Being abroad, I have learned a lot about myself and all of it can be owed to every single aspect that this experience has brought to me. Every little part of this crazy adventure has molded me and these last 4 months in an indescribable way.
So, mainly, this is a thank you letter.
Thank you to this city for housing me all these months with open arms and allowing me to nestle myself into the cracks of every day Glasgow life. Although I am obviously not from here, I have never once felt like a tourist. I have always felt like I belonged here and I owe that all to familiarity this city brings to anyone who inhabits it.
Thank you to the people of Glasgow. The slogan of this city is "People Make Glasgow" and that statement could not be any more true. I am filled with so much love for the people here, who are always so quick to make me feel like their long-lost relative rather than an American. The interest in where I am from and celebrating our countries' differences (and sharing in our disdain) is what I love most here. I will miss the random conversations in coffee shops with people sitting next to me asking about my life and the "Glaswegian lessons" with taxi drivers. I am convinced there is no city more welcoming than Glasgow.
Thank you to Skyscanner for hooking me up with cheap weekend flights to wherever I decided I wanted to go to. Without that little website, I would have been very lost. Thanks for being that bridge between me and the rest of the world.
Thank you to my professors and seminar leaders for reminding me that yes, study abroad does actually involve studying sometimes. Although I'm not used to huge universities, you were always so understanding if I ever had a question about anything. (But I can't wait to be done with your finals, I will say).
Thank you to my flat for being my home here in Glasgow and giving me a place to always come back to, whether I'm hiding away from the world or just hiding from the weather outside. I don't even mind walking up to the 4th floor anymore like I used to. I mean, kind of.
Thank you to Primark and Tesco for being my primary stores during these last few months. Shoutout to Tesco for always giving me those good deals on food while Primark allowed me to splurge without killing my bank account. Priorities.
Thank you to the cute little cafes in Glasgow (shoutout to K&J) for allowing me to sit for hours on end while I worked on an essay, studied, wrote articles, or just chatted with my friends. I will miss the little cafe culture here so much and will forever dream about your wide array of mochas and brownies.
Lastly - and this is the most difficult for me to write - thank you to my friends. The people who have made my experience here everything. I was so convinced when I came here that I would be spending most of my time traveling alone but I was lucky enough to find people who just get me. No bond can ever fully describe how important you all are to me. From traveling together to tea breaks in our flats to card nights to kitchen talks to Wednesday date night dinners to Jinty's nights to everything in between, you all mean so so much to me. Some of you, I'm not sure when the next time I will see you again is, but I know that this isn't goodbye forever. You will always have a bit of my heart and your friendship will continue to be everything to me.
While writing this article, I can't help remembering that when this article is published, I will be back in the States, at home with my family and friends. But I will be leaving a life here that has grown to mean so much more to me than I ever thought possible. My heart is swelling at the thought of being back at home but it hurts to know I will no longer be here.
I will be back, Glasgow. It will never be the same like these last 4 months have been and I have been so incredibly lucky to live here in this kind of situation, but I will be back. Nothing will compare but I know Glasgow will always be the same.
I'll be seeing you again very soon, Glasgow. You can count on it.