland a better place despite the major political and institutional obstacles they face in doing so. Part of this internship’s initial appeal to me was that Scotland seemed somewhat analogous to Ukraine in the fight for independence. Although in my experience the two countries have little in common politically or culturally (other than a great affinity for booze), they share that same spiritedness and refusal to be conquered. Talking to SNP supporters about the Referendum and other measures for independence, I have often felt like I was back in Kyiv talking to members about their experiences on Maidan. I think I have a bit of that feistiness and hunger for independence in me, too, and perhaps that’s why I love these plucky little nations so entirely. I may be leaving Scotland in a few days, but part of me will always belong to this spunky little country.

Elephant House Brilliance 
Freezing Beaches
St Andrew's
Arthur's Seat
New Best Friend the Highland Cow
Dunottar Castle
Highland Mountains
Isle of Skye
Edinburgh