Goodbyes, hellos, and a hovercraft full of eels.
It’s that time of year when most of my fellow students are finishing exams and headed back to their English suburban homes or Scottish cottages. That’s a really romantic image for ‘the kids are going back home for the summer,’ but I like to pretend that my classmates live more exciting lives than they really do. It comes with the territory of having an accent and living in a Harry Potter world 24/7.
My own goodbyes began this week in a shocking slap-across-the-face collision with reality that, yes, this really is goodbye. It sounds so stupid when I write it out but I don’t think I truly realized that I would be leaving until this moment. I’ve been looking forward to going home for weeks but now that the goodbyes are starting, it’s finally hitting. Everyone at home reading this is probably thinking, ‘What?’ but it’s true.
My friend Alice is from Devon, England (haha) and left Edinburgh this morning. Last night we all gathered to say goodbye at Brass Monkey, her favorite pub that has huge velvet bed-like couches and 60s film posters on the wall. There were ten-something college girls squeezed together sharing 2-for-1 vodka cranberries and mojitos, screaming in each others faces as we played some new pictionary-esque game that Ellen DeGeneres invented for the iPhone. Everyone in the bar must have thought we were nuts, but as I looked around, I knew we were all struggling to hold it together. No one wanted to say it out loud, but it was probably the last time we would all be together.
As I hugged Alice goodbye, I managed to hold back the tears until I reach the pub’s door. I cried all the way back to my flat and just stared out my window as the sun went down over the Cowgate. I realized that this is the first time I’ve ever had to make a real goodbye; not a ‘see you next semester!’ or ‘have a great summer!’ or even ‘see you in five months when I come back from Scotland!’ This is the kind of goodbye where, realistically, you know it might just be the last time you will ever see this person again. It’s not bittersweet…it’s just bitter. Horribly, horribly bitter.
I guess it’s healthy to prepare for this part of life now, when I’m young. This is what it will feel like a year from now, when I’m scraping sticky-tack off my apartment walls and swigging back Coronas at Senior Picnic with the rest of ’14.
I think Scotland as a nation is rebelling against this annual goodbye time. The weather has been comparable to a two-year old’s temper tantrum in Stop & Shop; it will start sweet & sunny and become nearly apocalyptic by the time I make it out of my flat. This afternoon the I wore sunglasses in the pouring rain because the sun was so bright. I stopped trying to use umbrellas or wear hoods a long time ago; besides, I’ve heard the wet-dog look is in nowadays. Thankfully the sun now rises at 4 am (yes, I watched it rise last night/this morning) so I’m never dripping for very long.
With all the goodbyes to be had, I’ve thankfully got two very, very sweet ‘hellos’ coming up to tide me over. As I type, my twin sister is on an Edinburgh-bound plane sipping tea and reading whatever Jodi Picoult book she decided to steal from my shelf. I can barely contain my excitement and channeled my anxious happiness into scrapbook preparation (always thinking ahead) and cleaning out empty Barefoot bottles to use as flower vases. I can’t believe the time has finally arrived for Meg to set foot on my land.
I’ve got another, even more surprising ‘hello’ to be made this weekend. In typical Wrinn fashion, the ‘rents and mis hermanas booked a second flight in a matter of several impulsive, Mother’s-Day-happy hours for Devon to meet us in Ireland. To say that I’m excited is an understatement. Having Dev visit while we were abroad was a dream that Meg and I struggled to contain since deciding to come to Europe last year. It won’t hit me until I’m back on the Cliffs of Moher with my two best girls next to me, breathing in the salty Atlantic air and bursting with happiness.
The countdown has officially begun; in two weeks from today, I will have packed my bags and probably be in Malone’s or Finnegan’s crying with the rest of the Edinburgh girls. Hopefully they will stay open late to accommodate our depression as we prepare for a 4 am airport wake up call. Until then, I’m breathing in every single minute of it. Tonight is my last night being ‘alone’ in my city. In a mere ten hours, I’ll be welcoming Megan to Scotland, saying, ‘Tha mo bhàta-foluaimein loma-làn easgannan.’
In other words…my hovercraft is full of eels.