Exactly one week ago, we had departed Kings Cross Station in London for a scenic ride to Edinburgh. We spent four full days in the city. It might not sound like very long, but I guess I had gotten used to the constant change of scenery, and those four days helped me catch my breath again.
I got my first impression of Edinburgh riding the bus to “school.” Sitting on the second floor of the vehicle, I had a clear view. We passed by the train station, restaurants, shops ranging from Urban Outfitters to Boots, a castle, an ugly ferris wheel, a towering stone monument, crossed a bridge, passed beautifully aged buildings, drove through a suburban housing district and finally to our temporary classroom. After having classes in an sophisticated and posh hall, I was free to explore what I had observed through the stained window of the bus. The more I got to know the city, the more I fell in love. The paved streets, elegant stone buildings, and mountains rolling in the background gave it a cozy atmosphere.
Every morning we ate breakfast in the lobby, rode a bus to our temporary classroom, and in the afternoon we got to explore and see a new piece of the city. As soon as we had started to get into a comfortable routine, we dove back into the cycle of packing and moving on to a new city. For the next two days we visited a small town called Inverness, a four-hour train ride north of Edinburgh. There, we visited the Loch Ness Fairy Unicorn Mermaid but that’s a story for another day.
Erica, Grade 10
"Although I learned that the door you close when leaving is re-accessible, it is a very rare opportunity."
After our short visit to Inverness, we headed back to the train station. As I sat on the train I realized we were doing something completely foreign and unfamiliar. For the first time in my travels with TGS, we were returning to the same city! Even the word “returning” sounded so bizarre. When you’re with TGS, you visit places you had never heard of or imagined to have existed and so it’s always an exciting adventure. At the same time, in the back of your head is a ticking clock counting down the minutes and days until you leave. Whether it’s a city or trail, you try to soak in all your surroundings because the the place you stand at that very moment is a one time experience. Once you leave it’s done, you’ll never see the same street, never eat at the same cafe or climb up the same mountain. It’s hard to get attached to anything when the only constant you have are people you’ll only be travelling with for four years, at the most.
From the moment I decided to leave home, I realized I didn’t mind being detached from my family and friends. I didn’t shed a single tear of sadness or nervousness but rather I was just excited when I got on the plane. In fact, when I think about it, the only attachment I can think of having is to my grandma in Japan. Ever since I was little, I would get sad and always cry when I had to leave her. It might have to do with the reassurance that they will always be there when I got back, but It almost seems as though I’m lacking in emotion or attachments.
Being back in Edinburgh and staying in the same hotel was a strange experience. The whole time I thought, I’ve been here before but I already left. How is it possible that I’m back? Although I learned that the door you close when leaving is re-accessible, it is a very rare opportunity. As I travel, I want to make the most of every second and day of experiencing a new pocket of the world.