Friday, July 29, 2016

The Change in Me

The Change in Me
written by Kate Klimist

The journey here has been one that I have anticipated and hoped for since before my first day of college. My expectation was filled with excitement, thinking of being abroad with great friends in a foreign country such as Scotland. Looking back, that was incredibly short sighted because my experiences have been so much more.
This journey has altered how I view the world around me, 
as well as how I view myself.

It is humbling to stand on a cliff in the Highlands with the rain and mist swirling around you while looking over some of the most breathtaking rolling green hills and lochs that are the deepest of blues; Wee walks that go on forever, but after a while, become part of your daily routine: familiar and soothing. There was a great deal of time for reflection. Time I rarely take. Time I did not realize I needed.

You see, I have been here before. As a young child I came to Scotland with my family. My grandfather joined us, whom I loved with my whole heart. It was his heritage that prompted us to take that trip because my mother insisted that it was important to understand where I come from. Scotland was his heritage. I remembered very little of that trip, or so I thought.

While in Glenelg, I was walking along the rainy shore with a friend. A shiny flat rock caught my eye laying in the water. When I reached down to pick it up, I remembered my grandfather standing beside me as a little girl handing me a rock of a similar feel. I remembered the size, shape, and warmth of that oval piece of sparkling granite he had placed in my hand. I could see the grin on my grandfather's face. Something so simple had given us both such joy. I remember I slid the rock in my pocket for safe keeping. Had it been a diamond, I could not have treasured it more. That day my grandfather taught me to skim stones on that loch, and come to think of it, it was raining that day too. He died almost one year later.


It is humbling to be surrounded by the ancient history of this country, and be with people that view life so simply, that see worth and beauty in small things as well as large. Hearing Eddie's stories and singing at a ceilidh in gaelic at the local town hall are memories of a time gone too quickly, a time I cherish so deeply. All these Glenelg moments bring to light new knowledge, knowledge of what is truly important in life. The most moving part about being in Scotland is that the people are real. Both Glenelg and Glasgow have a quality of people that I have come to value greatly.

Our time in Glasgow comes to an end this weekend as we head for Edinburgh. I cannot help but be grateful for the time in Glenelg, the Isle of Skye, and Glasgow. With each step of this journey, I have grown in my perspective on life. Now, leaving doors open a little bit wider to even greater possibilities, while gathering inner strength and far greater determination.

I would like to think that perhaps my grandfather placed that second rock in my hand-- to help me remember his love and strength. Perhaps the whole saying "it takes looking back to move forward" is true.

I know it is true in Scotland.

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