No Place I'd Rather Be

back when we were babies 5 months ago
I can't even begin to comprehend how to say goodbye to home. Dundee was my savior. My sanity in the midst of confusion. And even though it's ending, I consider Dundee my beginning. 
I thought a lot about what makes me feel so connected to Dundee. I feel for this place what I feel for Raleigh, North Carolina, my favorite place I lived growing up. What made these settings special? I think the common denominator is feet. 
In Raleigh I was devoted to running cross-country and track. My feet pounded the pavement around the school, around my home, around my neighborhood, and even all of over the state when we traveled to compete in meets. 
I've done minimal running in Dundee, but my feet have carried me all over this city and all over the country of Scotland! I've walked to the Union and back countless times, I've trudged to Tesco for groceries and donuts, and I've gone to great lengths to skip the Old Hawkhill hill. Take Perth road, y'all. Trust me. 
and now we're all grown up
Call me crazy, but I think I've bonded with Scotland, Dundee in particular, because of my wandering toes. Which some might say look strange, but I REALLY DON'T THINK IT'S THAT WEIRD FOR YOUR SECOND TOE TO BE LONGER THAN YOUR BIG TOE, OK?
For the longest time, Scotland was my goal. The prize for making it through loads of shit in America. It was my escape. And I think I always expected I would love this place. And I would adore traveling all over. But I was surprised by how much I would love the people I've met. I didn't know I could fall in love with so many individuals all at once. But I did. I love Nat's personality, so much like me that it's almost scary. I love Nim's talent for music and his song he wrote for me. I love Kylie for her familiarity and her knowledge of my life outside of Dundee. I love Erin's passion for wildlife. I love Zee's friendship, one of the most selfless I've ever encountered. I love Arthur's dumb magic tricks. I love Vanessa's heart for others, even giving away her Hunger Games prize money. I love Sam's dance moves and her equal adoration for all things HSM. I love Kiera for navigating London with me. I love Victor for his initiation of the most hilarious group whatsapp chat of all time and his willingness to listen to me talk at 4 in the morning. I love Laura and our shared love of Friends, carbs, and wine by the bottle. I love Camille's lion impression. I love Margie's adoration for Mean Girls and Princess Diaries. It's so fetch. I love Josnei's infectious smile. I love Gustavo because he's the one Brazilian who didn't ditch us in Prague. I love James' signature dance move, The Huddy. I love Renan for organizing the Hunger Games, lasting nearly three months! I love Meghan for providing me with a pharmacy when mine wouldn't do the trick. I love Rachel because I get to take her back to Oklahoma with me! I love Hannah and her contribution to the International Baking Society. I still love TavTav's snapchats, even though we are no longer each other's number ones. There are so many more, but the bottom line is that I fell hard and fast for these people and it's a forever kind of love. I already cannot wait for our five year reunion, and many more after that. It's hard to imagine a time when I won't be able to walk to see all of them. But that time is racing toward me with alarming speed.
let's make a night we won't remember, i'll be the one you won't forget
We are from all over the globe: Canada, USA, Brazil, France, the Netherlands, Australia, and further. But we aren't all that different. I went to Stirling a week ago to spend time with friends I met on the Highlands trip and after a trip to the brewery I sat in Ema's living room talking with Felix. He asked me, "What's different from American people our age and the people you've met in the UK?" And honestly, I could not think of much. Sure, there are superficial differences like fashion and language, but one of my biggest takeaways from this experience is the oneness of the world. When it comes down to what counts, we are all the same.
On the way to Edinburgh a few months ago I was listening to my iPod when a song came on and it had a whole new meaning. I love when songs surprise me like that.
The Lucky Ones: Brendan James
I had to start the song over and really listen before I officially deemed it my Scotland song, but this song encompasses everything I've felt from beginning to end. "You and I, we will live differently" is the only way to describe exchange students. We are forever united by an experience few will ever fully understand. 
I know the Taylor returning to America tomorrow is a totally different person than the girl who left for Scotland in January. I've learned much about myself and what I want out of life. I have a better idea of what I want my future to look like. In the past, when someone would ask me what I wanted to do after I graduated, I would respond a blank stare and possibly something about wanting to end up in North Carolina. I still love North Carolina and I wouldn't hate living in Raleigh again someday, but I don't want to limit myself to the States. Now I ponder careers in European or Asian countries, perhaps teaching the English language. I have the world at my fingertips if I want it. And, thanks to the influence of Scotland and all of the international love I've been a part of for the past five months, I've decided I want it more than anything. A Very Lucky Girl can't wait for what comes next!


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