This past Friday we hosted a going-away party for our friends Matthew and Ashli. In a spirit of authenticity, the Scottish weather decided to give us a constant drizzle throughout the day and so we had to move everything indoors at the last minute. Thankfully, we have gracious friends and everyone made it work – sitting in a crammed circle around our living room, volunteering to sit on any available surface, be it the floor or a table.
As our time here draws to an end, more and more people are leaving and it is quite bittersweet. While it’s a time to celebrate people moving on to new homes and exciting opportunities, it’s also a time to reflect on the past four years. Gatherings like this recognize relationships forged during a pivotal point in life. Most people at the party are expats and we all got to know one another while navigating the twists and turns of living overseas. These relationships are unique. We’ve stepped in to each others lives when families were far away and nothing was familiar. We’ve talked about the things we miss from home – even importing things like Kraft Mac and Cheese, Spike, or chocolate chips as gifts. We’ve explored new neighborhoods, helped one another move, celebrated milestones both personal and academic, traded tips and pointers. We’ve also talked about the meaning of “home” and how that has changed for each of us.
It was good to look around the room and see faces I would have never known if Scotty and I hadn’t decided to take the plunge and do the crazy thing. We traded the known and safe for the unknown and our lives have been enriched beyond anything I could have imagined. It’s been tough, wonderful, exciting, mind-expanding, and eye-opening. After the party, Scotty and I were cleaning up and talking about how this evening sort of marked the end of an era. Matthew and Ashli were the first people we met and hung out with when we arrived in Scotland and we’ve experienced a lot together. New College and Edinburgh will not be the same when these two leave. But we’re excited for them and know that this coming year will be a great one!